Career Strategies for New Immigrants in Canada

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They say that settlement period is the longest part of getting established, ranging from a month or so to longer than a year. For immigrants, the hardest part of settling would be establishing a job, again, on a new land with new people and new culture.

Here are some of the problems and solutions:

  1. You don’t know the Canadian way. There will always be a Canadian method of saying greetings or writing a letter that new immigrants don’t have. It makes you stand out like a sore thumb when you don’t understand how things are done in Canada.
  2. You will need to get some experience on Canadian culture and work. The best way to quickly gain this would be by volunteering. Granted, you won’t be paid in money but your mind would be full of information that could be useful in your job-seeking, as well as new friends and contacts that could even land you a job. Another way would also be through internship. Some companies offer formal internships, but if you’re employer doesn’t, you could easily try approaching them with a letter requesting internship. In the job search process and interviews, convince your future employer of your competency and adaptiveness. Market yourself with humility, not appearing boastful but qualified.
  3. You don’t have the right connections. Hiring happens mostly due to friends, relatives and networks. You will always be one step higher than the next if you know somebody who knows somebody. Try going to community clubs and other associations. Meet new friends and chat people up. Socialize and establish a new network, anybody could be a bridge between you and your future employer.
  4. You can’t understand what they are saying. Canadians speak different languages, depending on their location and locality, and even when most are able to speak English, they have a heavy accent which might make understanding difficult. Improve your English levels, your listening skills by listening to the radio instead of the television, and your reading and writing skills by reading the news or reading for leisure. While you could get professional help and instruction, employers would really look for assessments of your English levels, in the form of official exams (IELTS) to support your credentials.

    Photo credit: thestar.com
    Photo credit: thestar.com

  5. Cultural differences and religious prohibitions. While Canada is a multi-cultured community and is open and welcoming to everyone, there will be instances where people will feel uncomfortable with you or you with them, which could be a major obstacle in finding a job. Observe and gauge people’s reactions to you so that you may remember what to do and how to do things that would offend nobody. There will be some differences no negotiable for you, be prepared to explain your reasons for them. While it is good to stand out, make sure you’re not giving yourself a bad image.

If you are really having problems or are having a hard time coming to terms, you can get help from agencies offering trainings and counseling. You could also talk to a friend or friends or get a support group to help you see things from a different perspective.

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