The Prospects of Employment for New Canadians
With the aging demographics of the Canadian labour market, skilled immigrants are the future of our economic growth, however many internationally trained professionals are still struggling to find employment in their field of expertise. With the country’s prosperity dependent on newcomers, unrecognized professional credentials and international experience are the most critical hurdles for new Canadians to overcome when searching for employment.
Many new Canadians are highly skilled professionals that possess both the academic accomplishments and professional experience employers are seeking, however a common obstacle newcomers face is the difficulty obtaining Canadian workplace experience.
From the employer perspective, Canadian experience represents an understanding of the Canadian workplace culture, knowledge of occupation‐specific terminology and sector‐specific training. Prior to hiring, employers evaluate a candidate’s skill set, work experience and education. This poses a challenge for new Canadians who may possess unfamiliar degrees from international institutions and have only foreign work experience.
However there are a number of tactics newcomers can deploy to successfully acquire the much desired “Canadian experience”. Volunteering or obtaining a co‐op or internship directly related to one’s field of interest will provide individuals with experience in the Canadian workplace, assist with developing a professional network, improve industry related skills and potentially result in a referral or a fulltime position.
Furthermore, the upgrading of education with a short course could also assist with achieving attention from employers as it demonstrates interest and willingness to learn. Course work can also assist in strengthening one’s resume to account for the time span the individual may not have been employed in Canada. Placing a high importance on developing a professional network of contacts may also aid in securing employment. Informational interviews, a job seeking strategy where one can meet valuable contacts, are beneficial as many job openings are circulated internally among co‐workers. Speaking with an established professional demonstrates ambitiousness and creates an opportunity where one can successfully receive “face time” with a prospective employer while learning about the company’s Canadian workplace culture.
During an interview it is important for new Canadians to inform the employer of their capabilities and to demonstrate to the interviewer how their previously acquired skill sets and professional experience relate to the current position. Furthermore, the ability to emphasize how one’s international experience and global perspective will benefit the overall organization will also assist in the securing of a positive outcome and potentially, employment with the interviewing organization.
Many newcomers may experience frustration in the initial months of their employment search, however it is important to keep an open mind, remain positive and stay proactive.
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