March 8th, 2020 was International Women's Day; a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and girls, and raising awareness of the work that needs to be done to achieve equality.
Immigrant women face a range of challenges in the workforce, including the gender pay gap, and difficulties accessing executive roles in the workforce. This is made even clearer by the data -- a recent study by TRIEC shows that women only make up about 36 percent of executive roles in the Greater Toronto Area, and when those 36 percent are analyzed for immigration status and ethnicity, the number falls further -- only 2 percent of executive roles in are occupied by racialized immigrant women.
Our Mentors Share Their Stories
To mark International Women’s Day, we asked a few of our female mentors to share their stories and challenges in finding a place in the Canadian workforce.
Maral Melkonian arrived from Syria in 2016, with a background in banking. After a challenging job search, she secured a position as a Credit Analyst at TD Bank and joined the Canada InfoNet program as a mentor. Experiences dealing with immigration challenges and assistance she received from employment and mentoring programs inspired her to become a mentor.
She shared the following about her experience:
It is very hard for all of us to be uprooted from our land, home, friends and parents, packing all our life souvenirs in few suitcases, and decide to begin a new life in a very different country like Canada, different in culture, nature, weather and environment. Undertaking the challenge because we all believe we are going to have a better and safer life, a brilliant future for our children and us.
The biggest and hardest challenge comes when we start to search for a job, related to the same profession and field (we had before immigrating). The main and most important point is to meet the correct person or organization to help and advise you, not necessarily by finding the job, but an encouraging word makes and means a lot, or lead you to dive deeper in searches in the proper sectors, companies and institutions.
In addition to barriers faced by all immigrants, women have to overcome additional challenges, Maral shares:
…the work schedule, the working hours and days, especially if they have families and young kids. It is so hard to manage if both parents are working and they have to accept any offer just to start and survive. For example, I have to work three different schedules a week with one day late shift, other examples some retail workers and bank branches require all weekends, noting here the kids’ drop off and pick up strict times by schools.
These are some of the many challenges faced by women, which can lead to their career goals having to be set aside. The support Maral received from her mentor – whom she calls “a lifesaving angel” – was crucial for her to get her first job in Canada at a leading bank. She emphasizes how her mentorship experience was beneficial, not only for the technical knowledge her mentor shared, but also to keep her motivated and encouraged. For that reason, Maral later became a mentor with Canada InfoNet -- to pass on her experience and pay forward for all the support she received when she was new in Canada.
Fabi Ramos, now employed as a Marketing Manager at Next Edge Capital, immigrated from Brazil in 2016. She chose to become a mentor because she saw it as “an opportunity to learn, develop leadership skills and gain a personal sense of satisfaction” from helping immigrants who are now facing the challenges that she previously faced. In regards to being a woman in the Canadian workplace, she shares:
Like most women, I have also experienced challenges in the job market such as gender pay gap, career ladder opportunities, fear of becoming pregnant, appearance judgment, room temperature disparity and other gender bias. I usually say that women need to work harder to prove our worth in the work place, to win our space.
The Role of Employers
Employers have an important role to play in achieving more equality in the workforce. A study by McKinsey & Company reveals the importance of the link between diversity and corporate financial out-performance; one of their findings showed is that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.
We still have a long way to go, but we believe that bringing awareness to the issues and giving an opportunity for women to tell their stories is one step towards finding solutions that will benefit our whole community. JVS Toronto’s Canada InfoNet mentoring program is enriched by all the support offered by our women mentors to immigrating professionals.
Beyond International Women's Day, diversity should not simply be something to strive for but it should be a given that women have their place in the workforce.
Despite having sent out hundreds of resumes, you still haven't received a response. You know connections are important to land a job, however you are new to the country and find it difficult to reach out to employers.
Job fairs offer a rare opportunity to make a good first impression on potential employers and let them know the skills you have to offer. As virtual job fairs become more popular, we are sharing tips to help job seekers make the best of this event. Virtual job fairs are solely online and are similar to regular job fairs except communication with employers is done in writing via an instant messaging platform rather than in person.
Since the job fair is not in person, it isn't necessary to wear a suit or other formal office wear, however being too comfortable can also have its pitfalls. Participating in the job fair in a comfortable environment might lead you to communicate in an informal manner. Imagine the kind of answers you might give if you were talking to employers while wearing a bathrobe, lying in bed and eating chips. Also, remember mood and attitude can be apparent in your writing so it's very important to maintain a positive attitude. To ensure you are in the right frame of mind, take yourself out of the space you are in by showering, getting dressed in presentable clothes and sitting at a table.
