It’s not easy for the new kid in town to get interviews and job offers. Here’s what you should expect when you get to Canada.
One of the biggest challenges that landed immigrants face is convincing potential employers that their overseas education and foreign credentials are equivalent to – or even exceed – the qualifications for the job they are applying for. Jan Sheppard Kutcher, Employment Services Manager at Nova Scotia’s Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association, explains that newcomers will face one of two different scenarios.
Scenario 1: You are in a regulated field, such as medicine or engineering.
In this scenario, each profession’s provincial regulatory body has its own process for assessing and recognizing qualifications (the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials, CICIC, hosts directory of resources by province). Proving the equivalency of your credentials begins with these professional associations. This is easier for some professions than for others, but all associations share two goals: to benefit from well-trained, qualified workers, and to protect the safety and well-being of the communities they serve.
Scenario 2: You are in an unregulated field.
In this case, one step may be to contact a credentials-assessment service in your province (view a CICIC list of provincially mandated services here). Such services can provide you with a letter detailing what your education, credentials, and experience are equivalent to in Canada.
A second step may be to demonstrate your skills on the job via a work-placement program (there are many organizations that help with work placements; one place to start looking is this this Citizen and Immigration Canada directory of provincial immigrant services). Such programs cost nothing to the employer and get you a local work reference – or in many cases, an actual employment offer.
- Showcase the right skills : Jan Sheppard Kutcher, Employment Services Manager at Nova Scotia’s Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association, mentions the following common challenges:
- Language skills : All professions look for workers who speak fluent English or French, depending on the province. Taking classes to improve your spoken language skills at interviews and written language skills on resumés is a wise investment.
- People skills : Familiarity with local customs indicates to employers that you are well-adjusted and settled, and have fully integrated with the community. This becomes especially important in fields that involve customer service or interaction with the public.
- Attitude : All employers have their eyes out for people who are happy and positive, who dress the part, and who are committed to working hard and devoting their energy to excellence.
- Try not to get discouraged : Locals get rejected and declined, too. Keep your spirits up and you’ll have a better chance of landing the job you want.