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Seven days out from beginning our Canadian dream last March, the Canadian government banned foreign entry indefinitely. To say our 2020 plans were completely shattered is an understatement.

Cam (my boyfriend) and I had been approved to land in Canada and activate our International Experience Canada (IEC) work permits, but now we could not travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, in early May we were delighted to see that with a job offer we could enter Canada, especially as my Cam’s approval letter was expiring within a month!

But how on earth do you get a job in Canada during a recession as a foreigner when you’re not even in the country?!

To our surprise, we received job offers on the spot within 48 hours of applying. As an ex-corporate junkie turned globe-trotting freelance writer, I’ve seen thousands of resumes. So, I’ve learned a thing or two about nailing down that perfect job. I want you to have that crisp letter of employment in your hands, too. Landing a job doesn’t only bring joy, greater financial security, and hopefully career progression — in the age of COVID-19, it’s also your ticket to Canada.

Make your cover letter employer-centric

Believe it or not, “pls hire me, I need to get into Canada ASAP” isn’t a successful line to send prospective employers. You need to share why you’re the solution that they’ve been looking for, focusing on what you’ll do for them and not the other way around. The easiest ways to do that are:

  • ALWAYS write a cover letter;
  • Include keywords from the job description in the cover letter;
  • Include those same words as your key skills in your resume; and
  • Alter your resume objective to the same purpose as the employer.

If your future employer wants clerical staff with impeccable attention to detail, then you better make sure that you include that you have incredible attention to detail. And back it up by making sure you have zero typos.

The video below shows you how to tailor your cover letter to the job and make it all about what the employer wants in their next new hire.

Anticipate the Hiring Manager’s questions

What made us successful in our job search was putting ourselves in the employer’s shoes. I asked Cam the exact same questions that his would-be employer asked in a mock-interview with him beforehand (these are shared in the video). What might their main concerns be about hiring you?

Here are some typical idea starters:

  • Talk me through your resume to date.
  • Why should we hire you over someone who has more relevant experience?
  • What’s your biggest weakness in the workplace?
  • Why should I hire you over someone ready to go?
  • What’s your two-year plan?

Really blow their socks off with these creative ideas

You’ve got to risk it to get the biscuit! These ideas are high risk but high reward, and the first idea is what got me a job on the spot within 48 hours of applying.

Idea #1: Create a video cover letter

In my time as a Cabin Crew Team Manager, and as a Leadership Consultant, I never had an applicant do this. So, I thought, “why not?” In the vlog, you’ll see the specific structure I followed to ensure my success. Think about the HUNDREDS of applications hiring managers are receiving daily. Make yours stand out.

This idea may work better for client-facing roles that require a less formal approach. You’ll have to be the judge on whether a video cover letter may fit your target job and your style. Cover videos are not for everyone, and not for every industry.

Idea #2: Cold pitch businesses in your industry

Back in February, when systems were “all go” for our move to Canada, I couldn’t find my perfect job on Indeed. So, I cold-emailed functional training studios with the subject, “Could I be your next superstar trainer?!” As a business owner, it’s hard to not click on that.

Out of the five studios that I emailed, I received four offers to interview back in February. If I had not found a job within 48 hours, I would have slid back into these employers’ inboxes as they had already shown a clear interest in me (see the responses below). In fact, sliding into an employer’s inbox is exactly how Cam received his job!

Idea #3: Stay in touch, and don’t let any opportunities go to waste

Cam nailed his job by making the most of every opportunity he had. In February, before our initial plans fell through, he was successful for an in-person interview with a company in an industry that he had no experience in. After that in-person interview was no-more, he remained in touch with the employer anyway.

Throughout his lockdown period, he kept the employer updated on why he couldn’t enter Canada. So when he needed a job offer to enter, do you think they welcomed a virtual interview? Of course they did! He had already demonstrated his dedication and communication skills throughout the lockdown period.

There are also a few tried and trusted tactics that should be part of anyone’s job-seeking tool kit:

Share your success stories! (Or your challenges)

I know it may seem overwhelming and maybe even unfair right now, but it is possible to get that dream job in Canada so that you can live your best Canadian life! Share your success stories in the comments section of the videos or on the IEC forum to help as many of us get to Canada on our IEC visas. If you need any further career or resume help, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

About Lori

Lori Lee
Lori is a corporate junkie turned globe-trotting freelancer. She helps others create their dream life and body as a health and leadership coach. Her mission is to help others break free of their limiting beliefs and to become unapologetically themselves. To see more of her work on health, career, and fitness blogs, check out her website.

About the author

Hugo O'Doherty profile picture

Hugo O'Doherty

Canadian Immigration & Integration Specialist
Hugo O’Doherty has over a decade of experience and research in Canadian immigration, establishing him as a recognized authority on immigrant integration and adaptation. His personal and professional experiences with immigration have made him an expert on the practical aspects of successfully moving to and settling in Canada.
Read more about Hugo O'Doherty
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