Here are some tips to make the most of the virtual job fair experience:
Before the Job Fair
Employers want to know that you are interested in working for them and the job they are hiring for. Virtual job fairs can bring in hundreds of job seekers so showing genuine interest is more likely to make you stand out from the crowd and convince the employer that you might be the right fit for the position. For this reason, it’s important to research and only approach employers you are really interested in.
A job fair is just like an interview, so prepare accordingly. Prepare some short and direct answers to standard questions such as “Tell me about yourself”, “Why do you want to work here?” and “What skills do you have?” It’s also very important to create an elevator pitch to introduce yourself. As this is a virtual job fair, you will be communicating in writing so make sure you chose your words carefully because once they have been sent they can't be taken back.
- Place yourself in a quiet place with no distractions
- Research the employers you want to speak with
- Review job descriptions for each position you plan to apply for
- Have your resume ready
- Prepare a very short introduction (a few sentences) targeted at each company that you will use when you first connect
- Prepare 2-3 thoughtful questions to ask the employer. These questions should be about the position or the organization and not about benefits like vacation and salary.
- Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and that it accurately describes you professionally
- Check your digital footprint and make sure you look good online
During the Job Fair
- Use spell checkers – try https://www.grammarly.com/
- Keep it short and to the point – long blocks of text can be intimidating
- Avoid redundancy – do not repeat information
- Keep a professional tone – spell out all your words (for example: “You”, not “u”)
- Write the same way you would speak in an in-person interview
- Do not use all caps and emojis
- Your enthusiasm and positive attitude must be conveyed through your writing. The best way to show enthusiasm is to research the company well and prepare reasons for wanting to work for the employer beyond just their reputation in the industry. Note: exclamation points are not an effective way to demonstrate enthusiasm in this scenario.
- If you are uncertain about what is being asked, ask for clarification and/or paraphrase the question
- After each conversation, be sure to thank the interviewers
- Express strong interest and enthusiasm for the job but don’t overdo it. You can say something, like “I really like what I heard today and I am really interested in this position.”
- Ask about next steps, if it's okay to follow up with them and if so, when
After the Job Fair
- Send a brief thank-you email to employers after the job fair, on the same day
- Write down some of the questions you were asked in order to reflect and learn from them
- Follow-up with employers, if appropriate, after the deadline set by the employer. Do not contact them more than once.
The lack of Canadian experience is one of the most common obstacles for newcomers as they pursue meaningful work in their new country. Many report that they continue to face this challenge even after two or more years of living in Canada. But, what does “lack of Canadian work experience” actually mean?
In this webinar:
Our panel of industry experts advise participants on job search strategies and discuss keys questions such as:
- Do Canadian employers hire job seekers who are the right fit for the role regardless of the fact that they are newcomers?
- Can survival jobs count as Canadian work experience?
- Where does the law stand when it comes to employers asking about Canadian work experience?
- How can internationally trained professionals demonstrate to Canadian employers that they have what it takes to fit in Canadian workplaces?
Moving to a new country can be both an exciting and challenging experience. For job seekers who recently immigrated to Canada, figuring out how to get to the top of the employer’s pile of job applications can be even harder. So, how does a newcomer standout in today's competitive labour market?
In this webinar:
Dmitri Stupak, NA Talent Acquisition Programs Manager at IBM will share his views on:
- Accessing the hidden job market
- The importance of networking and how to meet potential industry contacts
- Canadian resume & cover letters - what recruiters are looking for
- The best way to handle the Interview process
If you have ever sought job search advice, you are familiar with the popular recommendation to “network, network, network”. Networking for work means strategically reaching out to people with the explicit intention to develop ties that can lead to employment opportunities and referrals. And, if you want to leave the kind of impression that will make someone think of you when job opportunities arise, you have to meet face-to-face.
This can be challenging for newcomers who may not have a network of professional contacts in Canada. Networking events are a great opportunity to meet with people face-to-face; ask questions, get support and guidance and make sure they know that you are looking for a new opportunity.
Luckily for newly arrived job seekers, there are great online tools that can help you find networking opportunities anywhere in Canada.Read More
As the world advances at a rapid pace, it is said that as many as 40% of professions will be automated in the next 15 years. This transition will be disruptive and some jobs will be safer than others. It’s just a matter of time that most firms will incorporate varying levels of technologies to increase cost efficiencies and maximize profit ratios. For current and future professionals, therefore, it becomes imperative to build knowledge around these technologies to stay ahead of the curve in labor market.
In this webinar:
Rajeev Chib, APAC Head of Client Facilitation and Business Management - Investor Sales and Relationship Management APAC, Citigroup, will share his views on:
- How are new emerging technologies influencing significant changes to workforce composition?
