Searching for Jobs in Canada

From her personal experience, and successfully helping other new immigrants, here are some of her most valuable tips for people considering making the same move.

  1. Determine the Best City for your Industry

    Just like the UK, different cities and provinces in Canada are home to different industries. Before you make your decision as to which city to move to, do some research to find out which location would provide you with the most opportunities within your industry. The Government of Canada provides industry statistics at

  2.  Check if you are Qualified to Work in Canada

    For certain professions – for example physicians, nurses and lawyers – you will need to have your academic and/or professional credentials assessed before you are allowed to workin your field and may have to take further training. This takes time and varies by province and territory.  Visit

  3. Swap your CV for a Canadian Résumé

    In Canada, your CV needs to be adapted to the more concise style of a résumé. Canadian resumes are typically no more than 2 pages in length (with the exception of C-Suite executives) and use concise, targeted statements to showcase your skills and accomplishments to a specific employer. Check out our Sample Portfolios at to see this style.

  4. Use Canadian English

    If you are moving to a non-French speaking part of Canada, make sure that you use Canadian English when writing your resume, cover letter and any email communication to potential employers. Switch your spell-check to ‘English (Canada)’ and learn, through practice, the different words that are used.

  5. Explain Any UK Specific Information on your Résumé

    Remember that information that might be immediately recognizable in the UK, might need some explanation in your resume for Canada. For young professionals, you might think that all Canadian employers will know what ‘2.1’ means after your degree. However, Canadian universities do not award classifications, instead using a GPA system. Similarly, it can be helpful to include a short description of the previous organizations that you have worked for (e.g. the industry and size of the organization).

  6. Use a Canadian Address

    If you are applying for positions before you leave the UK, you will need to let an employer know that you can work in Canada. If you don’t yet have a Canadian address, consider adding “Relocating to Vancouver, BC” next to your current address. You should explain in your cover letter when you are moving and confirm that you are legally allowed to work in Canada. Without this, there is a high risk that your résumé will go straight into the ‘no’ pile.

  7. Join Local Professional Associations

    A great way to network is to join the local chapter of your industry association. In addition to meeting fellow industry professionals and learning about the local industry, you can include your membership on your resume to show that you are determined to become familiar with how things work in Canada. A directory of Canadian associations can be found at

  8. Network, Network, Network

    Approximately 80% of jobs in Canada are hidden. They are not advertised, but are instead filled through word of mouth referrals. Once you arrive in Canada, you will need to network to increase your chances of securing a job that matches your qualifications, experience and expertise. Get out and meet as many people as possible and, without directly asking for a job, let them know what you do. Informational Interviews are a useful, and perfectly normal, part of a Canadian job search. Do your best to source people who already work in your industry and might be willing to meet you for a chat about your profession.

  9. Consider Taking Some Additional Training

    Even if you are qualified, with plenty of good industry experience, it might take longer than you hope to find a suitable position. Consider using this time to complete some short courses to sharpen your current expertise or learn a new, industry relevant, skill. Completing this at a Canadian institution will be a useful addition to your resume by proving to potential employers that you want to learn the Canadian way of doing things – it’s also another way to network!

  10. Adapt to Canadian Work Culture

    Once you secure a role, the organizational culture that you are working in will vary depending on the city and province you live in, your industry, and the organization that you work for. When you start working, observe how others interact with each other and mimic this behaviour. Treat everyone with respect, offer supportive advice, and be aware that Canadians typically communicate indirectly. Promotional decisions in Canada are often influenced by how you work with your colleagues, not just your performance; taking the time to ‘fit in’ is genuinely worth the effort.

Good luck with your move to Canada!  If you would like some additional support from our professional resume writers, who can also help you to understand what it takes to succeed in a Canadian style job search, please contact us at


How to Successfully work with Recruiters from Head Hunting firms

You have decided that you want to reach out to a recruiter and gain their assistance in your job search. You have contacted several of them, but none of them have responded and you can’t understand why. I have had several of my clients get jobs through recruiters, so thought that I would share how to work with a recruiter and gain their attention in a good way! In order to do this you must first understand how a recruiter works, who they work with and how they get paid.  Below are few highlights that will be helpful for a jobseeker.

