Part of the challenge of emigration is dealing with the big and small differences between how things work in your old and new countries. It is probably human nature for us to expect things to be pretty much the same in Canada as they were in your homeland. But sometimes this can set a trap for you.
Looking for work is one area where this can be a problem. Do not assume that what worked for you before will also work in Canada.
Here are a few tips that might make a difference
BEGIN WITH A RÉSUMÉ
A résumé (CV) is your first essential piece of marketing material. Yes, you are in marketing now – marketing yourself.
You need to have a Canadian style résumé. Brushing off the one you last used outside Canada is not going to work. You need to make sure that everything in it is understandable to a Canadian employer.
Do not use abbreviations. Assume they do not know what they mean – you will probably be right.
Translate your skills into Canadian equivalents.
Keep your résumé down to 2 pages, or 3 at the most.
Job history (chronological) résumés begin with the latest job first and go back in time. This works well if you have been in steady employment without any gaps.
Functional résumés are best where your job history, like mine, has jumped around a bit. Here you are highlighting the skills you have gained and how they can be transferred to benefit your new employer.
Make the résumé fit the job or employer. Yes you might need to have a lot of different versions, but your aim is to get the employer to see how you can benefit them in particular.
Use Canadian spelling.
Format for and print on Letter size paper (8.5″ x 11″).
RÉSUMÉS AREN’T EVERYTHING
Maybe in the past you have been able to post up your CV on a job site and sit back waiting for the job offers to flood in. This is not going to work in Canada.
Canadian employers expect and value personal contact. At the least you should call up after sending in your résumé. This courtesy call may even bring your application to the top of the pile.
Use a covering letter. We have covered this elsewhere (see links at end), but it is something that Canadians expect.
You cannot rely on agencies, web sites or job boards alone.
RESEARCH BEFORE AND DURING YOUR TRIP
If you are planning on coming out to BC on a research trip, then make the most of your time and money.
Before you set out, find out as much as you can about the job market for your kind of skills. Get down to specifics. Find out the companies and wherever possible a contact within the company.
Make contact before you leave. Write, email and call them letting then know when you will be in their area. Ask for a meeting. Do not expect job interviews, but an informal chat will help you find out about the job market for your skills. And you can always ask for their suggestions of who else to contact. This is networking and it is the oil that keeps the job market going.
As a final example of networking, this comment comes from a friend and past client of ours:
“Volunteer in your chosen field if at all possible – led to paid work for Tim and I. Don’t be tempted to only seek out friends from your own country – be open to everyone because you really never know who you will meet. Mention your field of work when meeting new people – got a great job lead this weekend after casual chat at Preschool Fair…”
Keep looking and asking as you never know where the job offer may come from.
- Résumé tipshttp://www.relocation2bc.com/resume-tips.htm
- Covering lettershttp://www.relocation2bc.com/job-search-letters.htm