The Canadian job market is completely unique, almost certainly different from the job market in your home country.  Even newcomers who had tons of career success in their home country sometimes struggle to transition to the realities of working life in Canada.

You don’t need to be among them.

Instead, and with a bit of help, you can better understand the Canadian job market before you arrive. This way, you’ll be primed for success in your new home.

This piece is published in partnership with Canada InfoNet — a free, IRCC-funded employment program designed for internationally trained individuals relocating to Canada in the next 12 months. Start by registering here.

First: you, the professional

If Canada has approved your immigration application or invited you to apply, it probably means that you have already achieved some success in your career so far. After all, experience in a skilled occupation, together with higher education and strong English or French language ability, is often the bedrock of a successful Canadian immigration application.

However, what you have learned and experienced in your career to date may not be sufficient groundwork to make your move to Canada the great success you want or expect it to be. This can be especially true if you’ve been working for a large company, like a multinational corporation. Although these companies often have branches in Canada, the Canadian jobs market is dominated by smaller players — and this could impact your career.

In Canada, small business is big

Canada’s job market is different. More than 90 percent of businesses in Canada are small- and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs. In 2019, these small businesses employed nearly 70 percent of private sector workers in Canada.

If you thought your career in Canada would look more or less like your career to date, only with a snowier commute, think again. Everything is different with SMEs, including recruitment, onboarding, and workplace culture.

So, how can you navigate Canada’s job market?

When someone outside Canada is approved to immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident, they are invited by the government to use pre-arrival services to prepare them for the Canadian job market.

These government-funded employment support programs are tailored to your specific needs as an imminent newcomer, taking into account your industry, destination, and other factors.

Incredibly, most immigrants-to-be either ignore or don’t notice this opportunity to connect with employment experts in Canada pre-arrival. Whatever the case, approved immigrants who don’t take advantage of these services are missing out on a big opportunity to save time and stress, and to find the right job opportunity faster.

One of these pre-arrival programs, Canada InfoNet, focuses on the employment goals of internationally trained professionals by providing relevant and timely information about the unique aspects of the Canadian job market and how to conduct a job search in Canada. Their wide range of employment services (offered in English or French) include a mix of one-on-one coaching and online learning:

  • Help with career orienting and job search strategy from dedicated, experienced career professionals.
  • Canada-specific resume building.
  • Online e-learning specific to job searching in Canada.
  • An industry-specific online mentor in Canada.
  • Sessions on important skills for Canada, such as business communication and customer service.
  • Job matching with leading employers.
  • Industry-geared webinars and information sessions from experts.

From this, you can also expect to gain confidence with networking, giving you the keys to unlock Canada’s hidden job market.

Canadian job market

The hidden Canadian job market

Competition for jobs in Canada can be immense, so how do you gain a competitive edge? If your strategy is to scroll through Indeed or similar job listing sites and fire off your resume to dozens of employers hiring, you’ll need to up your game. Heaps of unanswered resumes can have a huge impact on your confidence and self-esteem.

Only a fraction of all hiring activity comes directly from job postings, with the majority of recruitment resulting from internal hiring, headhunters and recruiters, and networking — with networking by far the biggest driver of hiring. The bulk of SME jobs don’t get posted, so you need to go looking for them.

It’s critical to be prepared for the changing needs of the employment sector in Canada. Pre-arrival services such as those offered by Canada InfoNet can help you with this in-depth preparation.

Can I apply for jobs from outside Canada?

Yes! Especially if you are already approved for immigration to Canada.

You won’t be able to actually be paid until you get a Social Insurance Number (SIN), which will be near the top of your to-do list on arrival in Canada. But, you can certainly leverage the networking skills you’re learning, send targeted applications, and interview. Who knows — you might virtually shake hands on a job in Canada with your new employer, or even start onboarding into the role before you arrive.

Register for pre-arrival services

By now, you should understand the benefits of pre-arrival employment support, especially if it’s supported and funded by the Canadian government. After all, these are the same folks who approve your immigration application, and they want your move to be a big success.

Kick-start your career in Canada by registering with Canada InfoNet here.