Gaining Canadian Job Experience When You’re New to the Country


Canada attracts skilled workers from around the world each year, which boosts our economy and increases our talented workforce. But sometimes if you are new to the country, you may find that landing a job that matches your resume isn’t as easy as you might have expected. Even with multiple credentials, extensive work experience, and an expert skill set, you might find that getting a job similar to the one you held in your home country is difficult.

Companies want to see Canadian credentials and Canadian work experience on a resume, which can be an issue if you’ve just recently arrived. Luckily, there are some things you can do to make your resume more attractive to potential employers and increase the chances of you being selected for an interview, and ultimately, the job.

Get Assessed

You can have your credentials assessed by one of the various programs that provide such services, which will help you determine how your credentials match up with the Canadian equivalents. This information will be useful in deciding whether you must go through more training to meet the Canadian credential requirements for your industry. The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials has more information on programs that can provide credential evaluation.

Those who want to find work in the finance and accounting industry should consider getting a Canadian CPA designation, which differs from similar designations from other countries. Many companies see a Canadian CPA designation as a minimum requirement and look for candidates who have knowledge of Canadian accounting policy and standards. In a competitive market, candidates who have a Canadian CPA designation will stand out from others who might have similar experience and work history.

Not having a Canadian CPA can potentially impair your long-term earning potential, so even enrolling in the program can go a long way to boosting your desirability for potential employers.

Brush Up on Your English

Employers will want to know if you can communicate clearly in English, which is one of Canada’s two official languages (along with French). Having a slight accent is never an issue. It is more about being able to communicate in and understand English clearly.  If you think you need to practice your English skills, look for classes available in your area.

Seek More Training

If you find out that your credentials don’t quite meet the requirements of the industry you’d like to work in, look for courses available that can help boost your hiring potential. Even short-term programs can provide a good basis for working in Canada and will be valuable information to include on your resume. Training programs can also be a great way to network with others who are interested in or are working in your preferred industry.

Be a Volunteer

A great way to gain some Canadian experience is to volunteer your time at a local non-profit organization. Those who want to work in the finance industry might find that they are able to volunteer their time helping as treasurers or bookkeepers for non-profits. This experience is great to add to your resume, will give you something interesting to talk about in job interviews, and could put you in contact with others in the industry.

Switch Gears

One way to get your foot in the door when it comes to starting your career in Canada might be to take a position at a different level than you may have been working at previously. This can provide you with valuable Canadian work experience that will help you move to higher-level positions in the future. Look for opportunities to move into other positions as you continue to gain experience.

This is also a fantastic way to look for mentorship opportunities. Actively look for someone in the company willing to mentor you, as not only will it provide you with insight into working in a Canadian company, but it will also allow you to learn more about the industry and the company you’re working for. It’s best to find more than one mentor, and even better to find a mix of sponsors, mentors, and coaches to provide you with the most comprehensive advice and guidance.

Gig work, which involves temporary positions that are often part-time, can also provide you with valuable work experience across a variety of companies and roles. Leverage the gig economy to build your experience by searching gig sites online and finding gigs that you can later list on your resume and LinkedIn page to gain credibility.

Attend Networking Events

Look for events that are open to anyone in your industry, regardless of their job title. Networking events provide a valuable opportunity to learn more about the industry, meet people who could help advance your career, and practice your English skills if they still need some work. Reaching out to others for advice and building relationships with those in your industry is a good way to jumpstart your Canadian career.

Finding people who have a similar background and are now in roles that you would like to be in is a great way to learn about various paths that people have taken to succeed. These folks will be more likely to help you because they have been there, and will be able to provide very useful information for you on what steps you can take to get where they are today.

Read: “15 tips for landing a job in Canada: A guide for New Canadians” for more ideas on how to boost your employability.

Observe Cultural Differences

You might notice that workplace etiquette in Canada is different in some ways from that of your home country. Learning some of the Canadian cultural expectations is important, especially during the interview process and working alongside others in your workplace. Don’t be afraid to ask co-workers or your manager for tips on how to carry yourself appropriately in certain work situations.

Make a Lateral Move

If you worked for a private company in your home country, and you can’t find similar work in a private company here in Canada, consider making a lateral move to a non-profit organization, public company, or government department. Not only is there additional job potential, but shifting industries slightly while doing similar work can also provide you with important work experience.

Read: “Accounting Career Tips: The Pros and Cons of a Lateral Move” for more information on how to make a lateral career move.

Key Takeaways

Starting a career in a new country can be exciting, but if finding work in your chosen industry is difficult, you may need to take a few steps to make the process easier.

  • Work with a recruiter who can see your potential and help you build up your resume, while also providing advice on which jobs/areas to target.
  • Find out if your credentials meet the requirements for Canadian workplaces, and if they don’t, look for training opportunities to bridge the gap.
  • Ensure you are able to communicate clearly in English, and look for local classes if you need to practice.
  • Gain some experience volunteering by doing something related to your chosen industry, and consider taking a position at a different level with a company for a while to gain Canadian work experience.
  • Look for networking opportunities and pay attention to some of the cultural norms that you might need to use going forward.
  • Keep yourself open to making lateral moves from one industry to another in order to access even more potential job opportunities.


Your Next Step

No one should walk the job search or hiring road alone. At Clarity Recruitment we help others realize their success through a process that marries proprietary technology with unwavering commitment. Contact us today to take control of your career, or to partner with us to hire well.

Clarity Recruitment, connecting exceptional people with remarkable companies.

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