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Quick Job Hunting Instructions-Canada

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Contents

[edit] If you're still in the UK


  • Turn your British CV into a Canadian Resume.


  • If you have varied experience, create two or three different versions of your resume, each emphasizing different skills.


  • Look at Samples Resumes so that you can get an idea of what a clean, crisp, attractive North American resume looks like.


  • Use the Resume Checklist to ensure you've done everything correctly and haven't made any major mistakes.
  • Please note that you should spend most of your efforts identifying companies that may need your services. Do not focus on recruitment agencies. Yes, if your occupation is in red hot demand in Canada, recruitment agencies may be able to help you. If you're in that situation, by all means include recruitment agencies in your job hunting mix. But be sure to communicate directly with potential employers as well. If your occupation is not in huge demand, you can contact a couple of recruitment agencies, but the vast majority of your efforts should be directed towards contacting potential employers.


  • Mail hard copies of your resume, with covering letters, to selected employers. Use the covering letter to draw attention to a couple of ways in which your qualifications and experience are a particularly good fit for the company.


  • It is recommended that you do not use e-mail for your initial communication with a potential employer. It is all right to use send your resume by e-mail if you've already been in phone contact with an employer, the employer has suggested that you e-mail your resume, and therefore the employer is expecting your e-mail. Otherwise your e-mail will just be one of dozens or even hundreds of e-mails that the employer receives every day, that clutter his/her inbox, and that are a nuisance to him/her.


  • Allow a week for the resumes to arrive in the mail, and another week for the resumes to be read.


  • After two weeks, phone the prospective employers to whom you sent resumes.


  • Yes, you read the previous statement correctly. You have to phone prospective employers in Canada while you're still in the UK.


  • Yes, we know that cold calling may not come naturally to you at first. But if you confine your job hunting efforts to e-mailing potential Canadian employers from the UK, it's unlikely that you'll get anywhere.


  • You're at an advantage, in that you can phone in the evening, while it's still daytime in Canada.


  • What do you say to prospective employers when you phone them?
    • Say you're planning to move to Canada, and you're researching the employment scene.
    • Make it sound as if you're picking the person's brain.
    • Don't come on too strongly.
    • Don't start the conversation by asking for a job as such.
    • Ask them what kinds of qualifications and experience they need in their companies.
    • Try to find out, in a casual tone, if they have any vacancies for which you would be suitable.
    • If they don't have vacancies, ask them for names of companies that need people like you (and, if possible, names of individuals within those companies).


  • There is one caveat about phoning. If you complete an online job application or respond to an advertisement for a job in a newspaper, you must follow the instructions on the company's website or in the newspaper. If the instructions state that you should not call, then do not phone. It will annoy the prospective employer if you go against explicit instructions. However, it is acceptable if your covering letter states that you will be in Fredericton (just by way of example) from August 7th to August 15th, and would be available for a meeting.


  • Send thank you emails to the people who have provided you with information on the phone.


  • Armed with new information, repeat the exercise. Send your resume to the new employers whose names you've obtained.


  • If you follow through on these suggestions, you'll collect a lot of names, and you'll have a long to do list (send your resume to this person, place a follow up call to that person, etc.). It can get confusing to keep track of everything. It may be worth your while finding a free contact relationship management (CRM) software package that you can use to keep track of your contacts. However, for job hunting purposes, you may find that an Excel (or other) spreadsheet is adequate.


  • Follow news about the province to which you want to move. Stay in touch with the economic trends there.


  • Learn about Canadian immigration so that, when you get into more in depth communications with prospective employers, you can walk them through the process if necessary.


  • Start tweaking your qualifications and experience to meet the needs of Canadian employers that you've identified during your phone conversations and that you've found out from following the news.



  • Read the Job Interview Wiki to find out about informational interviews (a chat over a cup of coffee) and job interviews while you're on your recce.


  • When you get back home from your recce trip, send thank you emails to all the people who agreed to meet you and who gave you advice during your recce.


  • Continue to tweak your qualifications and experience based on the information you've found out during your recce.


  • Stay in touch with prospective employers and people in the community to which you want to move.


