At Moving2Canada, we feel that the Canadian jobs market is quite like an iceberg. Yes, you read that correctly, an iceberg! Much like the beautiful glacial structures that make their way along the east coast of Newfoundland each Spring, only about 15 percent of the total jobs in the Canadian jobs market are advertised and therefore visible to the naked eye. The other 85 percent of openings are beneath the surface, so to speak, and hidden from view unless you are willing to dig a little deeper.
And, as anyone who has seen Titanic can attest, what isn’t visible to the naked eye can often be more important than what is.
So, with that in mind, let’s look at some of the top tips for accessing the hidden jobs market in Canada, as well as advice on what you can do to maximize your chances of landing that dream job that you may not even know existed.
Three top tips for accessing the Canadian hidden jobs market
Contacting recruiters and using online jobs boards are two legitimate and recommended methods of looking for a job in Canada — indeed, we have our own recruitment agency and jobs board on Moving2Canada — but these methods sit within that ‘visible’ 15 percent.
When it comes to accessing the hidden jobs market in Canada — the other 85 percent — you will need as much perspiration as inspiration. You may encounter setbacks along the way. However, if you remain positive and focused then you have every chance of success.
To help you achieve your goal of career success in Canada, we suggest paying close attention to these three top tips:
Going straight to a prospective employer might be something that you are not accustomed to doing, but trust us, this tactic works. You will display initiative, and start the discussion off on your terms. By highlighting your strengths and how your skills and experience can help an organization or department in its goals, you also get to control the narrative and illustrate to a potential employer why you would be such a good fit. In addition, many of the positions found in the hidden jobs market in Canada are created rather than filled. This means that if you can make a compelling case why your skill-set would be a major asset to a company, you can often create a position that may not already exist. This direct approach is one that Moving2Canada Product Manager Hugo O’Doherty applied soon after he arrived in Canada.
“I first spotted Moving2Canada mentioned years ago in an Irish newspaper. I contacted the founder and told him I could do some work on spec. He was happy to get whatever fresh content he could get. A few months later, a bit of money started coming my way, and then years later — after I’d gone to work for another company for a while — I was asked to come back full-time. None of these jobs were ever advertised. It’s about identifying a business need, contacting the right person and showing the value of your skill set, and thereby increasing your own value over time.”
Being proactive and taking initiative can prove invaluable in landing your dream job in Canada. Sure, it might take time for this direct approach to yield results, but it can lead to work and, eventually, a full-time job. If you want to ensure that your initial communication hasn’t gone unnoticed, then a follow-up communication within a week is a good idea. Also, if you manage to land an interview or informal chat then make sure to send a “thank you” email to set you apart.
Don’t just network, network well
For many people the term “networking” can be a little intimidating and is often misunderstood. Some see it as little more than corporate-speak, while others view it as pointless small-talk that rarely yields tangible results. However, the reality is far different. Networking, when it’s done correctly, is an extremely beneficial use of your time. When you think about it, it’s really just talking and listening. Effective networking allows you to gain useful insights and gain crucial contacts, both socially and professionally. So, when we say you should network, we really mean you should speak to people — you never know what could come from it.
Some advice for maximizing your networking potential, we recommend that you:
- Attend relevant events related to your industry.
- Print business cards and don’t be afraid to hand them out.
- Dress to impress, but don’t overdo it.
- Arrive early and stay late.
- Leave your comfort zone and introduce yourself to people who may be able to assist you.
- Repeat names of people you meet out loud and always ask follow-up questions.
- Listen and don’t talk too much about yourself, despite the temptation to put yourself forward.
- Try to bring others into conversation and connect people with common interests.
- Follow up what you started. This is crucial. Ensure you email or call within a few days while the connection is fresh in your mind, as well as theirs.
- Maintain a list of people you meet who can help you (or maybe you can help them), including contact details and any notes on recent communication between you. A simple spreadsheet will suffice.
While this advice is useful, it’s important to remember that networking can be both formal and informal in nature. With that in mind, Hugo has kindly shared another anecdote from his early days in Montreal which demonstrates the value of networking in a more informal context:
“The first job I got in Canada was in a pub in downtown Montreal. The day before, I met a Canadian of Irish descent in a restaurant. We got chatting, and he gave me the names of all the bar managers he knew and said I could imply our friendship went a bit deeper than just one conversation. So I went in, played up my limited bartending experience and said ‘I’m Sean’s friend’, and because this opened new doors that would otherwise have been left shut, by that evening I had a new job starting later that same week.”
Hugo’s story illustrates that networking doesn’t have to be so formal, and certainly isn’t anything that should be avoided. Whether you are approaching networking formally or not, make sure to be positive, proactive, and always follow up.