Do you have unique skills? First off, recruiters do not recruit for easy to fill positions, there are hundreds of suitable candidates that can be easily found. For example, if you have an MBA and no experience it is unlikely that a recruiter will be searching you out to promote you to an employer. If you have just completed your MBA and have ten years of experience in a field that is in high demand, then you could be of interest to the recruiter. Understand what your unique skills are and how these  make you marketable.

Recruiters are Specialists. Most retained executive search consultants have very specific niches. They know lots about the industries, job functions, and employers in their space… and probably not much about other industries. So when reaching out to recruiters, do you homework and find out what types of positions they recruit for and make sure your interests and skills fit with these. If you approach a recruiter who recruits for IT, and you are looking for a Business Development role, they will probably not respond to you.

They Are Interested in Hearing From You … provided you are in the area they recruit for! That doesn’t mean that they’ll take every call and respond instantly to every email, because …

Their Priorities are Different From Yours. You want a job…they have jobs…perfect match, right? Not necessarily! Recruiters work for (and are therefore loyal to) their clients, the hiring companies. They have no vested interest in any particular candidate.

They Are Not Sitting Around Waiting for Candidates to Contact Them. A key part of their job is scouring all of their vast resources and contacts to find potential candidates for specific opportunities.

Can They Find You? If you’re not visible in your industry, not easily found online, don’t work for a prominent company, or don’t have a decent network, recruiters may never find you. Start by posting a well-written, keyword-rich, accomplishment-loaded profile to LinkedIn – a favorite resource for recruiters!

Establish Interest Before Sending Your Résumé. A quick phone call or email to determine if there’s a common interest is a great way to launch a relationship with a recruiter in your space. Then, assuming mutual interest, forward your resume.
Get to the point in Your Resume. The first half page of a resume should provide the recruiter with the key skills you have to offer and the rest of the resume should back it up. Make sure your resume is sharply focused, easy-to-skim and easy-to-read. It must error free and well laid out.

Be Polite. Never launch into your “elevator pitch” without first determining that the recruiter has a few minutes to chat. Ask questions, don’t just spew out information. Listen to learn what is important to that recruiter, given current searches and anticipated needs.

Understand that the Right Fit is Paramount. Recruiters don’t match “a” candidate to a job; they recommend “the” best candidate given everything they know about the job, its challenges and opportunities, the company and its culture, and you – from their very careful interview and vetting process.

Be Transparent. Recruiters need to know it all – your compensation expectations, your reasons for leaving a job, your strongest interests, your ability to relocate and travel, and much more as they strive for that great fit. If you are less than honest and less than forthcoming, you’ll lose that recruiter’s trust and never be considered again.
Don’t Take It Personally If You’re Not Chosen. You’ll never know everything that’s behind any particular search or client situation. Recognize that the recruiter is doing his or her best job for that particular client.

Stay Connected. As mentioned, recruiters specialize! Stay on their radar screen and you may be contacted for other opportunities – now or in the future.  Most importantly, understand that recruiters are just one channel in an executive’s targeted search strategy. They can be extremely valuable during your search and throughout your career, but they are never the only avenue you should pursue when looking for work. You must recognize their needs and priorities to build a positive relationship and create a happy matchmaking environment.

About Dorothy Keenan of FutureWorks

Dorothy is a certified résumé writer with 25 years of experience in providing career advice and support to 5,000 professionals in diverse industries including technology, science, gaming, trades, finance, manufacturing, warehouse, and administration to find fulfilling careers. Through her work she has gained a solid understanding of the needs of British Columbia’s dynamic labour force. Her expertise in developing résumés, LinkedIn profiles, and cover letters  has helped her clients move forward in their careers. For more information visit or contact


What Questions Should You Ask of a Recruiter Who Calls You About a Job?

For some of you a recruiter will connect with you on LinkedIn, or by email or phone. While it can be flattering, you need to ask questions so you understand the process and how that individual recruiter works. As a reminder, recruiters are paid for by the employer and you are their “product”. The recruiter needs to understand what skills you have to offer. If a recruiter contacts you at a time when you are NOT looking for work, perhaps you have just started a new role or it is simply not a good time, always be respectful to the recruiter. I have had some clients who were contacted again, months later, with an ideal position and they have been hired. Recruiters do keep files of good candidates and will go to the database to search when new positions come up. If you have been rude to the recruiter they will not put your forward.

