Job Search tips

6
Jul

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 www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/cis-sic.nsf/eng/home.

  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 www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/lifeevents/credentials.shtml.

  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 http://www.fwt.bc.ca/portfolio/ 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 www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ccc_bt-rec_ec.nsf/eng/h_00001.html.

  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 dorothyk@fwt.bc.ca.

20
Jan

What is the purpose of Informational Interviews and why do them?

Everyone talks about the hidden job market and how many jobs are not even advertised. So how do you find these hidden jobs? Where are these jobs? Having worked in the employment industry for over 25 years, and helped thousands of people find jobs, I wanted to share what I have learned with you.

So what is an Informational Interview?

You can find a jobs before it is advertised by doing informational interviews with companies that you are interested in working for. Knowledge is power!

Basically, an Informational Interview is a conversation. These are very important in your search for a new job and help in determining if the company is a good fit for you. Informational interviews help you get an inside glimpse into organizations that you would not gain from a job interview. Simply put, it is an interview where the goal is gathering information about a profession or organization rather than securing employment (although job offers can result from the meeting!). It is a fact-finding discussion where you talk with people already working in a particular role, field, industry, or work place about:

• the tasks that they perform and the knowledge and skills that they use

• the path that they took and the experience and qualifications required to obtain their job

• the kinds of people that they serve, lead, and/or with whom they collaborate on the job

• the sort of work environment and culture in which they work

• the joys and frustrations of doing their work, in their industry and for their organization

Your aim is to get an overview of both their typical workday as well as the variety of work situations, interactions and opportunities they have encountered across the course of their career.

You can gain information aboutthe important characteristics that the different companies look for when hiring. This will help you in creating cover letters, and resume that emphasize the key attributes that you have to offer. They are also a great way to practice your interview skills prior to a job interview.

How Informational Interviews have helped my clients find jobs

Many companies have a referral system and ask their staff if they know of anyone who they believe can be a good fit for the organization.Some even give a bonus to staff who refer individuals who are hired. However, it is important to remember that it is not a guarantee that an Informational Interview will result in the person referring you for an opening within a company.

One of my clients, who had and MBA and very little work experience as a Business Analyst, went for an Informational Interview with someone who was working at a large organization that she was very interested in working for. The two had worked together at a previous firm, and when they met for an Informational Interview the employee took her resume into the Hiring Manager and promoted her for an available position. The result was an interview, as she was recognized in the pile of 300 applicants, and ended up getting the job! This does not happen every time, but I have seen it happen enough times to know it works for many.

In another case, I had a client in the biotechnology field who was laid off in early November. Through doing a series of Informational Interviews, he landed a job in early January! He set-up an Informational Interview with someone who he had worked with ten years ago, who had recently secured funding for a new research project and was at the early stages of recruiting. Initially, the company had thought they were going to hire a junior person, but upon meeting my client who had twenty years of experience, they decided to redo the job description and hired him.  The Informational Interview enabled them to realize that his skills could move the research must faster and were critical to helping them grow.

Review your network to see if you know anyone who works at an organization that you would like to work for.  If not, use LinkedIn to find shared connections and ask your contacts for an introduction.

Companies Forecast Future Staffing Needs

Organizations will forecast their staffing needs and often have projects that are waiting for approval.  Usually, they will start to collect resumes and potential staff prior to these projects starting. During an Informational Interview, you can find out about their future needs and gain an understanding of what skills they require. This allows you to determine if you have a skills gap, and enable you to use the time prior to the forecasted position to gain the essential skills.

Consider Informational Interviews when searching for jobs or for identifying the best courses to take that will fit your interests and needs.

My next blog will provide tips on how to do an informational interview and what questions to ask.

3
Jan

So you are on linkedIn. Now what?

LinkedIn-Now-what

So you finally bit the bullet and got yourself on LinkedIn. You have created a great profile. You have heard how many people have found great jobs, companies have found business partners, learned new ways of doing business and you are on and NOTHING HAPPENS! So why is that? You need to be active on LinkedIn for it to be of value. If you put up your LinkedIn profile and never go on again it won’t be very useful. Here are some quick tips that I have used and so have my clients and been very happy with the results.

What to do to generate results and understand the value of LinkedIn.
  • Increase your connections to over 100 but make sure you actually know the person. this increases your exposure to a wider range of people.
  • Remove connections of people that you do not wish to be connected to –ie that old boss that you really didn’t like and never want to talk to again. Removing connections is simple and they do not know you have done it!
  • Connect with people both in your industry and in others industries as you never know who they know. Sometimes the brother of your friend is working in a company that you are interested in learning more and you were not aware of that until you connected with your friend on LinkedIn.
  • Join groups that are in the field you are interested in learning more about. Once you have joined make sure to respond or comment on postings. Make short comments that show you understand or add value to the discussion. It is not a matter of just “liking”. By doing this, you are starting to create a presence to your network on LinkedIn and could capture the eye of a recruiter. You can also learn some of the latest trends in your industry.
  • Have recommendations on your LinkedIn that highlight your skills. When getting recommendations make sure that you spread them out so they do not all happen on the same day. The reason for this is each time you add a recommendation it will go out to your connections if you have the alert button turned on. If looking for work and do not want your employer to know then keep your alerts turned off or make sure you don’t have a flood of recommendations coming in on the same day.
  • If a recruiter contacts you and your are not looking for work at the moment –do respond back and let them know if you are not looking but keep the name for the future as you never know when you will be looking.
  • Check out jobs on LinkedIn and when you look at the job look also at the other ones recommended. This will generate more jobs coming to your LinkedIn site.
  • Use LinkedIn for research on companies to understand the skills they need by reviewing the staff who currently work there. You can analyze your skills and see if you could improve our chances of working at your ideal firm by taking a course or some additional training.

About Dorothy Keenan of FutureWorks

Dorothy is a professional resume writer and career advisor with over 25 years’ experience in helping people find fulfilling work at all levels of the labour market. If you think your LinkedIn profile needs a tune up or you are unsure how to even start contact Dorothy at dorothyk@fwt.bc.ca or go to www.fwt.bc.ca.  Changing your profile can lead to some great opportunities for growth or career change.