- How do we prepare ourselves to work with machines?
- Is there a gap in talent when looking at today’s workforce versus what we need to equip ourselves for the future?
- Will our current organizational hierarchies survive and what is the future shape of the organizational hierarchy?
- Is there an alignment or greater need of converging technical skills with creativity in this new future of the work place?
Moving to a new country can be both an exciting and challenging experience. In this webinar, "Your First Weeks in Canada", our program partners NextStop Canada will talk about the important things to do once you land in the country.
This webinar explores:
- Important Documents
- Newcomer Services
- Community Resources
Today’s globalized world has created a growing need for the fast and accurate shipment of commodities which in turn has created many opportunities for professionals with the right training in meeting these demands.
The Government of Canada has rated the employment outlook for Supply Chain & Logistics sector a solid two out of three stars for all of Ontario, observing that “employment growth is expected to be strong” and that “a large number of people are expected to retire.”
This webinar explores careers in supply chain and logistics in Canada. You'll learn:
- Labor market information & needs across Canada
- Supply Chain & logistic career pathway
- What are Professional Designations/ Certifications?
- Advantages of having a professional designation in today’s Canadian labour market
- Professional associations and perks of membership with them
- Importance of networking for career progression in Canada
- Steps to achieve CITT certification
Professional Associations can help you build your professional network and increase your chances of finding employment in Canada. Together with industry experts, Carmen Jacques, Student Recruitment Manager at Chartered Professional Accounts of Ontario and Husam Sha’ath, President at FORTE Management Consulting Inc. and CMC Project Management Instructor at U of T School of Continuing Studies, we offer more information on “Benefits of Professional Associations and Designations for Newcomers to Canada.”
In this webinar, you'll learn:
- Advantages of having a professional designation in today’s Canadian employment market
- What do Professional organizations do?
- Perks of membership
- How to leverage their offerings for job search
- Difference between "certificates" and "certifications"
Your credit score matters. Building a good credit history is important because lenders will check your credit score to determine whether to approve you for things like cell phone plans, housing, cars, and lines of credit. In this webinar, money expert Yingshuo Liu, Financial Advisor at Scotiabank, walks us through:
- What is credit score?
- Factors that affect credit score
- Tips on building credit score – credit cards, utility bills, multiple sources of credit etc.
- Impact of poor credit
- Credit history from other countries
- Maintaining credit score before finding employment and after
Did you know that many companies, large and small, use automated software for screening online applications and resumes? It is known as the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). To help figure out what you can do to ensure that your resume and cover letter will be seen by the recruiter or hiring manager on the ATS, CanPrep has assembled a panel of experts who share their advice on:
- How to optimize resumes and job applications for online screening
- How employers use Applicant Tracking systems (ATS) for selecting candidates
- How to use platforms like Magnet – an online job search support and resource service – as an effective job search tool
- How employers use Magnet to screen job seekers
We also feature CanPrep alumni, Eduardo Almeida, who shared his personal story on how he successfully used online platforms to gain employment in CanadaRead More
Each year, the CanPrep pre-arrival program helps hundreds of newcomers start preparing for employment before they arrive in Canada. Through one-on-one support, e-learning modules, online mentoring and webinars, each participant builds a Canadian-style resume, learns how to conduct a job search in Canada, and connects with employers with the help of our highly trained Employment Specialists.
Archana and Vivek are two such participants.
The couple, from Bangalore, India, both had successful careers in IT and dreamed of moving to Canada. But without family here or a professional network, the task of finding meaningful employment seemed daunting. As part of their research into immigration, they found the CanPrep program.
With the guidance of a CanPrep Employment Specialist, the couple were able to identify and address the gaps in their resumes, understand how recruiters would screen their applications, and how to highlight their professional accomplishments in order to stand out among the competition.
Through the program they were connected online to mentors in Canada who taught them about the culture of the Canadian workplace, how to reach out to consultants and recruiters on Linkedin, and to implement practical job search strategies specifically relevant to jobs in Software Development and IT Management. Archana and Vivek finished the program well-prepared to find positions that fully utilized their skills and education.
The couple arrived in Canada in August of 2017 and, within a few months, both had found exciting new jobs in their industry and a sense of support from their new community.
The secret to their success? “Understand the job market. Start the online mentoring at the earliest and spend as much time as possible in the mentoring sessions. Have [your] resume modified to suit the Canadian market and apply for jobs before arriving,” advised Archana.
Vivek added, “The e-learning modules helped me understand the [Canadian] resume format and understand how to approach finding a job. Mentoring gave me confidence. Thanks for the support.”