[edit] Contrarian point of view

  • Opinions on the BE forum vary regarding the sequence in which you send your resume to prospective employers and phone them.


  • Some forum members believe in sending your resume first and following up with a phone call.


  • Other forum members believe in phoning first and following up by sending your resume.


  • The advantage of phoning first is that the person who receives your resume is expecting it, and doesn't automatically discard it.


  • This author believes in phoning first.


  • But, regardless of the sequence that you follow, everyone who has been through this process will agree that the phone is an essential tool in your quest for employment in Canada.

[edit] If you're already in Canada

  • Turn your British CV into a Canadian Resume.


  • If you have varied experience, create two or three different versions of your resume, each emphasizing different skills.


  • Look at Samples Resumes so that you can get an idea of what a clean, crisp, attractive North American resume looks like.


  • Use the Resume Checklist to ensure you've done everything correctly and haven't made any major mistakes.


  • Tell everyone you meet that you're looking for a job. Everyone means everyone -- the checkout clerk at the supermarket when you're paying for your groceries, the person riding the stationary bike next to you in the gym, the other parents at your kid's sports game .......


  • Ask people if you can pick their brains over a cup of coffee. When you have these informational interviews, ask people what's going on in their industry. Ask them if they know anyone who's hiring. Ask them for names of specific people in companies. Ask them about the pay scales in the field in which they work. (Information about pay is useful, because it's not productive for someone in your position to hold out for too much money. If anything, it would help you to get your toe in the door if you aimed a little low.)


  • Join a relevant professional or career association, and attend its meetings.


  • Find a group with which you share an interest, and attend its meetings. Use the Meetup website to find groups in your geographic area.


  • Attend events organized by a British expats group in your city.



  • Volunteer to coach a local kids' soccer team.


  • Enroll in an evening course that's of interest to you.



  • If you implement even some of these networking strategies, you should find out about job vacancies.


  • When you apply for each vacancy, tweak your resume to emphasize the fit between your skills and experience and the needs of that specific company and the department in which you'd be working.


  • Write a covering letter, if possible addressed to a specific person in the company, drawing attention to a couple of ways in which you'd be able to meet that company's / department's needs.


  • About a week after the company could be expected to have received your resume, phone up the person to whom you addressed your covering letter and ask them how they're coming along with their search for a _______ [fill in the blank].


  • Rehearse hypothetical interviews with someone else.


  • If you have a tape recorder, write a list of questions, tape yourself answering the questions, and listen to the tape of yourself afterwards. This is a very illuminating exercise.


  • If you're invited to a real interview, follow up the next day with a thank you note or email to the interviewer. Compliment the company on some positive facet of its operations that you found out during the interview, and use the opportunity to say that you believe your experience in ______ would be a good fit for the company's needs in ________ .


  • If you haven't heard anything about 10 days after the interview, phone the interviewer and ask him/her how he/she is coming along with his/her search for a ______ [fill in the blank].


  • If the interviewer says he/she has hired someone else, ask what decided him/her in favour of the successful candidate. Ask the interviewer if there is something you could do that would make you more attractive to other employers like him/herself.


  • If you follow through on these suggestions, you'll collect a lot of names, and you'll have a long to do list (send your resume to this person, place a follow up call to that person, etc.). It can get confusing to keep track of everything. It may be worth your while finding a free contact relationship management (CRM) software package that you can use to keep track of your contacts. However, for job hunting purposes, you may find that an Excel (or other) spreadsheet is adequate.


  • Through your networking efforts you should find out about vacancies. But if you are not finding out about enough vacancies through networking, look at the job ads in the career section of the newspaper, and read the Wiki article called Finding Job Opportunities to identify vacancies.


  • You need to do this fulltime. As the saying goes, treat your job hunt as if it's a job in its own right.


[edit] Caveat

  • Please note that this article is addressed primarily to the person looking for work in the private sector, where there is a large hidden job market.


  • The public sector's hiring practices tend to be more transparent. Vacancies tend to be posted publicly, hiring decisions are more likely to be made by committees, and so on. Word-of-mouth is useful in the public sector too, but not to the same extent that it is in the private sector.

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