How new Canadian Immigrants can easily find a job in Canada

The biggest challenge faced by new immigrants to Canada is finding a suitable employment, ideally related to their previous experience.

I have witnessed several immigrants struggling to find a job, end up with an odd job, or failing to find any job altogether and return to their home country disheartened and disappointed.

I admit, it’s not easy for new immigrants to find a job. Not only they have to settle in a new country with different culture, they also have to understand the requirements of Canadian job market and bridge any gaps in skills that they might have. And they have to do all that while spending their savings. I have been through that. I know it’s not fun.

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In my case, I was extremely lucky to land a job related to my skills and experience within 6 weeks of arriving in Canada. I don’t like to brag about it, but it took a lot of preparation and persistence to achieve it. And I was mentally prepared to wait for a long time to find a job. Fortunately I didn’t have to do that.

So now it’s time for me to give back and share some tips and tricks that new immigrants can use to find a job.

In fact, this post can be used as a mini action plan for job hunting.

If I could break it down in steps, I would do it like this:

1. Research the Canadian job market in terms of your skills and experience

You don’t play a game without understanding its rules. Similarly, you must understand the Canadian job market before applying for a job in Canada. Search the Canadian job websites (listed in a next step) for jobs similar to what you have been doing. It is possible that the job title you have now might be called something else in Canada. Likewise, there might be some difference in job descriptions or names of skills that you have. It’s just the difference in terminologies. But it is important for you to know about it so that you are not lost in something totally new when searching for job in Canada. Search for your existing skills and see what kind of jobs are available for those keywords. Compare the job description with your current or previous jobs and see if they match. Then compare the title of the job with your current or previous jobs. Do this for different combination of keywords and soon you will see a pattern of keywords to job titles. Now you can easily tell what kind of jobs you need to look for in Canada.

2. Optimize your resume according to Canadian standards

Now that you know what your target job is called in Canada, adjust your resume accordingly. Change the titles in the previous experience section of your resume to what they are called in Canada. Also change the job description and other keywords to reflect the Canadian standards. This will greatly help you when you send your resume for a job, because the person reviewing it will know exactly what your qualifications, experience, and skills are. Also your resume will be easier to search for by the recruiters who are searching for a specific skill set. Also make sure your resume is according to Canadian resume format. Don’t put any extra information that employers would not be interested in like hobbies or interests or your place of birth.

3. Create an elevator pitch about yourself, your career goals, and your strengths.

This is more important than you think. You must be able to talk about yourself to a potential employer. If you have performed the previous steps well, you will get a random call from a recruiter wanting to talk to you. You don’t want to be caught unprepared at that moment. So prepare a 30-seconds speech about who you are, what your previous experience has been about, what kind of job you are looking for, and what are you really good it. Practice it a few times until you memorize it and are able to make it in your sleep.

4. Update your LinkedIn profile and match it with your resume

LinkedIn is an extremely important tool. It’s is most used tool for job search and if you are not active on LinkedIn then you are at a major disadvantage. If you don’t already have it, create your profile on LinkedIn and match it with your resume. Add all your current and previous colleagues as connections, and all those who went to college with you.

5. Identify at least 20 companies in your target city of region that are hiring for positions similar to your target job

What is the market segment that you want to work in? Is it banking, healthcare, retail, tech, or something else? What are the top companies in those sectors in your target location? What are their current job openings? How many do you think you would qualify for? All of these are very important questions that you need to look up. Create a spreadsheet to keep track of all this. I recommend to list at least 20 companies where you would want to work, and the position would like to target those companies for. Feel free to use LinkedIn (among other websites) for this.

6. Find recruiters and headhunters in your city or region through LinkedIn and connect with them

This is where LinkedIn comes in really handy. Use LinkedIn’s search tool to search for the recruiters and headhunters in your area and connect with them. Introduce yourself, use the elevator pitch that you have prepared, and ask them nicely if you can talk to them. Most likely you will get a positive response. This is what headhunters do. They are always looking for good talent to place in the companies they work with. That’s how they get paid. They would love to talk to you if you show promise. All you need to do is be nice and professional. They will even advice you on how look for relevant job. Any advice coming from someone who is in the job industry is worth a million dollars.

