One of the main challenge newcomers can face is finding their first Canadian work experience. Getting it can turn out to be difficult and challenging. We all know it can take time and it can be even harder when you arrive in a new country with no network and no one to help you out.
For some employers, recruiting people from abroad having no or little understanding of the Canadian workplace culture can be risky as they might be thinking you won’t be able to adapt quickly enough. Obtaining your first Canadian experience will help you overcome this issue and access a job matching your qualifications and skills. For any recruiter, it’s always reassuring to see that you are working a plan for your future and for this reason the faster you can demonstrate your willingness to learn and adapt, the less your lack of experience matters.
There are three ways to consider to get the so-called “First Canadian Experience”.
You are all already trying the usual means of job hunting, using the most famous job websites: Indeed.ca, Monster.ca, Glassdoor.ca, Thejobwindow.com, Craigslist.ca, LinkedIn...but it might happen that after sending hundreds of applications you still have no answer from employers. If you are facing this problem try to be more creative in your job search and look into the following alternatives:
Volunteering is an important part of Canadian society and it's a very good way to socialize with the locals, to get to know new people and gain new experiences. As soon as you start volunteering with a Canadian organization, you have a Canadian experience and potentially references you can use during your job search. Vancouver has a diverse range of volunteer opportunities to fit your goals, skills, and schedule. Here are some websites you can use to find the ideal volunteering mission for you:
- GoVolunteer: Govolunteer is a go-to engagement platform that connects volunteers with non-profits and charities across BC and Alberta. GoVolunteer provides geocoded maps, allowing you to search for volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood.
- Volunteer BC: Volunteer BC has several program areas which help British Columbians mobilize their talents as volunteers through education opportunities, useful tools and ways to address critical community needs. These programs are for anyone interested in volunteering or learning more about the voluntary sector.
- CharityVillage: Thanks to their eLearning courses, volunteers and events listings, webinars, newsletters, articles, tools and resources, Charityvillage is one of the most popular online resources for recruiting and providing news and how-to information in the Canadian non-profit sector.
- BC Talents: BC Talents is a group of resourceful people who will guide you to adapt to the Canadian culture and help you in your job search. We offer a personalized approach to better advise you to find a job matching your skills and experience. We have a growing network of professionals and, we organize monthly themed events to learn and network both at the same time. BC Talents is always looking for new volunteers with job opportunities available on our website.
Recruitment agencies work to connect you with companies looking for candidates for their job openings. A recruitment agent’s main role is to find the most suitable person for a job vacancy that they have been asked to fill. Recruitment agencies can help you access the “hidden” job market by giving you access to employment opportunities that may not be posted on traditional job sites!
How to contact an agency?
You can either give them a call or send an email or submit your resume on their website. Once you have registered you can be asked to do some assessments and to meet for a face-to-face interview to better understand your needs. Before registering you should make sure to choose an agency that fits you and the type of job you are seeking. Each agency has its own specialty:
- Adecco: Adecco is the leading provider of recruitment solutions and HR services in the world. They provide both permanent and temporary staffing. They have all different kind of positions available in various areas.
- IPN Brainpower: IPN Brainpower is one of the leading recruiting and staffing companies providing solutions within the engineering sector in a wide range of industries i.e. IT, mining, manufacturing, aerospace, clean energy and more.
- Goldbeck Recruiting: Goldbeck Recruiting focuses on permanent placements in areas such as sales, marketing, engineering & skilled trades, production & operations, manufacturing & industrial sales or Healthcare and biotech recruitment.
- Swim Recruiting: Swim Recruiting offers permanent and contracts recruitment in accounting & finance, HR/payroll/benefits, IT, administration.
- Miles Employment: A large part of Miles Employment services are temporary-to-hire positions, but they also provide long and short term contracts. They have a wide range of jobs in corporate staffing, engineering, IT, HR, supply chain management, sales, and marketing.
Note: You shouldn't be asked to pay any registration or placement fee!
Of course, don't only rely on agencies as your only means of finding a job.
You can also consider the hospitality industry and apply for jobs in cafes, bars, restaurants or retail shops where having no experience won’t be a big issue. Hospitality is a very dynamic and fast-paced industry with an important turnover rate meaning cafes, restaurants or shops are always hiring new staff.
- Cafe or fast food chains like Starbucks, Mcdonald’s, Tim Hortons, Five Guys...are looking for new employees throughout the year and you can easily apply on their websites or hand a hard copy of your resume in person.
- Granville Island has also loads of waterfront restaurants, theaters, galleries, studios, unique shops, cafes and a big fresh food market that can offer job opportunities for you.
Working in hospitality also offers flexible shifts and hours allowing you to keep looking for a job that better matches your skills in the meantime.
Now that you are aware of all the above options we wish you the best of luck!