CanPrep’s expert employment preparation program and personalized support can help you arrive to Canada job-ready. For more information and eligibility requirements, please visit our program page or contact firstname.lastname@example.orgRead More
We don’t need to tell you that interviewing for a new job is stressful. The experience of having to sit down in front of an employer and answering unknown questions can raise the anxiety of even the most confident job seeker. Interviewees worry about what they are expected to say, and whether they will mess up and make mistakes. For an already anxious job seeker, online video interviews brings a whole other level of unnerving challenges. CanPrep has assembled a panel of experts who share their advice on how to prepare for video interviews including:
- Do’s and don’ts during the interview
- What employers focus on during online interviews
- The right way to follow-up after an interview
- Personal success stories of being hired through online interviews
Preparing for employment through CanPrep’s one-on-one job coaching and mentorship services can help a new immigrant find gainful employment in Canada; sometimes within a few months of arriving, which was the case for Amol, our latest CanPrep success story.
- Job searching techniques
- A Canadian-style resume suitable for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
- Updated communication skills for the Canadian workplace
- Guidelines for networking on LinkedIn or in person
CanPrep gave Amol a better understanding of the Canadian job market and the confidence to interact with potential employers.
Benefits for MenteesRead More
CanPrep recently collaborated with Jason Purba, Financial Advisor at Scotiabank to present the next webinar on Banking Basics: Financial Literacy To Start Right In Canada. This webinar covers information on financial literacy for Canada including:
- Credit History
- Differences between Savings & Chequing Accounts
- Mortgages for Newcomers
- Making a Budget Work
- Protecting yourself from fraud.
Have you been wondering what your rights are as a worker under a Canadian employer? CanPrep’s webinar on “Employment Law in Canada – Know your Rights & Duties” is just for you. In this webinar we cover important topics like:
- Basic Employment rights
- Interview Questions: Legal Vs Illegal
- What is discrimination?
- Employment contracts
- Difference between Federal / Provincial laws
- Room for dismissals
- And more!
Each year our CanPrep program helps hundreds of newcomers start preparing for employment before arriving in Canada. Our Employment Specialists guide each participant through how to conduct a job search in Canada, participate in online mentoring, learn about their specific industry, connect with employers and apply for jobs.
Internationally trained professionals who enroll in the CanPrep program arrive in Canada well-prepared to find positions that fully utilize their skills and education.
Tasneem, a Marketing Specialist from Bangladesh, participated in the CanPrep program. Here is what he has to say about his experience.
Isn't it remarkable how time flies? I have now spent four seasons in Canada. [I wanted to] thank you for the greatest gift of all in my first year here. You listened to my story and shared your views on the industry and job market here. I feel indebted to you for sharing knowledge with me; each [step of the CanPrep program] has contributed to making me the person that I am today.
The last year brought with it the challenges expected with moving to a new country. After 11 years of [short term] marketing roles in different countries, I was "between jobs" for about 5 months. But I came across the term "up-skilling", and then made the most of it during summer. I got Google AdWords certified, completed an online diploma in digital marketing, earned an email marketing certification, learned basics of UX design, HTML & CSS, and built a portfolio. My short term contract was replaced with a permanent account management role.
Tasneem accessed the following resources through our program:
- One on one sessions with CanPrep Employment Specialist through Skype and Email
- Canadian job search advice and support based on individual needs
- Resume building tool
- Employer Connections – job board connecting to job postings that match candidates’ profiles
- Self-directed e-learning courses
What was the lasting result of Tasneem’s participation? He says “I have started to find my feet in Canada. Thanks to you.”
A panel of leading experts answer your questions on how to excel at a Canadian job search
Learning how to conduct a job search in Canada and how to be successful in the workplace is an integral part of finding employment in Canada. CanPrep, a leader in providing pre-arrival programs for internationally trained professionals, hosts a webinar with employers representing some of the largest companies in Canada.
In this webinar, you'll learn about:
- Hiring Practices
- Workplace culture
- Diversity & Inclusion
- Tips on job searches, resumes & cover letters
- Open positions / industry trends
- Effective interviewing tips
- Getting a job through staffing companies
Learn how to apply at these participating organizations. Expand your professional network in Canada!Read More
What exercise is to the body, employment is to the mind and morals. – Henry David Thoreau
For anyone immigrating to a new country, finding employment as soon as you arrive is a top priority. It was no different for Dale who was preparing to leave his home in the Philippines and his well-established career in Accounting. When he started researching the job market in Canada, he came across JVS Toronto's CanPrep pre-arrival employment program and signed up. With determination and focus, Dale worked his way through the following steps of the CanPrep program:Read More
TORONTO, May 23, 2017 – Scotiabank is giving a boost to new immigrants before they arrive in Canada through a three-year sponsorship to enhance CanPrep, a national pre-arrival program, funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and delivered by JVS Toronto in partnership with TRIEC and other Canadian community organizations.
