Sideline

Finding a job in Canada, why is it so difficult?

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Sideline

This topic comes up so often maybe a post needs to be pinned to get it a top read.

Many immigrants are of the belief that if you have good experience why can't you just get a job? Of course having some international exposure to projects and maybe even a year or two of working overseas is a real bonus.

Canada will welcome me with open arms!

I'm so good at what I do that getting work is as simple as just applying for the best paying job (after all I want to earn a great salary if I'm going to go to all the trouble of immigrating)

With my knowledge and the fact that I speak English better than many or most other immigrants to Canada I'll find the job market a breeze to get in to.

But I have 5 degrees, why won't they want to employ me?

I can do anything, I'm very dynamic and a go getter. I have done the work of 6 people all at the same time. I must be the best candidate for the job, right?

I will literally do what ever it takes to get this job, or whatever I can to get a job similar to what I do right now!

I am so desperate to get out of here (SA) that maybe if I can just get a job, at least I'll get something to get into the market. Then I can prove myself and it will make the career that much easier.

Oh boy this is ridiculous, everyone tells me they want skilled people, there "seems" to be so much work available. I've applied to hundreds of jobs, sent out so many CV's and nothing happened.

Why can't I just even get a reply? I either get nothing or I just get an auto response rejecting me! I am so "gatvol".

That's it, if they don't want me, I'm wasting my time. I'll try New Zealand, Australia, UK, anywhere but that place (Canada), because they just are ridiculous. (But in the back of my mind I know I don't qualify for those places either, because the rules there are even worse)

Any of these sound familiar to you as the newly landed immigrant, or even worse newly decided emmigrant?

Time to educate yourself.

1st rule:

Metaphorically speaking in your job,

You can bake a chocolate chip cookie! Right?

You can make a bannana muffin? Right?

You can whip up a mean red velvet cupcake? Right?

Ok as a saffer maybe you can even create the ultimate choc chip/bananna/ red velvet Swiss roll that is to die for!

Yes as a Saffer you probably are just that dynamic and diverse and entrepreneurual to "do it all"

So I can be this "good" in Canada? After all it will make sure I am worthy. WRONG!

Canada is NOT a country of do-it-all people.

Canada is a country of extreme specialists. To such an extent that many Canadians won't/can't even change a light bulb because it is believed to be the job of a master electrician who is insured and has the license to do so.

You just don't do a job that you are not employed for!

Even as an accountant you either do auditing or accounts payable or accounts receivable or you are a controller etc. you DO NOT do all of the above. They are 4 or more specific jobs and even careers, then you even have the years of experience for seniority.

The same with Engineers. In SA you might be a civil engineer that can do all aspects of the project, from project planning through implementation, through quantity surveying etc. in Canada these are all SPECIALIZED INDIVIDUAL jobs.

Don't assume your resume (Canadaian version of a CV) must include every skill. You specialize your resume for the skills of the job you are applying for.

LEAVE ALL IRRELEVANT SKILLS / EXPERIENCE out that does not fit with the job. YOU WONT impress anyone here. They don't understand "jack of all trades" they ONLY WANT SPECIALIST people for SPECIFIC jobs, so tailor your resume to market yourself accordingly!

Sound like its a bit far fetched?

Well look at these videos, they will blow your mind and when you get "it" you will really "get" it and suddenly Canada will open those doors you need.

Canada immigration - finding work - the expose (it shows immigrants but every immigrant faces the same issues, learn the context, forget the interviewee)

Finding a job in Canada - How to make it happen

Canada - Still the land of opportunity?

Hope this helps and may this post be "pinned" and added to.

Edited by Sideline
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Jules

Very good post sideline.

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

Canada is NOT a country of do-it-all people.

Canada is a country of extreme specialists. To such an extent that many Canadians won't/can't even change a light bulb because it is believed to be the job of a master electrician who is insured and has the license to do so.

I had a good chuckle about this statement of yours. Only last week I had a maintenance person check our home for leaks etc.

I was asked if our smoke alarm works. Uhhmm, maybe not as spilled something on the stove, it burnt, caused a bit of smoke...and no, the alarm did not go off. We will now have an electrician come and check if the battery needs to be replaced. :whistling:

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

Such a good post, Sideline. :ilikeit:

I applied for a position with a newspaper once and the editor at the end of the interview told me they really like me but I am "too creative" for what they need.

Next time, I will be tjoepstil about additional stuff I can do. :holy:

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Raquel

Thank you Sideline!!! I think I get it now... :ilikeit::grad:

I think that South Africans feel "incompetent" if they cannot do multiple tasks at once - Well I feel this way in any event :badidea: something we need to just deal with I guess and become "Canadianized" should we want to be successful in Canada!

I am so glad you decided to post this - THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! :D

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PJ&Mariska

Thanks Sideline.

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MissusVeeDee

Wow...eye opener!

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Hennie vdB

Sideline, another excellent piece, thanks!

Sideline wrote: "To such an extent that many Canadians won't/can't even change a light bulb because it is believed to be the job of a master electrician who is insured and has the license to do so."

We had the same experience recently. A young SA man we know here was gifted a 220V fridge by some friends of ours that was brought over from Qatar, which still operates perfectly well on a little 110/220V transformer. Only problem was that the power cable did not have a plug. When the guy mentioned he will replace the plug, his Canadian girlfriend was extremly concerned that he is going to attempt such a dangerous job without proper training...

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KarinS

Yes, all very true. Do not ask a bricklayer to paint a wall or even knock in a nail.....you might get the line "I am not a painter!" (goodness, I am an accountant and can paint a house!) Something to get used to I guess!

Edited by KarinS

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Old Van

100% Sidey! I feel I’m probably the most skilled at failing to land a job than anybody on this forum! :lol: I know it’s not true but some days I feel like that.

