What career strategies should I consider?

While moving to a new country requires you to start over in many ways, there are strategies you can implement to improve your chances of career success in Ontario.

Often new immigrants have a long and difficult time getting established in their chosen occupations. However, there are steps you can take to find meaningful work that is relevant to your experience and can contribute to building your career success.

Research

You should start planning for your career in your new community by researching the context of your field and occupation. Settlement.Org offers information on regulated professions and trades as well as a section dedicated to alternative jobs with examples of unregulated jobs that require similar skills to regulated professions. You can also gather information from the Government of Canada website.

Research means not only reading but also seeking out people who can give you some different perspectives. An information interview is a way of seeking advice and information from people working in the field you are interested in. They can tell you about courses you might need to take, overall trends and how you might get started. If you are lucky, you might get a name or two of someone else who has advice for you or even a job lead.

Build your brand

Often people think that the best way to get a job is to apply to as many job postings as possible. This leaves them with little time to search and apply for a job that is a good fit. Focusing on finding opportunities that fit your experience, education and skills will be more sustainable in the long run. You can improve your chances of getting a job that fits your experience and skills by building a strong professional identity or brand. When doing this, you should consider:

Your resume

While you probably already have a resume, remember that it is important to adjust it to show the skills and experience required by the particular job you are applying for. This means that you may end up with more than one resume. You may also need to adjust it regularly to fit each application.

Your elevator pitch

An elevator pitch is comprised of 2 to 3 sentences that summarize who you are as a professional and your career objectives. Your elevator pitch will become useful during interviews and when you meet with industry professionals who may ask you about your professional goals.

Your online presence

Lastly, building your brand requires you to have a good online presence, including an effective LinkedIn profile and clean social media platforms that reflect a professional image.

Remember that there are many employment services available in Ontario that can help you when preparing your resume and building your professional brand.  Many of these services are free and tailored to newcomers, so you should definitely consider using them as you develop your career strategy and begin your job search.

Network

In today’s job market, networking is the norm. As a newcomer, you may find yourself at a disadvantaged without an already established network. However, there are ways you can start developing connections in your new community.

You can start by joining community groups, professional networks for immigrants, other professional associations, interest clubs, sports teams or any other groupings that will put you in contact with people you wouldn't ordinarily meet. It is important to attempt to socialize and get to know these people. After all, most professional networks begin from a social connection.

Remember that social media can also be a great resource, especially LinkedIn. After creating an effective profile, begin to build your network by adding people you already know, joining groups and following companies that interest you.

Strengthen your communication skills

A high level of English language ability is necessary in many work settings, particularly those that involve writing or customer service where something needs to be explained. To improve your English language skills, you can find classes at your level.

In addition, you should also focus on developing your overall communication skills, including the way you communicate with colleagues and the difference between communicating orally and in writing. In the long run, the way you work with others will have a strong impact on your career and job prospects, so it is important that you also strengthen your interpersonal communication skills.

Gain Canadian experience

Many employers don't want to hire an employee who might not understand how things are done in Canada. If you are having a difficult time finding a job in your field right away, you may also want to consider gaining experience through volunteer work or internship programs.

Volunteering in the industry where you want to work will help you prove that you know what is expected and will give you some contacts in the field. Internships are another way to gain work experience. There are formal internships set up for different career areas or you could set one up for yourself by approaching an employer. Your letter requesting an internship should be clear in what you can offer and should include a résumé that reflects your unique education, work experiences and occupational assets. Be sure two people who are knowledgeable about résumés and cover letters review it before you send it.

For More Information

  • JVS Career Voice - This blog for job seekers has information about career choices, finding a job, marketing yourself and more. You can submit questions. The blog posts are written by experts in employment.

The information in this article is based on an article by Susan Qadeer, a personal and career counsellor with decades of experience.

Last updated: July 13, 2016 4001175