Find and Keep Your Job

Looking for a job in Canada is different from looking for a job in other countries.

Canada does not have a centralized government system where jobs are ‘given’ to people. In some countries, with certain jobs, like teachers and doctors, the government sends people to fill the positions. The situation is different in Canada – you are responsible for finding your own job.

Also, the fact that you finished college or university and have a diploma or a licence to practice your profession does not automatically mean that you will get a job. Again, you are responsible for finding it. Immigrants often make a mistake of thinking “I cannot find a job because I don’t have Canadian education.” This is not exactly true. For some jobs you do need Canadian licence. But even after you get your licence, the job is not yet yours – you have to look for it.

Younger people who finished their education in Canada and the new immigrants face the same problem: most Canadian employers are asking for Canadian experience (usually the minimum of one or two years).You can get Canadian experience by volunteering. Also, there are other ways of getting experience, such as Internship, Co-op programs, Practice Firms and Targeted Wage Subsidy (for those who are eligible for EI). Another way some immigrants deal with no-Canadian-experience issue is starting their own business.

After you find a job, keeping it (not loosing it) may be another challenge. Most jobs have a probation period ( can be two weeks, two months, three months, sometimes six months). This is a ‘test time’ when the employer is looking at the worker and deciding whether to keep that person or not. How you work and behave during the probation period is very important. Your relationship with co-workers, management and, most importantly, customers and clients will either help you keep the job or result in you loosing it.

Most immigrants work hard. In Canada, people believe in “work hard and WORK SMART”. When you look at how people in Canada work, you might think one of two things: a) Canadians are too slow (if you think this way, you are probably an immigrant from China or neighbouring countries); b) Canadian are always in a rush (if you think this way, you are probably from a country with a hotter climate). In Canada, people adjust the speed of their work to their team. To be a successful ‘team player’ – work successfully in a team – you will need to change your speed (work faster or work slower!)


You will need to have a Canadian style resume and learn how to write cover letters when applying for jobs.

When you go for a job interview (see “Job Interview in Canada“) you need to be ready to answer most common interview questions. During the job interview, the employer will be assessing two sets of skills that you have – your hard skills and your soft skills. Many immigrants have 90% hard skills and only 10% soft skills. Canadian employers are usually asking for 50% – 50% balance.

The number one way how people find jobs in Canada is Networking. In simple words, networking is meeting people who can tell you where and when there’s a job opening so can apply. Immigrants leave their old network in their fist countries, and need to start building a new network as soon as possible. The more people you know, the easier your life will be in Canada.

There are two excellent books from Oxford University Press that a new immigrant will find very helpful: “How to Find a Job in Canada – Common Problems and Effective Solutions” by Efim Cheinis and Dale Sproule; and “You’re Hired… Now What? An immigrant’s Guide to Success in the Canadian Workplace” by Lynda Goldman.

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