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How to Get a Job in Canada from India

(Guest Post): CV 

Last Updated: 17th February, 2019

How to Get a Job in Canada

how_to_get_a_job_in_Canada_from_india

There are three ways to secure a Job in Canada from India. Two of them work easily.

OPTION 1: The luckiest and riskiest way – Your company in India transfers you on a special project.

At the company I currently work at, our IT division is outsourced to HCL. Project Managers and IT engineers from Bangalore and Noida are currently based out of our Brampton office. They were hired as “temporary foreign workers” from Canada’s International Mobility Program for a couple of years. After 1-2 years of experience, they may be eligible for permanent residency from one of the following programs:

Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program – “I have 1 year of full time work experience in Canada, in a job that is classified in the Canadian National Occupation Classification (NOC).”

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) – “I have 2 years of full time work experience in Canada, in a job that is NOC classified, and the company loves me so much that they are willing to nominate me to apply for permanent residency.

The reason this is a risky choice is because you are not in control. Ultimately, you’re relying on the good will of your company and its success to dictate if you stay in Canada or pack up back to India.

There are many major Indian companies that have presence in Canada – HCL, Tata Consultancy Services, ICICI Bank and other companies that have a large presence in India such as Sun Life and Accenture.

With Justin Trudeau and Narendra Modi aimed at getting “warmth” between the two countries according to HindustanTimes, we hope to see more Indian businesses flourishing in Canada in the future. Brampton, the city our very own Russel Peters grew up in, currently has a large Indian immigrant base, and its economy is on the rise.

What this means for you? If you currently work for a company in India that has presence in Canada, start speaking to your management or your counterparts in the Canadian branch to let them know you’re interested. I recently spoke to a family friend of mine, Matthew. He works at JP Morgan. He told me he let his company know a year in advance he was moving to Canada, and when the opportunity came up, JP Morgan Canada welcomed him. Take this approach only if you are sure that this announcement will not hurt you in any way in your current job – not all bosses are supportive!

OPTION 2: The reliable way – Apply for permanent residency and network network network!

When you’re a permanent resident (PR) in Canada you don’t have to worry about the deadline of a work permit expiry date. The less stress during a job search, the better.

If you apply for a permanent residency using the methods that other people have mentioned, you can do a “short landing.”

To be eligible for Canadian citizenship, you have to live in Canada as a PR for 4 out of 6 years. (Bill C-6 received Royal Assent on Jun 19 2017, which will change that to 3 out of 5 years. Yay!)

What is a short landing? People who have permanent residency approved will land in Canada for the first time, get their landing papers stamped which will officially make them a permanent resident, and immediately go back to India for up to another 2 years. Then they come back to Canada and don’t move for the next 4 years, so they can be eligible for citizenship.

If you choose to do this, don’t let those 2 years go to waste. Network with Canadians and build relationships as early as possible.

Use those two years you have left to find the right Canadians in your professional industry and start networking with them.

If you short land you have up to two years, use them wisely. Save money and network!

OPTION 3: The useless, time wasting way – Apply for jobs online at Monster, Workopolis, Indeed, LinkedIn etc.

Imagine you are a HR hiring manager working for Tata Consultancy Services in Delhi. You have a job available and you receive 20 resumes. 19 are from HR professionals with great experience and fit the requirements, and they all live in Delhi. One is from a HR professional with great experience and fits the requirements, and she lives in Canada. Would you hire the Canadian?

Please don’t waste your time applying for jobs on the online boards. Your resume is either not being looked at all, or is being tossed aside. Unless your skills on paper are so rare and exceptional and no one else living in Canada applying for the same job has it, you have no chance of securing a job in Canada this way.

When I was job interviewing, one question that was always asked at the interview “Are you legally allowed to work in Canada?” The answer is “Yes” only if:

  1. You are a citizen
  2. You are a permanent resident
  3. You have an open work permit

If you are living in India, you are neither of these things. You are legally not allowed to work in Canada!