CanPrep provides employment preparation and guidance to immigrants who have been granted visas but have not yet arrived in Canada. This responsive approach, supported by IRCC and now Scotiabank, provides immigrants with timely preparation for a successful integration into the Canadian labour market and society.Read More
Parisa was an established Telecommunications Engineer in her home country of Iran. Like many immigrating to a new country, Parisa was nervous and plagued with questions. How will I settle in a new country? I don’t know anyone, will I make friends? I have a good job now, will I be able to find something equally good? She took to the internet to look for answers. She started conducting research on her specific job sector almost five months before her arrival date. This is when she came across JVS Toronto and discovered CanPrep pre-arrival employment services.Read More
Building professional connections is a great way to find opportunities that could lead to employment – especially when you are a newcomer to Canada. Networking with professionals in your field for information and career growth should be an important aspect of every newcomer’s job search strategy.
Using LinkedIn to build your Canadian professional network
The good news is that you can start building your professional network even before you arrive - for example - by using LinkedIn as a professional networking tool.
This was the topic of discussion for CanPrep's webinar.
This interactive webinar shares insights on LinkedIn’s professional profiling techniques and how to maximize this tool to further your job search and market your skills in the Canadian job market. This webinar recording will provide information on:
- Why using LinkedIn is important for job search in Canada
- LinkedIn profile guide: what’s expected in Canada, tips to make your profile standout
- Current hiring trends using LinkedIn
- Starting a network from scratch
- How to connect to the industry in Canada
Information interviews are one-on-one meetings you can request (in person or online) to learn more about another person’s job, organization, sector and industry. This can be used as an effective tool for networking and part of a Canadian job search strategy.
CanPrep program offers insightful e-Learning modules that cover topics like Information Interviews, Online Networking, Canadian Resume and Cover Letter.
CanPrep recently organized a webinar on the topic “How-to Guide: Information Interviews.” In this blog post, we are responding to some of your frequently asked questions.
What kind of questions can I ask during information interviews?
Information interviews can have both long term and short term impact on your job search process. It’s one of the most effective networking tools. So being prepared with all the relevant information on the company and the employer’s program and position is vital. The key is to get the other person talking. Here are some sample questions that you can use to conduct an information interview:
Are there any specific training / education requirements to get into your line of work?
What do you like most/ least about your work?
What is a typical day (or week) like for you?
How did you become interested in this field?
What kind of problems do you typically deal with at work?
What related fields do you think I should consider looking into?
Can you think of anyone else you can connect me to for additional information?
As suggested in this Monster.ca article, the right questions can also open up opportunities you might not have thought of before. For example, you might learn about an internship opportunity at the company that can help you get your foot in the door, or it might open your eyes to a new skill you should learn in order to make yourself more marketable in that specific industry.
What should I wear for the meeting (online or in person)?
Research what outfit works for the specific industry. For example, if it is Banking industry – formal attire like a formal dress or tie and suit is the norm; dress code may be more casual in the information technology industry – so wear something more casual, jeans might even be acceptable! Be cognizant of the attire even if you are connecting with the employer online.
Should I take my Resume to the information interview?
The simple answer is – Yes! Although the intention of information interview is information gathering, go prepared. Introduce yourself with your elevator pitch and have your resume handy in case it comes up during the conversation. Remember you are also trying to make an impression here so do not ask for a job directly. You can always include a line like “I’ll be happy if you consider me for any future job opportunities in your organization.” - in the thank you email after you meet with the person.
Are there any don’ts that I should keep in mind?
- Don’t ramble on about yourself! Let the other person do the talking – engage them. What people remember is how you made them feel during a conversation, not what you said. Be strategic, ask relevant questions about their personal experiences.
- Research basic information. Don’t waste their time asking simple things that you can easily Google. Make sure you ask the right questions to the right individuals. For example, do not ask someone from Human Resources questions about Marketing. It will be a waste of their time and they’ll end up having a bad impression of you.
- Stick to the agreed upon time limit. If you asked them for a 20 minutes coffee, try not to exceed that time. Canadians are usually very polite and may not point out anything directly so be mindful of the person’s body language. If they are fidgeting / looking at their watch, at the end of the stipulated time, it usually means they are busy.
I am an introvert. How do I handle information interviews?
You don’t have to be an extrovert to network or conduct information interviews. You are not expected to be outgoing – but definitely polite and professional.
