“Sorry, you don’t have Canadian experience.” Sounds familiar? You are not alone.
Every year Canada opens its doors to over 250,000 new comers; immigrants from all over the world who choose to make Canada their home. They come with degrees, experience and dreams but once in they are faced with the oft-quoted dilemma: no Canadian experience.
For a new comer this is a classic chicken-and-egg situation, how does one acquire Canadian experience when nobody is willing to provide the opportunity for Canadian experience?
From an employers’ stand point, however harsh this might seem, the fact is someone who has spent a considerable time in Canada would be a safer bet as familiarity with the ways and culture of Canada would mean an effective fit into a Canadian company. So, what can a new comer do in order to gain this ‘Canadian experience?’
1- Polish up : the resume is the first thing an employer or recruiter will see, well before you show up in tie and suit. Make sure there are no errors in grammar and typos. Hire a professional to go through your Resume. By weeding out non-Canadian terms and slang you stand a better chance of securing the second step in your job search – the interview.
2- Be curious : sitting in front of a computer and emailing Resumes is no doubt the right thing to do, but, spending time away from the computer has its benefits too. Turn on the TV and check the news – you will get a feel of what is going on in the city and in the country that you will now call home.
3- Get out: go out for coffee and take in the local sights and the people around you. You can always learn by seeing people in real life, the way they interact, the way they work and talk.
4 – Talk: don’t feel intimidated – join in the conversation. Canadians are famous for being polite and courteous. The more you talk at the grocery store, the bank, coffee shops, the more comfortable you will feel in having a conversation with someone who has the power to hire you.
5 – Sports: every country has a national sport – soccer, cricket, basket-ball, football. In Canada, hockey rules. Learn about the sport. If you can talk hockey, you will be more often than not welcomed into conversations, friendships and loud parties. (If you are into beer the friendlier the crowd gets)
6 – Don’t get too caught up in your own community: the comfort of being with your own community in a foreign land is understandable. However, if you want to increase your chances of getting a job you have to step out of your comfort zone and explore the land and its people. This does not mean you have to travel far and wide. The major Canadian cities are home to diverse nationalities and the quicker you learn about the diversity the less challenged you will feel in interacting with them. And more comfortable you will feel in applying for various positions.
It is rare for a new comer not to have gone through the “No Canadian Experience” road bump, but, in the end that is what it has remained, simply a road bump on the way to becoming a productive Canadian Citizen.