There is only one use for the job boards online. You can review the job descriptions of what is being asked in your line of work, and notice if there are any gaps that you can fill from now till you land. If you’re planning to get into project management for example, and you’re seeing “PMP is an asset”, get it done now while you have the comfort and support of your home base.

Another use for the online job descriptions is if you’re in a regulated field. If you’re in the engineering, medical, teaching, accounting, HR field and some others, prepare to go back to school. Colleges and universities generally host these programs. Whether you can do them online while you are in India, I do not know. You will have to contact the respective training institute to find out.

So instead of wasting time apply for jobs online, use that time to do something more productive.

My personal advice, (this won’t be easy to hear), change careers and start working in a fast track high demand occupation. Assuming you meet all the other criteria, you need 1 year of experience in this occupation to be eligible for PR.

This of course is no easy task, because it means quitting your current job and doing something that may be different field altogether.

However, there are 357 fields listed. You must have some transferable skills that will allow you to move jobs into one of these categories.

I have ready that in a life time of a 40 year career, people will change fields at least 4 times. This is a good opportunity to make that happen.

It all depends on how badly you want to migrate to Canada and take the risk to make this sacrifice in India.

So what’s the best choice?

Most people should fall in the Option 2 category but they make the mistake of relying on Option 3. The reason I stress on networking is because in Canada, it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. There are 300K immigrants per year + 1 million college students + 6.5% unemployment rate in Canada – lots of competition! The job is awarded to the person the hiring manager trusts, and trust is most likely given to the person they know first hand.

Networking is not just a one time activity, it’s a way of life. Regardless of which choice you pick, get into this habit while in India, while you still have time before the big move, so you can leverage this network after you land.

When I moved to Canada, I got three job offers in two weeks using a targeted job search strategy that I researched for a year before landing in Canada.

Good Luck to you! I hope you secure your new Canadian job as quickly as I did, and then you can bring your parents or grand parents over on the Super Visa program.

(P.S. José Bautista is the Sachin Tendulkar of baseball. Learn the sport, it’s a good ice breaker in networking conversations. “Let’s Go Blue Jays!”)

Bonus Tip for Indians

A study I have uncovered shows that Indian names work against job seekers in Canada.

According to the study called “Why do some employers prefer to interview Mathew, but not Samir?” employers are 40% more likely to interview candidates with English sounding names.

I’m not saying you should change your name, because it is a core part of your identity. But I thought it is important to raise this issue. Chinese job seekers face the same problem.

A response from the study indicates that when employer’s see a non-English name, they subconsciously assume there will be a language and communication barrier. Abbreviating your name, or shortening it (“Dev” instead of “Devindra”) is also another possible suggestion.

Cultural differences

In Canada, more importance is placed on experience and accomplishments. Not on education.

It doesn’t matter if you have a bachelors or masters or PHD. Recruiters firstly have no idea about the education system in India. Even if you state your WES equivalency, it’s not about your education, it’s about whether you have done the same job before.

In your resume, it is very important to highlight your accomplishments and support it with numbers.

For example, if you are an IT engineer, just listing “I resolved general IT problems for the staff” is not enough. State an accomplishment – “I resolved IT problems for the staff and reduced the incident count by 15% per year.”

Also in Canada, people are specialized. If your resume promotes you as a jack of all trades, it will not win any hearts of the recruiters.

For example, if you are a civil engineer and your resume states you can build and fix anything, it’s not specific enough. Look at this link to see the various job titles for civil engineers. Likewise, you can Google “Job Titles for xxxx job in Canada”

3 comments on “How to get a job in Canada for Immigrants and Newcomers”

How to get a job in Canada for Immigrants and Newcomers

Last Updated: 12th February, 2019
Are you new to Canada, or thinking of immigrating here for a job? You need to know how to get a job in Canada. Also you should know that employers here might ask if you have “Canadian Work Experience.”
This may sound like an odd question. There you are, coming from outside our country. You may have years of work experience and proper credentials from your homeland. Yet that may not be enough to convince Canadian employers of your worth.
So what is “Canadian Experience” and how can you get it (or get around it)? Read on for more.