If you are an introvert, being prepared and conducting research can work to your advantage. Make a list of your questions - use research to help make your questions interesting.
Be genuine – it’s ok to mention to the other person that you are an introvert or shy during the conversation. You can also figure out a way to communicate this to the person you are interviewing prior to the meeting. They may also be introverts and might appreciate your honesty! Enjoy the interaction / experience.
How do I keep in touch after an information interview?
Networking is a long term investment. Make sure you follow-up after the meeting. A good thank you email can take you a long way. In the email, cover what your take away from the meeting was, reinforce what the person had committed to you (if they had agreed to send you information or connect you to someone). Ask if you can connect with them on LinkedIn. Once you connect with them on LinkedIn, stay in touch.
Do I have to be present in-person for information interviews?
No - you don’t have to be. Information interviews can be done via email, LinkedIn, Skype and other connectivity tools even before you arrive in Canada. Remember, when you are trying to connect on Skype, you may have to find a time convenient for an employer in a different time zone – within their work hours.
You can get more pointers on information interviews at the JVS Toronto blog.
Have a question you’d like answered in the CanPrep Blog? Contact email@example.com.
Information interviews are one-on-one meetings you can request (in person / online) to learn more about another person’s job, organization, sector and industry. This can be used as an effective tool in your Canadian job search process.
When you’re a newcomer to Canada, building professional connections and conducting information interviews is a great way to find opportunities that could lead to employment. Having conversations with professionals in your field for information and career growth should be part of your job search and is an effective way to network and build your personal brand.
CanPrep program offers insightful e-Learning modules that cover topics like Information Interviews, Online Networking, Canadian Resume and Cover Letter.
This interactive webinar presented by the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) in partnership with JVS Toronto (CanPrep), shares insights from employers on how to network and build social capital through information interviews focusing on what you can do prior to your arrival in Canada.
After viewing the webinar, you will:
- Identify how to use information interviews to enhance your job search before coming to Canada
- Learn about approaches you can take to arrange and conduct information interviews prior to arriving
- Understand the value of information interviews from the perspective of employers
Click on the "Play" button to view the webinar. Watch out for our follow-up blog post on this topic where we respond to some Frequently Asked Questions on Information Interviews in Canada.
- Anna Kostecka, Manager, Learning Initiatives, TRIEC
- Melissa Magder, Senior Manager, Inclusion, Scotiabank
- Peter Hawkins, Owner, MELLOHAWK Logistics
- Irene Vaksman, Director, Newcomer Services, JVS Toronto
JVS Toronto’s CanPrep program is designed to guide internationally trained professionals through the challenging aspects of the Canadian job market. Many CanPrep participants find jobs in their field shortly after they arrive, and sometimes even before they have left their home country!
Mark is a Test Automation Engineer from Philippines who was able to secure a job offer in a similar position, 3 days before he arrived in Canada!
He believes a strong resume helped him find employment faster. He was able to build this resume with the help of personalized employment counseling, online learning modules and tools offered by the CanPrep program.
We asked Mark to tell us how CanPrep helped and to share some tips. This is what he had to say:
How has pre-arrival program helped ease your transition into Canada?
CanPrep pre-arrival program has helped me gain better understanding of the Canadian job market.
What aspects of the program did you find particularly helpful?
Resume building is one of the best aspects of the program. Without it, I would not have been able to get a job because my earlier resume wasn't tailored to the Canadian job market.
What did you think would be your biggest challenges before arriving in Canada?
Finding a job, a place to live in and other settlement things to do during the first few weeks of arriving were certainly things I worried about.
What do you feel about the challenges post arrival?
Good research and preparing well for these challenges helped us settle much faster.
What are the various strategies you used that helped you find your job?
I did 3 main things which helped me find employment:
- Tailored my resume to suit the Canadian job market with help from CanPrep program
- Targeted jobs that match my skill set
- Persistent in my job search
Any pre-arrival job search tips that you would like to share with other CanPrep participants who are looking to immigrate to Canada soon?
Prepare early, tailor your resume to the Canadian job market and specific to the industry as well. Apply to jobs even if only one or two of your major skills match.
Would you recommend CanPrep program to others, why?
Definitely! I feel that 70% of my success in landing a job before landing in Canada is because of the CanPrep program. Remaining 30% is on individuals to research companies, look for jobs and prepare and perform well in interviews.
Has Mark's story motivated you? Are you ready to enrol in the CanPrep program? Register here!
Have a question you’d like answered in the CanPrep blog? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.Read More
This is a continuation to our previous article on Volunteering titled Why volunteering is essential to job search in Canada. This article attempts to clarify the difference between Volunteering, Co-op placement and Internship in Canada.
