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Essential Strategies for Building a Successful Career in Canada

Wednesday | May 2, 2018 | by Anne Greenwood

career in Canada

There is a lot of information available to internationally educated professionals about how to find meaningful employment in Canada. A quick web search or a conversation with a friend or family member will provide a good deal of information and perhaps varying perspectives on the path to a successful career. Information is plentiful, but which sources can you rely on?

For over 40 years, World Education Services (WES) has empowered international professionals to reach their goals through our trusted credential evaluations and advice. Below you will find recommendations from our recent on-demand webinar on how to find career success in Canada. These career strategies are based on decades of experience helping immigrant professionals integrate into the Canadian workforce.

Arrive Prepared

You can prepare for career success even before you move to Canada. Start your journey early with online resources and you will be better equipped to start pursuing a career in your field from the moment you arrive.

The Government of Canada funds 24 pre-arrival programs across the country. The services are designed for immigrants who are still in their home country and are approved to immigrate to Canada. Programs offer varying specialties from settlement services to sector-focused employment support. Take the time to review the options and make a choice based on your needs and professional experience.

There are also plenty of free resources available online that require no special eligibility. WES Global Talent Bridge regularly produces webinars on a range of topics to better prepare you for professional success. You can join webinars live or access them on-demand when your schedule permits. WES E-Guides are another great source for reliable information. You will find sector-focused guides on navigating your career in Canada, obtaining professional licensing, finding alternative career options, and much more.

Do Your Research

To build a meaningful career, you must first fully understand your sector as it exists in Canada. You may find that job titles, compensation, and skills and education requirements are different than the country you have been working in. This is essential information that you will need when making informed decisions about the direction of your career. Are you able to answer questions about the state of your sector in Canada, such as:

  • Are my skills in demand?
  • What is the employment rate for my profession in my chosen destination?
  • Where in the country are my job prospects highest?
  • What is the forecast for the future of my profession in Canada?

Conducting research to be able to answer these questions will help you to optimize your career, placing you in a position where you are in demand and well compensated for your skills. You may find that job prospects for professionals in your field are better in western Canada than central or eastern Canada. Research may indicate that there is an overabundance of professionals like you in Ontario, but a great desire for your skill set in Nova Scotia.

Job Bank is a free tool designed to help you conduct this type of research. It will provide you with the necessary information about a wide range of occupations in Canada. You can search labour market information in a variety of ways: by occupation or profession, outlooks, geographic location, and wages. Popular job search websites like LinkedIn, Monster, and Indeed can also be good resources for researching common job titles, responsibilities, and salaries for your desired role.

Identify Your Skills

While researching your profession, consider how your existing skills, education, and experience compare to those working in your field in Canada. Identify whether or not you have all the required skills for your desired role. Reflect on your entire range of skills, including your communication, leadership, teamwork, and technical abilities.

The Government of Canada offers a great free tool available online that will help you to address the strengths and weaknesses of your essential skills. This can be a helpful exercise when drafting your résumé and preparing for an interview. You will understand your stand-out qualities to market yourself better to employers.

If you detect any gaps, think about how you can address them to become more employable. You may find an appropriate group on Meetup to practice your language skills or discover a local Toastmasters meeting to improve your public speaking. There are a variety of ways to upgrade your skills—not just through formal education. Oftentimes, these options can be free or low cost.

Use Available Services

Upon arriving in Canada, you may consider accessing in-person employment services. Such services can help you launch your career by providing one-on-one employment counselling, job search workshops, interview preparation, and connections to employers. Employment centres often host job fairs and networking opportunities where you can meet with businesses that are actively hiring.

The Living in Canada tool offered by the Government of Canada provides you with a customized list of services that may be appropriate based on your needs. You will answer a few brief questions about your profession and arrival in Canada, and the quiz will offer suggestions on programs and services that match your needs.

There are many resources available to you as a newcomer to Canada. Take advantage of them to help expedite your journey to career success. You will find a sense of community that will help you acclimatize to your new home country.

Connect with Professionals in Your Field

Networking is an important activity in the professional lives of Canadians because it can be a meaningful avenue to your next career move. Many job opportunities (up to 80 percent) are never posted publicly and are available only through a referral network. Your next job may not be published on a job search site; it may be open only to those in the networks of existing employees who can attest to the skills and personality of a potential candidate. This means networking should be a key priority for you as you launch your career in Canada.

You can begin your networking online even before you arrive. LinkedIn, the professional networking site, is commonly used in Canada. You can seek out your Canadian peers in your sector to learn about their career trajectories, common duties, and sector trends. You will also find LinkedIn to be a valuable place for industry news and job postings.

Before you click “send” on your first connection request, take some time to learn about LinkedIn etiquette. Abiding by some common best practices and standards will preserve your reputation as a professional and help you navigate how to build a professional network.

Digital tools can be incredibly powerful channels for connecting with people, but they should not replace in-person meetings. Get out from behind your screen and attend in-person events like conferences, meet-ups, and professional development events. Attending your first networking event can be intimidating. Do a bit of research ahead of your event so you are prepared with an introduction and conversation topics. With some preparation, you will be better positioned to reap the full benefits and grow your professional network more effectively.

If you choose to join a local professional association, you will be invited to regular networking opportunities. Or, you may find a Professional Immigrant Network that matches your own professional or ethnic background. Both provide reliable channels to make connections who may, in turn, introduce you to job opportunities.

It can take time to build your career in Canada. Be patient and use all avenues of support available to you. Reach out to the many individuals and organizations that are dedicated to supporting newcomers. You will find a helping community to guide you on your path to success.

Go more in-depth on how to build a career in Canada by viewing our on-demand webinar. In this video, you will hear from the WES Global Talent Bridge team on how to execute each of these strategies and achieve career success.

Good luck to you in your career in Canada!

Anne Greenwood is the Marketing and Communications Manager at WES Global Talent Bridge Canada.