Dear CanPrep Counsellor,
Without Canadian experience how do I convince my employer that I can contribute significantly in a Canadian work place?
– CanPrep program participant
One of the most common obstacles for a CanPrep program participant looking for a job in Canada is a lack of Canadian work experience. This happens even after regulatory bodies like The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) have issued a policy banning the Canadian experience requirement in Ontario.
“A strict requirement for ‘Canadian experience’ is discrimination and can only be used in very limited circumstances.” The directive also says that the onus will be on employers and regulatory bodies to show that a requirement for prior work experience in Canada is really required, without clarifying the limitations. The policy, which isn’t a law, says employers and regulatory bodies shouldn’t “discount an applicant’s foreign work experience or assign it less weight.” But this is just in Ontario and other provinces are yet to embrace such regulations.
Despite this, many Internationally trained professionals have landed jobs close to their last position in Canada. Do not let lack of Canadian experience discourage you from applying for a position. The only challenge is to demonstrate the skills and abilities acquired from previous experience.
In an article by our JVS job developer Joanna Samuels addressing this question, Joanna states that in general, Canadian experience should not be vital to getting a job in one’s field in Canada. Sometimes, employers use “No Canadian experience” as an excuse when they feel the candidate may not be a good fit for their workplace or team culture, or the candidate may not have performed well in the behavioral interview. Some of her suggestions can be great additions to your pre-arrival job search strategy :
- Prepare: Make sure to do the best job possible in preparing your resume and cover letter, and getting ready for your in person and telephone interviews. Work with your CanPrep Employment Counsellor to prepare a good Canadian style resume and cover letter. The eLearning modules offered by the CanPrep program and the resume builder tool can really help you in this process! Research and use social media as much as you can to understand the company and it’s values . There’s more information on this in the ‘Online Networking’ eLearning module. The modules on ‘Interviewing’ give you more information on the interview process in Canada – types of interviews, how to prepare for one, Thank-you notes post-interview etc.
- Communicate: You have to be able to articulate your thoughts and skills in a clear and crisp manner in a job interview. Your CanPrep Employment Counsellor can work with you on this. Also, the e-Learning modules can help you design your ‘Elevator speech’ (clear message about you, communicating your positives and why you are right for the organization). The modules on ‘Interviewing’ have excellent tips on how to succeed in Telephone interviews. You can use all of these resources to answer the important question of why the firm should hire you?
- Secure a mentor: Having a mentor in your specific field can be a game changer. They can help you learn about the local job market, offer networking tips and help you with your job search strategy and interviewing skills. Online mentoring is a big part of the CanPrep program. We match eligible program participants with mentors in your field who can guide you with your career and settlement related questions.
- Build your professional network: It is said that 60 % – 80 % of the jobs are hidden! Understanding how this works and how to use this as an opportunity to tap into this hidden job market should be a major part of your job search strategy in Canada. Pre-arrival online networking can be an answer to this problem and there are some excellent strategies outlined in the program’s e-Learning modules.
You can get details about these and other tips in Joanna’s article here: No Canadian Experience