7. Register at all of the top job hunting websites and keep track of your activities there

There are dozens of job boards for Canada. Do some research in google and pick the top 6 for your industry. Register and create your profile in all of them. Make sure it matches with your resume. Create a spreadsheet to keep track of all the job websites you have registered in. If you make any change in your resume, make sure to make the same change in all those websites. I know it’s a bit tedious task but that’s why job search is full time job.

Below are some of the job websites, but please do your own research and don’t rely only on these.

LinkedIn
Monster.ca
Indeed
Workopolis
Eluta

8. Prepare your cover letter

I used to hate cover letters until came to realize their importance in Canada. First thing recruiters do is read your cover letter. If you fail to impress in your cover letter then they don’t even look at your resume. However, there is a technique to writing the cover letter. You have to tailor it to the job and company you are applying for. There is no such thing as generic cover letter. Just think about it, if you are applying to 50 jobs, how can the same cover letter be applicable to all those jobs. You have to write 50 cover letters. Now obviously you cannot write 50 cover letters without knowing about the job that you are going to use it for. So you write your cover letter after you find a job that you are interested in. And in that cover letter you mention why you are the perfect fit for this job and why you should be hired for this job. For example, if the job requires 5-years experience in project management and satisfy that requirement, then mention in your cover letter that you have 5-years experience in project management. Just reproduce the entire job requirements in your cover letter and say that you match it point by point. There is no way a recruiter would not consider you after reading that.

Next mention in five points why you are the best person for this job. Do this by highlighting your achievements in your previous job. For example, I have a proven track record of completing the project on time. I have achieved high customer satisfaction rate. I am loved by my team members and my managers alike.

So if it is still not clear enough for you, let me elaborate on it further by creating a sample cover letter for you.

Here is a job posting that I picked up randomly from LinkedIn:

Desired Skills and Experience
Qualifications:
Understanding of modern web technology–frameworks, app servers, etc.
Experience in one or more languages a plus: PHP, Python, Java, Ruby, .NET, node.js
IT support, networking, or systems administration background is a plus
If you’ve worked previously as a sales engineer or technical account manager, you’ll definitely have a leg up
Excellent written and verbal communication skills
Bachelors degree or equivalent job experience

Now suppose you feel that you qualify for this job. The position is Sales Engineer. So here is how the cover letter should look like-

I am interested in applying for the position of Sales Engineer.

I believe I am a perfect match for this job based on following-

Required Qualifications for this job:
Understanding of modern web technology–frameworks, app servers, etc.
->I have been working on modern web technology and frameworks for last 5 years

Experience in one or more languages a plus: PHP, Python, Java, Ruby, .NET, node.js
-> I am an expert in PHP and Java and have developed a number of applications using these languages

IT support, networking, or systems administration background is a plus
-> I have 5 years experience in networking and systems administration

If you’ve worked previously as a sales engineer or technical account manager, you’ll definitely have a leg up
-> I have overall 10+ years of experience as sales engineer

Excellent written and verbal communication skills
-> I have conducted numerous presentations to customers and written whitepapers, proposal documents etc

Bachelors degree or equivalent job experience
-> I have Bachelors degree in Computer Engineering

I believe I am the best person for this job because-

1. I have a proven track record of customer satisfaction
2. I have played a major role in increasing the sales of my previous employers
3. I love working with cutting-edge technologies
4. I have deep understanding of sales process

My resume is included for your reference. My experience and skills are clearly mentioned on my resume.

I am looking forward to hear from you. Please fee free to contact me anytime at email@domain.com or 555-333-2211.

Best regards,
XYZ

The above is just an example and obviously you will write the cover letter based on your own experience and skills. The point is that the recruiter should read your cover letter and say goddammit! I must hire this person or I will lose out!