Volunteering is described as an unpaid activity where someone gives their time to help an organization or a cause. It is of benefit for both parties involved and does not involve financial payment. Volunteering is usually done on a part-time basis depending on the availability of the volunteer and the organization need.
When deciding where to volunteer think about these aspects:
- environment– creative, philanthropic, medical, people focused, technical, financial, media, etc.
- time commitment
- what do you bring to the organization and the role
- what do you want out of the experience
- what kind of people do you like to work with
- is this strictly for fun or charity, or is it to further your career growth
Co-op or Co-operative placement is usually associated with a course or certification offered by an education institution or employment centre offering a job related program. Co-op allows you to apply concepts learned in class during paid work terms. At the end of the placement, you will have not only a certification that indicates you participated in a CO-OP program but also work experience in your field of study and a network of valuable contacts. All of these factors will contribute to helping you find a job more easily after the course completion. You can find more information on this topic on Settlement.org
An Internship is a professional working position that is typically offered to students or inexperienced workers. It enables the intern to gain valuable work experience and on-the-job training, while providing the employer with an enthusiastic worker.
Some internships are paid positions, while others are unpaid. Both allow you to work within an organization to gain first-hand experience about a particular industry or field of work. Internships help inexperienced workers get involved in the workplace, and can sometimes lead to permanent positions.
Since internships are full-time positions, watch out for unpaid internships. While they vary from province to province, there are sets of rules governing how internships must be run. These rules are designed to protect interns, ensuring their internship helps spur their career. Most provinces ask that any unpaid internship be a requirement for a formal education program, offering practical learning experiences.
Whether it’s Co-op placement or paid internship or volunteering work – any of these can be excellent means for a newcomer to show that they have the skills necessary for potential job opportunities in their field.
Resources to find Volunteering opportunities in Canada:
Environmental volunteering: goodwork.ca
British Columbia & Alberta: govolunteer.ca
Ontario: Ontario Volunteer Centre Network
Paid Internships: careeredge.caRead More
CanPrep program’s recent webinar on “Harnessing the Power of Networking for Professional Success " covered Volunteering as a vital tool to build on your network as a newcomer to Canada. Volunteering gives newcomers an opportunity to start using your skills from Day 1 of arriving here and also to develop new skills. Some immigrants who need to brush up on their English or French skills can do so while volunteering. Volunteering will not only give you practical knowledge of Canadian workplace but also add valuable Canadian experience to your resume. Networking opportunities offered by volunteering helps you tap into the “hidden job market” which can represent as much as 80% of available jobs. You can learn more about the hidden job market in CanPrep’s eLearning modules on ‘Getting Hired in Canada’
Gain related professional experience.
Research and identify organizations that have legitimate volunteer departments, represent causes that are meaningful for you, and that have possible spots where you can gain work experience, learn and improve your skills and qualifications. Check out sites such as Charity Village, Working in Non-profit, Volunteer Toronto, your relevant sector council or professional association as places to volunteer.
Build and Leverage Your Professional Network.
While you are volunteering, be dedicated and apply the same effort to your volunteering as you would as an employee. Always make sure your work gets done. Be as helpful as possible to others. Make an effort to have lunch with the team, and find other opportunities to start meeting other people at the company. Build a relationship with your supervisor because they may be able to refer you to a colleague for another opportunity.
Help others and help yourself.
Research reports that adults who volunteer may live longer and healthier lives and it increases empathy and compassion. It’s not good to isolate yourself when you are looking for work. Volunteering can help you get out of your home and get involved in positive experiences, as well as get the positive feeling that you are giving back to the community.
Bridge the gaps in your resume.
Add your volunteer experience to your resume and social media presence. Employers value candidates who make a difference in the community; it helps you answer the question “what are you doing right now?” It also covers the gap in your work history and keeps you busy while you are looking for paid employment.
How to prepare for volunteering before you arrive:
If you are an Internationally Trained professional and you understand that volunteering can be an excellent tool to give you a head-start into your career in Canada, here are ways you can start preparing even before you arrive:
- Research organizations that offer positions in or close to your field
- Establish connection with the organization to understand their needs
- Few weeks before arrival write to the organization and inform that you are interested in volunteering as soon as you arrive
Resources to find Volunteering opportunities in Canada:
When you’re a Newcomer to Canada, building professional connections is a great way to find opportunities that could lead to employment. Networking with professionals in your field for information and career growth should be part of your job search and is a great way to build your personal brand.
This interactive webinar is Presented by JVS Toronto (CanPrep) in partnership with the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). The webinar will help you gain insights on how to network and build social capital through specialized groups and volunteerism for professional integration and success.