Here are some questions to ask the recruiter so you understand the process and who they are recruiting for.

What company are they recruiting for?

Note: If you’ve already applied directly to that same company, the recruiter would usually not be able to represent you there.

Find out everything the recruiter knows about the company. If they cannot tell you the name of the company, ask why. It may be that the person currently in the role is in the process of being let go, or that they have not yet informed the people they needed the position internally. Be aware that, sometimes, the recruiter may not tell you who the firm is when they initially talk to you as they are first trying to establish a relationship with you.

However, sometimes recruiters are looking for candidates that they can promote to an employer to generate new business and you are the “hook”. They could have a long standing relationship with the company and know that you have the skills that this organization requires. This can be a great opportunity for you as you are not competing with anyone for the position; it is a direct match!

What are the job requirements?

Ask them to send you a job description. Help the recruiter see how you fit those requirements, if you do. Be honest about any requirements that you really don’t have.

What is the salary range defined for the position?

You should be honest and up front about your own salary history and the salary range you would accept going forward. If your salary history and expectations do not match the job’s defined range (or seem unrealistic) most recruiters will not consider it a match worth pursuing. Like it or not, it’s a primary factor that recruiters use to decide who they’ll represent to their clients. It is important that you understand your net worth in the industry.

What is the history of this position?

Is this a new position or replacement … and if the latter, what happened to the person who left?

Who is the hiring manager, and how well does the recruiter know that person?

What is their management style? What is the company culture like? Can you get any inside intelligence?

How many other candidates is this recruiter representing to this job?

Are there other agencies that are also sending candidates, or is this an “exclusive? “The reality is that often a recruiter is representing more than one candidate. The recruiter could be referring a few candidates to the employer and, in the end, the employer makes the final decision as to who is moving forward to the interview stage and is ultimately hired.

What is the client’s hiring timetable?

Find out what steps there are. How many phone interviews and in-person interviews will there be, and with whom? When do they want someone to start? How long has this position been open? How high is their degree of “urgency” to full it? Asking these questions can ease some of your anxiety as to what is happening as sometimes the hiring process can take months (if it was easy to hire they would not need a recruiter).

What is the next step?

Will the recruiter definitely be sending your information to the client – and if so, when? How soon should you expect to hear back from the recruiter? Good recruiters should be able to answer almost all of these questions and more. Recruiters will not rewrite your resume but may give you some suggestions on what needs to be highlighted in the resume. It is your job to make these adjustments or to find a professional resume writer to assist you.

The recruiter will help you prep and coach you

They will offer advice on how to successfully interview, using their insider knowledge of the company and the decision-makers, and they will help you negotiate the best salary if and when an offer comes. Good recruiters will also follow through with things that they say they will do, and will keep you informed with updates and progress reports. Expect good communication…and beware of anyone who suddenly stops returning your calls or emails — that’s a telltale sign of unprofessionalism that is certainly not limited to recruiters!

Verify that the recruiter will never submit your résumé to any companies or jobs without your knowledge and approval.

Believe it or not, this happens quite frequently. Some recruiters will send your résumé to companies without your permission and, if you are working with more than one recruiter, it can cause problems and can ruin your chances of getting the job – most companies will automatically eliminate any candidate who is submitted from multiple sources. They don’t want to get into the middle of a turf war.

This is a summary of questions to consider when working with a recruiter, but remember that a recruiter is only one source of looking for work. Don’t assume that by submitting your resume to a recruiter you are going to get a job.  The other ways are networking, responding to ads, and using social media sites such as LinkedIn, and Twitter. You are in charge of your own destiny.