9. Apply for jobs that match your profile with customized resume and cover letter for every job.

It’s show time. Spend at least 30-40 minutes every day on LinkedIn and other job websites and look for new jobs posted that match your profile. Prepare the cover letter as I explained in the previous section, and send it along with your resume. But wait a minute. You can’t just send your resume like that. You have to customize your resume also according to the job description. So for example, if the job description says you should have experience of managing a team of 5+ people, and you know that you have that experience but it is not mentioned your resume, then you change your resume to mention it. Each and every requirement in the job description should be mentioned in your resume. It should be a perfect match. If for certain requirement you don’t match 100% but have a pretty good idea about it, just mention it anyway. The point is not to get rejected because you don’t match one requirement. They might not even ask about it in the interview. But they will use it to screen people out.

So from the example in the cover letter section, if you are applying for this job then make all the required qualifications are mentioned in your resume, including the technologies and languages etc.

Use this technique to apply to at least 10 jobs every day. If you apply for the job the way I have described here, it would easily take you 15-20 minutes to apply for one job. So in one hour you can apply for 3-4 jobs only. You just cannot apply for hundreds of jobs in 5 minutes. It doesn’t work. You have to take your time to customize your resume and cover letter for every job. Think like an HR manager. Would you consider a resume or cover letter if it doesn’t match with the job? HR managers go through hundreds of resumes every day. How would you get their attention? Your resume and cover letter should yell HIRE ME to get their attention.

10. Find networking groups in your area through meetup.com and LinkedIn and meet with lots of people

Networking is key. The more people you meet the better your chances of getting a job. Meetup.com is a great place to find special interest groups in your city. Join some groups and go to the meetups. Introduce yourself. Also join special interest groups in LinkedIn and actively participate in the discussions. The purpose is to spread the word that you are in town and looking for a job. Trust me magic will happen as more and more people will get to know about you.

11. Attend trade shows and job fairs in your area and meet with lots of people

Again, go out and explore the city. Look up if there is any trade show and job fair happening related to your industry. Trade shows may or may not directly help you in your job search but you will come across interesting companies and people. It’s a good idea to look up the companies participating in the trade show and see if you are familiar with any of them or if they interest you in any way. Job fairs, on the other hand, are a must. You meet with the recruiters directly and explore what kind of skills and experience are in demand. You will also get a chance to practice your elevator pitch. Just don’t forget to wear a suit.

Here is the google search for trade shows in Toronto, and job fairs in Toronto. Go there and meet with people.


12. Get in touch with your close and not-so-close contacts in Canada and ask if they can connect you with someone who can help you with your job hunt

People who already know you are your biggest assets. Talk to each and every one of them and ask them if they can help push your resume somewhere or it they know someone who can push your resume.

13. Take any bridging or skill development courses that you think will help you improve. Make friends with everyone there.

It is entirely possible that you might need extra courses to fill up any gaps in your qualifications or skills required to get a job in your target industry. Get your credentials evaluated and if it turns out that you need bridging courses, take them. Not only you will learn new stuff, you will also meet with people (hint, hint).

14. Take language courses if you feel you need to improve your language skills.

Of course if you cannot speak the local language very well then you need to work on this. I know brilliant people struggle in Canada only because their English is not very good. Don’t be that person and make sure language is not a barrier. You can take language assessments and based on results take the required language courses. Libraries offer them for free. Local community colleges offer them for very little money. But trust me it’s worth spending a few bucks to improve your language skills and eventually land a job.

So there you go. These are all the things I recommend new immigrants to do in order to greatly increase their chances of getting a job in Canada. You know they say, finding a full time job is a full time job. It’s obvious that you need 6-8 hours every day to do nothing else but work on the steps I have given in this post.

I hope this post would help those are looking for a job in Canada. Good luck!

Do you need to own a car to live in Vancouver

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I love public transport system and I am a firm believer in it. The best cities in my opinion are those that enable the residents to go from anywhere to anywhere using entirely public transport. Owning a car is optional in such cities, not a necessity.

So is Vancouver such a city or not? I have done some research and in this post I will try to answer this question with my analysis.