You will learn about:
- Increased awareness of specialized programs and how these programs can help with successful networking.
- Gain greater knowledge on how skills-based volunteering can assist with achieving professional goals.
- Hear an Internationally Educated Professional share how networking helped to grow his personal brand and successfully settle in Canada.
Click on the "Play" button to view the webinar.
- Monina Febria, Program Coordinator, Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs), TRIEC
- Paula Speevak, President and CEO, Volunteer Canada
- Renan Orquiza, P.Eng. Project Manager, Watters Environmental Group Inc.
- Irene Vaksman, Director, Newcomer Services, JVS Toronto
To register for more informative webinars and other services offered by CanPrep, click here: https://www.jvstoronto.org/pre-arrival/canprep/#canprep-registration
“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”
- John C. Crosby
Potential new immigrants who are in the process of immigrating to Canada soon have many things on their mind - A new life, new work environment, new world. They have all these questions they want answers to – What kind of job opportunities should I be applying to? Do I have a resume that is right for the Canadian job market? How do I write an effective cover letter that can get me results? What are the expectations from me in my new Canadian work place? Our program participants have shared with us that they just want someone to listen to them, direct them and validate them. They need a mentor.
A ‘mentor’ is usually a more knowledgeable or experienced person who guides the less knowledgeable or experience person often referred to as the ‘mentee’.
At CanPrep, we offer online mentoring as part of our pre-arrival employment services to Canada. Our mentoring program – Canada InfoNet connects Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs) to experienced professionals in Canada who act as mentors.
Who are our mentors?
Our mentors are passionate and motivated professionals who understand the challenges of immigration, many from personal experiences. They are investing their time to give mentees a better understanding of their industry in Canada. They want to help build their confidence which is essential to setting and achieving personal goals.
The primary motivation of Mentors of our online program is to provide guidance and support. They share their knowledge of industry standards and practices, certifications, training and education, and the job search itself through a safe and easy online format. This has helped mentees formulate strong job search strategies which has a huge impact on how soon they can find employment.
Why online mentoring?
There are many ways that a Mentor’s time and effort can have an impact. Mentees will:
- Gain insight into Canadian work and values
- Understand current workplace and industry trends
- Receive critical feedback on resumes and interview techniques
- Get help with self-marketing techniques and confidence building
- Identify skills required by market demands, and guidance on licensing processes in their province of landing
- Gain access to professional networks
- Understand how to present themselves in the best possible light to potential employers
What is the impact of mentoring on program participants?
Nitesh is a professional who is in the process of immigrating to Canada. He applied to CanPrep and started working with his Employment Counsellor on the different components of the program. Since he had optimal time for a 10 week partnership with an online mentor, his Counsellor connected him to Rick who has been a star mentor with Canada InfoNet for many years now. Nitesh (mentee) and Rick (mentor) used the online mentoring system to discuss various topics that Nitesh had concerns about. Towards the end of the partnership, Nitesh felt:
It was a wonderful experience to interact with a working professional who has been living in Canada for many years and who knows the complete ins and outs of the labor market there. For a new immigrant like me, the most important part is to get guidance on how I can get a job in a competitive market. I am glad that I was connected to an experienced and knowledgeable mentor through CanPrep and I really got a very good insight on how things work in the Canadian job market.
His online mentor had contributed to building his confidence to start a new phase of life for him and his family.
How does online mentoring work?
Mentors and mentees are usually signed up on Canada InfoNet which is an online, interactive, mentoring platform. Each mentoring partnership lasts for 10 weeks long. The partnership goes through 5 different stages of Orientation – Relationship building – Learning Conversations – Building Networks – Moving On.
The online discussions occur on a secure private discussion board at a time of convenience for the mentor and the mentee. The program requires at least a weekly 1 hour communication in total. This gives enough opportunity to build a relationship between the two and also to move through the various phases of the program.
How to sign up for online mentoring?
Internationally Educated Professionals with a permanent resident visa, still living in their home country and planning to arrive in Canada in the next 3 to 6 months are eligible for online mentoring. To begin with, they can sign up for the CanPrep program here. Once their eligibility has been established, a CanPrep Employment Counsellor will get in touch with them for the next steps.Read More
JVS Toronto's pre-arrival employment program CanPrep - is a free specialized employment program. This online program is designed for internationally trained individuals relocating to anywhere in Canada. CanPrep was recently in the spotlight when New Canadians interviewed our very own - Irene Vaksman (Director of Newcomer Services) for their web show. New Canadians is a rich and informative web and TV show portraying stories of recent immigrants making Canada their home.
Click on the "Play" button to view the full interview.Read More