What Do Employers Mean By “Canadian Experience?”

According to Jeffrey Lee, Employment Specialist /Practicum Coordinator at CDI College in Burnaby, British Columbia, “Employers look for Canadian workplace experience so that employees are familiar with workplace culture, social cues, and expectations.”
Since different cultures may have different ways of handling situations, “newcomers with ‘Canadian workplace experience’ are seen as being more capable of getting along with the workgroup,” adds Lee. He also notes that having your professional credentials and education authenticated here is important too.
There are other aspects to Canadian experience as well. Peter Dudka, Acting Program Manager, Transition to Employment Programs at Polycultural Immigrant & Community Services in Toronto, Ontario, points out that employers favour the following:
– Fluent English or French, depending on what province you are in. This is crucial. Accent is not an issue, but clear expression of ideas and understanding local terminology are what matter
– Local certification. Not necessarily a two year diploma or a Bachelor’s degree, but even the shortest course here that is relevant to the job will help you stand out from other job seekers
– Narrow specialization. Many newcomers instead offer (in resumes or during job interviews) wide experience and education, from which it is difficult to extract whether they can do that particular job or not.
Dudka adds to this list “the art of selling yourself, which is foreign to many newcomers in Canada. It is related to the previous point: you need to be able to clearly highlight your strengths in one particular field.”

How To Get “Canadian Experience”

No Canadian experience, no job. No job, no Canadian experience. It’s a conundrum that many thousands of newcomers face each year. Fortunately there are ways to overcome this obstacle.
Jeffrey Lee, who has helped internationally-trained professionals find employment, offers advice. “Many recent immigrants can start by volunteering with various charitable organizations, offering their expertise for a variety of projects.”
As well, Lee recommends attending a professional mentoring group where skilled immigrants are paired with local professional peers, to talk about how to prepare for entry into their desired occupation.  One such program in B.C. is from MOSAIC. He also suggests volunteering at businesses related to your profession, if they are open to this.
Peter Dudka suggests connecting with local agencies in Canada that offer free employment assistance to immigrants. “Through our agency, for example,” says Dudka, “we offer advanced English classes, work placements in Canadian companies, interview preparation courses and networking events with local employers.
If you happen to live in Quebec, you can get Canadian experience working in something called a Practice Firm. These are specially made businesses that only interact with one another. No actual money or salaries are involved. Practice Firms are training facilities that let you do specific jobs as if for real. There are 30 of these Firms in Quebec, and one in Ontario. A  list of these is available at the Canadian Practice Firms Network (CPFN).

Taking A Lower Level Job To Get “Canadian Experience”

To get your start in Canada, you may want to consider taking a lower level job here than you are used to. It could be quicker for you to get initial employment that pays less. While it may be a step down, it translates into Canadian experience. The truth is that this is a common approach for a good percentage of newcomers.

However be careful not to get stuck in a menial job that is hard to move upward from. It would be smart to consult directly with one of those local newcomer agencies mentioned above. They can advise you personally based on your circumstances and needs. Meanwhile, read Monster.ca articles on Working for Less: When It’s OK to Take a Pay Cut, and Should I Apply To A Job If I’m Overqualified?.

More About “Canadian Experience”

According to Jeffrey Lee, some industries such as IT (Information Technology, e.g. computing, software, telecommunications) may be less strict about where your experience is gained. Therefore this field might be easier to penetrate in Canada. At present, European-trained engineers may also have an easier time to get their credentials acknowledged than ones trained in Asia or the Middle East.
Other skilled immigrants can benefit from a program offered by the not-for-profit Allies, says Peter Dudka. Allies has created a National Mentoring Initiative in various cities across Canada. Mentoring offers a connection between a skilled immigrant and an established Canadian professional in the same or related occupation. It’s a way of helping skilled newcomers integrate into the workforce faster.

Working in this great country can be marvelous. There are all sorts of challenges and rewards for immigrants.

Getting your start here can be difficult, no doubt. It will make things easier if you’re prepared when the interviewer asks: “Tell us about your Canadian experience.”