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  1. Piper

    "Team W" takes Canada, July 2017

    Hi All This is just a quick post regarding our current moving madness! Job hunting background We got our CoPR on 6 December 2016. Due to personal circumstances and having good employment in SA we only decided to start job hunting from SA in early to mid May 2017. As my DH said; "let's not eat into our pension funds and saving accounts. Let us not commit financial suicide." We both were "lucky" and received multiple offers in about a month. We are flying in less than 2 weeks! I was asked by @SunshineGirl to write some tips from my personal experience. I do not think that we are "lucky", "special", "an exception" or "big fish" at all. On the contrary! We are in our mid to late 20s with little experience. I do however think that we did our due diligence and put in a lot of hard work and effort. My DH does not follow these forums or the FB page and he never had the "it is basically impossible" attitude as is often insinuated on these platforms. On the contrary; he decided on our behalf that we will make it work from SA. I also wish to start a family upon arrival, so we really needed to be as financially secure as possible upon landing. I need to start work ASAP in order to qualify for maternity benefits. The following is just my personal opinion. I am not a recruiter, an agent or a lawyer. I have no commercial affiliation to any immigration or recruitment firms. In fact; I love cutting the middle-man out. ;-) Approach to finding employment/ doing an application: We started in only Ottawa and Montreal as these cities are our first preferences for various reasons. We are heading to Montreal as that is where I got the best offer. I started by contacting some recruitment agencies. None of them came back to me or even acknowledged receipt of my resume. My DH did however get a lot of traction from recruitment agencies. It seems that this is industry-specific as we are in completely separate industries. I however found that the professional body with which I will register in Canada has a job board and I found various employment opportunities on there that was in line with my profile and what I was interested in doing. I personally found to be very helpful. They list jobs for all walks of life and is generally a summary of all of the other websites. in some instance take you to the organization's job portal directly. If this generally happens be prepared to fill in an application similar to the Express Entry profile. (Oh what fun, but at least I've had good practice and everything is already saved in an Excel spreadsheet so I just copy it over.) Large organizations generally require a huge amount of information. This includes your full qualifications, employment history, a motivation as well as a lot of security questions and in some instances a voluntary demographic section. It can easily take up to an hour to fill this in properly. After I came across a few of these I decided that "quality over quantity" will be my approach. I did about 20 thorough applications as opposed to the South African "scatter-gun" approach of sending out 200 CVs left, right and centre. Resume & Cover letter tips: Oh boy, have I seen some terrible resumes from South Africans who are extremely highly qualified! As there has been multiple posts on this topic I will not write an essay here, but in my opinion this is where things go a bit pear-shaped for Saffas. I benefited a lot from soliciting critical advice from a lady in Canada in exactly the same industry as myself. She has over 40 years of experience and she gave me some pretty good critique. My dad has an IT firm in Canada and I spent about a day with the one HR lady to iterate my resume further. It is crucial that your resume lists your accomplishments and not your generic job duties. Furthermore; it needs to be concise, legible and neat. Every square cm on that page is an important piece of real estate. Optimize what you put on there! Do not submit a resume longer than 2 pages. Your "third" page will have a list of contactable references. Please note; since you are a foreign worker your references will most probably be contacted. (Mine and my husband's were contacted.) Your resume and cover letter needs to be aligned to each and every position that you apply for. As an side to those paying someone to find employment on your behalf: I am not sure how someone applying for employment on your behalf can do this? Please share? Interviews (personal experience): All of my interviews were Skype interviews. I made it known that I am more than willing to fly over at any stage. At one stage a company wanted me to do it, but they then continued with Skype interviews instead. The first interview is generally just with HR. It is merely an informal discussion about the role, your expectations, their expectations and your availability. The second and even third interview will then be "the" interview. With the offer that I accepted my fourth interview was a "meet the team" interview. As I manage projects, I felt that this was very nice from the organization that some colleagues who will work beside and even below me had a say in whether I was going to be made and offer. I did not in any interviews feel that I was discriminated against as my qualifications were foreign. In fact; I was told in multiple interviews that it is in fact in my advantage to be from South Africa as the organization wants to portray more diversity and inclusion in their staff complement. I was however asked multiple times to submit my WES certificate. Large organizations are therefore somewhat familiar with the immigration process. My WES certificate lists my full education background from matric to postgraduate degrees (all inclusive). Offers (personal experience): If you are being asked your CoPR document, you can safely assume that an employment offer is coming your way within the next 24 hours. I found it very "Canadian" and friendly that the offer that I accepted had a separate sheet that I had to sign and fill in my own start date. This gave me about 7-8 weeks to wrap up in SA and to settle in Canada prior to jumping into full-time employment on that side. Flights We are flying British Airways. JHB to London Heathrow to NYC to Montreal. I have organized to take an additional bag of clothes (at an additional cost of course) as I will need it, especially as my new employer seems to require formal attire. We will explore NYC a bit during our layover. (We have US visas.) It will be so cool to be there again as part of our honeymoon was spent there. It seems as if our lives have come full circle! We will also have 3 weeks in Canada prior to going back to work. Luckily we will be on paid leave from our employers in SA as we never took a break over December 2016. petPORT - My cat The day I adopted my rescue cat from a shelter I promised him that we will never abandon him. My beautiful only child will be fetched this Friday by petPORT. We had to measure him so that a specialized crate is built for him. (We measured him while our house was on show and we got quite a few giggles, needless to say!) Although we are only flying next weekend, I have decided that it is best that he no longer lives in our house based on the fact that it is total chaos and he is constantly stressed with all of the strangers coming and going with the packing. He will be flying KLM to Amsterdam and we will fetch him in Montreal a few days after we have arrived as we will still need to activate the electricity in our new apartment. Our new apartment has a cat and dog park which is pretty awesome. The initial quote was R10 000, but it will be more now as we moved the date that he will be fetched from us a bit sooner. I feel that this is extremely reasonable and I have absolutely no qualms in paying this for my precious kitten. Container We are busy packing and purging like crazy. We have decided on Biddulphs. The final quote will only be given once everything is packed. That is all for now!