Metro Vancouver is large area, comprising of several towns including the towns of Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey, and others. Obviously the town of Vancouver is the most densely populated (loosely speaking) and as you go further from the town of Vancouver the population density decreases. So the public transport system of Metro Vancouver is designed to cater the most densely populated areas first, and provide some coverage to distant places, with at least enough options to commute to Downtown Vancouver during the rush hours, as Downtown Vancouver and surrounding areas is where many, if not most, people go to work.

So if you look at transit map for Metro Vancouver, you would notice that almost every major road of town of Vancouver is covered by either bus or skytrain. But as you move to suburbs like Richmond and Burnaby, the coverage gets thinner. There are still many options to commute to downtown Vancouver like seabus and West Coast Express, but if you want to travel say from Surrey to Richmond, then you would have to take the bus or train to Vancouver and then change for Richmond. This will easily burn a couple of hours of your time which could easily be covered in under an hour using a private car or taxi. So there aren’t many direct routes between the suburbs, unless the Skytrain line passes through the towns that are right next to each other, case in point being the Millennium Line which loops between Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, and New Westminster.

Also if you happen to live close (less than 10 minutes walk) to a sky train station or bus station then also it would be easier for you to use the public transport as opposed to if you are living 15-20 minutes walk from the closest public transport.

So to answer the question, yes it is possible to live in Vancouver without owning a car, but it depends on where you live in Vancouver. Not all places are equally covered by public transport.

So here is my recommendation. If you want to live in Vancouver and completely rely on public transport (or in other words don’t want to purchase a car), then you can make it happen by following these recommendations:

1. Live in the town of Vancouver, ideally as close to Downtown Vancouver as possible. You can maybe get by living in Burnaby, but your commute times will be longer and might involve long walks.
2. Live as close to sky train station as possible. This is not a hard requirement, as you can still take the bus to sky train if you are in Vancouver, but it’s better to live near sky train if you daily commutes involve traveling in the sky train. Why waste time changing the buses and stuff.
3. Don’t hesitate to hop on a taxi if time or weather doesn’t permit using the public transport, or you have to go somewhere where public transport cannot reach.
4. Use car sharing services like zipcar in case you do need to drive a car for a couple of hours.

By following the above recommendations, you can easily live in Vancouver without owning a car. The money saved from buying a maintaining a car can be invested in other things to improve the quality of life.

Let me know in the comments section if you agree or disagree with my analysis.

How to find temporary accommodation in Vancouver

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If you are landing in Vancouver as a new immigrant then you are probably looking for a temporary accommodation until you get familiar with different areas of the city and decide on a permanent place to live.

This post is about how I went about finding a temporary accommodation and what I would advise to others who are planning to land in Vancouver.

The two factors in deciding a temporary place to live in Vancouver were:

1. Proximity to Downtown – I wanted to live as close to Downtown Vancouver as possible. The reason being that most government offices are in Downtown so it’s convenient to get all the paperwork done if you are also living in Downtown. Plus Downtown Van is beautiful and I wanted to give myself and my family a great experience of moving to a new place. Granted it’s quite expensive to live there so you have to look at your budget.

2. Close to public transport – Relying to taxis can be very expensive when you are trying to save every penny. So my priority was to get a place within walking distance of the skytrain so that we could go anywhere using public transport

Keeping these two things in mind, I started looking for an short-term accommodation while I was in Dubai. I used two main resources for this purpose. Craigslist, and Airbnb. There are a number of temporary accommodation postings on Craigslist but you have to be present in Vancouver to deal with the sellers and the all the transactions are cash based so it was not easy to book a place through craigslist. After realizing that I focused only on Airbnb. The great thing about Airbnb is that it allows you to book a place using your credit card so you can be assured that the place will be reserved for you when you land. Also Airbnb is much cheaper than hotels and other commercial places as it is real people renting out their personal properties.

So I started looking for apartments in Downtown Van, more specifically Yaletown area, but it turned out that it was above my budget. I either had to compromise on the quality of apartment or spend a fortune in order live in Downtown upon landing. None of them were viable options for me. So I decided to look at areas around Downtown, while still being close to transit. After a brief search I found a nice apartment in Mount Pleasant area, which is right next to Downtown and the apartment was only 10 minutes walk from skytrain. Luckily the owner of the apartment let me rent it for a month and just like that I had reserved an apartment in Vancouver for one month from my landing date.