About Dorothy Keenan of FutureWorks

Dorothy is a certified résumé writer with 25 years of experience in providing career advice and support to 5,000 professionals in diverse industries including technology, science, gaming, trades, finance, manufacturing, warehouse, and administration to find fulfilling careers. Through her work she has gained a solid understanding of the needs of British Columbia’s dynamic labour force. Her expertise in developing résumés, LinkedIn profiles, and cover letters  has helped her clients move forward in their careers. Contact or


Five Types of Recruiter

As a job seeker it is important for you to understand the different types of recruiters so that you are prepared and understand the role they can play in your job search. It can be confusing and, in order to understand and work with them effectively, I have broken them down into the five different types. You may get a call from one that introduces themselves as a certain type of recruiter that you have never heard of and are confused “do they work for a certain company or are they independent or exactly where do they fit in?” Here is an overview, and layman language definitions, of the different types of recruiters you may encounter in your job search.

Internal, In-house or Corporate Recruiter

An Internal, In-house or Corporate recruiter is the most common type of recruiter that you will  encounter and they will most likely refer to themselves as just ‘Recruiters’.They are usually employees of the company they hire for, and source full-time employees for their company. They are paid a salary and benefits just like any other employee.

Examples: Recruiters at companies such as VanCity, Google, Amazon, Lush, BC Hydo hire full-time employees for their own firms.

Contingency Recruiter

A Contingency Recruiting Agency is an outsourced provider.  Their recruiters conduct full-time employee searches on a contingency (paid only if they find a successful candidate) basis for a client company. The recruiter is responsible for the initial recruiting, screening and interviewing, and arranging 2nd round interviews with the client company.

Companies use these kinds of recruiters if their in-house recruiters can’t keep up with an unexpectantly high hiring demand or they they don’t have a dedicated HR team to find prospective  employees. The client company pays either a flat fee or a percentage of the first year’s salary, usually 15-35% depending on the difficulty of sourcing suitable candidates. Job seekers do not have to pay a fee. Many staffing companies also offer contingency services. They typically advertise these jobs as ‘Direct Hire’ or ‘Contract to Hire’ to indicate they are different than the common contract positions.

Examples: Miles Employment Agency, Robert Half, Annex, PDF, Odgers Bernston, Locke & Associates

Retained Recruiter Staffing Agency Recruiter (Temp/Contract)

This is one of the more common type of recruiter you will encounter if you post your resume on a job board. A Temporary Agency (Temp Agency) hires temporary employees (contractors) to work for a short duration at a client company. The contractor works at the client site and under supervision from the client’s manager but is employed by the staffing agency and the staffing agency pays all wages, employer taxes, medical insurance and benefits. For all legal purposes the individual is an employee of the staffing company but their daily work is directed by the client where they work.

The client company pays an hourly rate for the contract/temp employee which includes the contractor’s pay and a markup for the staffing company to take care of the staffing company’s costs of sales, recruiting, HR and payroll and profit. In exchange, the client gets the benefit of hiring and terminating such ‘contingent’ resources much more easily and reduces their people costs by not having to pay for vacation or other benefits paid to its full-time employees.

Examples: Adecco, Aerotek, Miles Employment Group, Corporate Recruiter. These work for clients which include startups, small businesses to Fortune 500 companies

Consulting Company Recruiter

A number of Consulting companies follow a similar model to staffing companies but they typically provide higher skilled professionals such as software engineers, finance and marketing professionals. The smaller consulting companies operate more like staffing companies in that their employment contract is only valid until the project they are working on is ongoing.

Examples: Top-Tier Consulting companies like Accenture, Cap Gemini, and McKinsey differentiate themselves by not terminating employees when their consulting engagement is over. They either find them different projects or work on internal projects but continue to pay them even when these consultants are on the ‘bench’ (not billing a client, at least for a few months till they find them their next project).This justifies the higher hourly rates charged by these companies.

About Dorothy Keenan of FutureWorks 

Dorothy is a certified résumé writer with 25 years of experience in providing career advice and support to 5,000 professionals in diverse industries including technology, science, gaming, trades, finance, manufacturing, warehouse, and administration to find fulfilling careers. Through her work she has gained a solid understanding of the needs of British Columbia’s dynamic labour force. Her expertise in developing résumés, LinkedIn profiles, and cover letters has helped her clients move forward in their careers. Contact or


Networking for Introverts

Contrary to popular belief, introverts are not shy individuals who do not like people. Rather, the 52% of people who categorize themselves as introverts simply find many social interactions draining and need time to recharge after being around people. These people can find the job search norm of “getting out there and meeting people” at networking events particularly challenging. However, like it or not, networking events are a key component of a successful job search and being an introvert in no way means that you cannot be a skilled networker.