It turned out to be a good decision and great experience. We really enjoyed our stay at Mount Pleasant. It was a central location and all the points of interest were within a few minutes drive. I was able to stay within my budget and enjoy the city. Mission accomplished.

So my advise to those who are planning to immigrate to Vancouver and looking for temporary accommodation is this:

1. Decide how much you are willing to spend on temporary accommodation and how long you need it for. It takes at least 6-8 weeks to find a permanent place and get possession of it so keep that in mind.

2. Decide how will you move in the city. Taxis are always expensive. Most people use public transport. Plus weather is nice in Vancouver all year long so it’s very walk-able. Alternatively you can rent a car which would give you more freedom to go anywhere anytime but also cost a lot. However it is still cheaper than using taxis all the time.

3. Do the research on internet on which areas you can target based on your budget. You don’t have to live in Vancouver. You can decide to live in other cities in Metro Vancouver such as Burnaby, Richmond, Coquitlam, or Surrey. There is public transport in all these cities though they are a bit far from Vancouver downtown.

4. If you know a friend who is already there he can find a temporary place for you through Craigslist or other local listings and reserve it for you. You can then pay him when you land. Otherwise I recommend Airbnb. I had great experience with Airbnb and I am a big fan of it. The thing with Airbnb is that the hosts have to maintain a reputation so they have to make sure the place is well kept and you are well taken care of. Plus you can check existing reviews of the host and go for the one with best reviews.

So that’s it from my side on finding temporary accommodation in Vancouver.

If you have any questions please feel free to use the comments section.

Newegg Opens Warehouse in Vancouver

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Newegg is a niche online store for electronics. Their claim to fame though is computer parts and accessories. If you want to build your own computer, you can purchase all the parts from newegg.

As part of their expansion plan, newegg recently opened a warehouse in Vancouver to cater to the demands of Western Canadian market. I was lucky enough to be invited to their grand opening. I must say they have an impressive warehouse in Vancouver and it feels great to know that I can order anything from newegg.ca at competitive prices and get it shipped to my doorstep within a couple of days.

Below are some pictures from the event.

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So if you are in Canada and want to order computer parts, look no further than newegg. They are really good at what they do.

My Landing Experience at Vancouver Airport

welcomecanada

One of the first interactions you have with Canadian authorities as new Canadian immigrant is upon your landing at a Canadian airport (if you are flying into Canada). The paperwork and other formalities for new immigrants are different from others. Many at times, expected immigrants are curious about the landing process. So for the benefit of future immigrants who are planning to land at Vancouver airport, and for the sake of documentation, I am sharing my landing experience at Vancouver airport below.

I, accompanied by my family, landed at Vancouver International Airport on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 at around 1 pm. When we reached the passport control area, we notified the helper lady that we are new immigrants. She saw that I was with family, so she bypassed me to the front of the queue for passport control. When I reached the counter I again informed the officer that I was a new immigrant. He checked all our passports and other documents, and sent us to an area for the new immigrants. There a lady checked all our documents again and gave us a number. We were then asked to wait until our number was called. We were hoping that our number would be called soon and we will be on our way, but it took more than an hour. Once the number was called it was fairly quick after that. We got the signed documents back and we were out of the new immigrants area and into the baggage claim.

One smart thing we did before entering the immigration area was that we hired a porter and gave him all our baggage tags. By the time we were done with immigration, the porter was waiting with our luggage. Next stop was customs. We were ready with our “goods accompanied” and “goods to follow” lists. However, the customs officer was only interested in “goods to follow” list. She didn’t bother to look at “goods accompanied” list or pictures of jewellery that we had prepared. She stamped on the list and we were out of the airport. The porter helped us load the luggage on a taxi and we were on our way to our first apartment in Vancouver.

So there. That was my landing experience in Vancouver. Overall it wasn’t bad except for an hour long wait at the immigration. We had traveled for over 25 hours and we were dead tired, so the wait was killing us. But other than that it was a painless process and we didn’t face any issues.