Here are some tips to get the most out of networking events, particularly for the introverts out there:

Do your research

Generally, introverts prefer to have time to think ideas through and organize their thoughts before speaking. While a networking event with continual introductions to new people might not immediately seem like the obvious place to be able to think things through, you can minimize your stress by researching prior to the event. Most networking events will have an online registration page, confirming the schedule for the evening, any guest speakers, and often even a list of those who will be attending. Take the time to review this information beforehand, familiarize yourself with other registrants and plan possible conversation topics.

Plan your agenda

What do you want to get from the event? Do you want to meet potential employers? Gather industry information? Or, source candidates for informational interviews? Either way, setting your agenda before the event will increase the likelihood of meeting your personal objectives.

Set some targets

If you find networking events draining, you may be tempted to leave after 20 minutes or speak to one person and then secure a lone position at the bar. If this sounds like you, set yourself some targets before the event. Decide the minimum amount of time that you can stay for and/or the minimum number of people that you can have a conversation with – you never know, you might even exceed these!

You are not alone

Approximately 80% of people feel uncomfortable at networking events. If this is you, you are not alone. If nerves get the better of you, it is too easy to convince yourself that: everyone there knows everyone else; no one would want to talk to you; or you cannot bring any value to the conversations. This is not true. Event attendees are all at the event for the same reason, to talk to people. Practice makes perfect – the more you network, the more comfortable you will become.

Choose carefully and don’t get stuck

Once you arrive at the event, who are you going to talk to? Look for other individuals who are standing alone (usually by the bar or the food table!) or chat with the event organizer(s) who will usually be happy to introduce you to another attendee. Another good place to position yourself is close to the registration table, as people arrive they will also be looking for someone to engage with.

It is important that you don’t only talk to one person at the event. If you are nervous, you may be happy to stay with that one person so that you don’t have to start over again. However, this is not the purpose of networking events and won’t help you meet your objectives. After a short conversation, thank them for their time – arranging to stay in touch if appropriate – and move onto another person.

Don’t only talk shop

While networking is an essential part of job search and career management, you should not only be talking about business. Be aware of current events and local, uncontroversial news so that you can make small talk. The weather is always a popular conversation starter, as are questions about the venue and whether they have been to the event before. Avoid conversations about politics or religion, and never put anyone on the spot by asking for a job.

Don’t overindulge

Many events will offer appetizers and alcoholic drinks. If you are nervous, don’t over indulge in the wine or beer for some “Dutch courage” – you don’t want to be remembered for the wrong reasons. Limit yourself to one or two social drinks or stick to the club soda. Similarly with any food, ensure that you don’t opt for any items which will be difficult to eat when having a conversation (e.g. anything with gravy/sauce) or will leave unsightly green bits in your teeth!


You might be nervous, drained and/or ready to go home but make sure that you keep smiling!  Friendliness is incredibly influential to your likability, and ultimately, your employability.  If you are standing on your own, someone is much more likely to approach you and start a conversation if you are smiling genuinely and standing with open, welcoming body language.

Now work your magic!

As I said, being an introvert does not mean that you cannot be a skilled networker – you simply develop these working relationships in a different way. If you met someone interesting at the event, reach out to them and invite them for a coffee and follow-up conversation. This one-to-one networking is often where introverts thrive, able to strengthen relationships through in-depth and thoughtful conversation.


About Dorothy Keenan of FutureWorks

Dorothy is a certified résumé writer with 25 years of experience in providing career advice and support to 5,000 professionals in diverse industries including technology, science, gaming, trades, finance, manufacturing, warehouse, and administration to find fulfilling careers. Through her work she has gained a solid understanding of the needs of British Columbia’s dynamic labour force. Her expertise in developing résumés, LinkedIn profiles, and cover letters has helped her clients move forward in their careers. Contact or