I still haven’t been successful in getting a job, so y’all probably shouldn’t listen to a single word I’m saying, and it may very well be that the sole purpose of my life is to serve as a warning to others. But at least I did work for a Canadian company for 3 years and for what it’s worth this is what I’ve learned so far:

  • Dumb down your résumé, like Sidey says, they’re not looking for a dynamic self-starter. Mediocrity is what is expected and revered. :rolleyes:
  • Should you land a job, DON’T perform at a high level. They are already satisfied with their board and CEO. If you do a better job than your boss, expect to find your a$$ laid off in a hurry. :P
  • If you want to be dynamic, hardworking, entrepreneurial and ambitious (called a keener in Canada), please, please, please just be a consultant. :D
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Old Van

By the way folks, the above post is really tongue in cheek! It's not really that bad. Follow the rules and figure out the culture and you'll be fine! My most valuable advice is to go and see an career consultant or someone with local knowledge to pimp your résumé and help you with writing a cover letter. When in Rome............ :)

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

Wow...eye opener!

Welcome to the forum, guys! :cowboy:

Edited by Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell
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Nelline

Thank goodness! You had me worried!

By the way folks, the above post is really tongue in cheek! It's not really that bad. Follow the rules and figure out the culture and you'll be fine! My most valuable advice is to go and see an career consultant or someone with local knowledge to pimp your résumé and help you with writing a cover letter. When in Rome............ :)

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

Follow the rules and figure out the culture and you'll be fine! ... When in Rome............ :)

One thing that can be different in this culture, is this:

I am busy with some post-grad training in an area of counselling that I am interested in. So, this past weekend I had a 2-day workshop with fellow-socila workers, psychologists, etc. Every time we had a group exercise, we were given the following options:

1. This is the XYZ exercise. You can do it this way, if you are comfortable with doing it that way.

2. Or you can do XYZ in this manner...(whatever other way it can be done), if you are comfortable with it.

3. Or you can choose to do it in your own way.

Eventually I could not hold it in anyone and I told them that our training in SA is way more directive counselling.

When I told them how I perceive their ways, they all packed up laughing as they did not realise this kind of what we would call, indecisiveness, is so part of their culture. To Canadians, it is all about doing what's "comfortable" to you. (Except law and order of course, but even there the approach is more restorative justice whereas I think most of us grew up under a punitive/authoritative system.)

Some good stuff in their culture and if we combine it with all the good from ours, it is a winning combination!

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Raquel

One thing that can be different in this culture, is this:

I am busy with some post-grad training in an area of counselling that I am interested in. So, this past weekend I had a 2-day workshop with fellow-socila workers, psychologists, etc. Every time we had a group exercise, we were given the following options:

1. This is the XYZ exercise. You can do it this way, if you are comfortable with doing it that way.

2. Or you can do XYZ in this manner...(whatever other way it can be done), if you are comfortable with it.

3. Or you can choose to do it in your own way.

Eventually I could not hold it in anyone and I told them that our training in SA is way more directive counselling.

When I told them how I perceive their ways, they all packed up laughing as they did not realise this kind of what we would call, indecisiveness, is so part of their culture. To Canadians, it is all about doing what's "comfortable" to you. (Except law and order of course, but even there the approach is more restorative justice whereas I think most of us grew up under a punitive/authoritative system.)

Some good stuff in their culture and if we combine it with all the good from ours, it is a winning combination!

You must have been popular! :P

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Tracey22

This is all true, except for when it comes to DIY. The rule of thumb is "if you are Canadian, you can Do-It-Yourself". Home depot, Lowes, Rona are all honeypots for these husbands.

The contractors must earn a fortune fixing up what dear hubby tried to do himself. :boxing:

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canuck nick

The important thing to remember and to do is to network like crazy. Build up your connections in the industry you work in. I have been here for 7 years and now I am working for my 4th bank. 3 out of the 4 have been through someone I know in the bank. Referrals work wonders and put you right at the top of the interview pile.

LinkedIn is another powerful tool. I have been contacted by many recruiters via LinkedIn. I add them to my connections because I may need them in the future. It works both ways. I try to refer potential candidates to them as well, that way they keep me in mind in the future for other job opportunities.

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

You must have been popular! :P

You are very gracious.

They did like my accent though. :blush:

I seriously think most S.Africans are "gifted" (mmm....) when it comes to analytical and critical thinking, and being wiling to speak up.

One just has to be careful to not speak up at the wrong time or come across as a "know-it-all."

Edited by Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell
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Amberdrake

You are very gracious.

They did like my accent though. :blush:

Plus, I seriously think most S.Africans are "gifted" (mmmm....) when it comes to analytical and critical thinning, and being wiling to speak up.

One just has to be careful to not speak up at the wrong time or come acres as a "know-it-all."

I have that problem in SA as sometimes I am bit overbearing. But I do try and tone it down most of the time.

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Tracey22

The key to finding work as many have said is networking. This cannot be stressed enough. very often on bay Street, it is not what you know, but WHO you know.

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Amberdrake

The who you know is true for South Africa and I think most everywhere in world. Unfortunately I am still very new in my chosen profession and my networking is horrible.

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The Burts

I am now going to have my RANT!!! Yep I "get it" now, but I am finding it hard to network in a city where I have never been before and where you basically don't know anyone. But what Sideline has said and what was pointed out in the articles shown makes sense. But I am one of those people who have always worked my way up in all my jobs from only having a basic education ("O" levels). So I have stacks of good first hand experience, but very few actual qualifications/certifications. I don't know if it is just me but some of these threads annoy me because its nearly always about engineers, doctors, people with degrees etc., but there is still a need for us "lowly" office workers around. I went for an interview the other day and I actually asked if there was room for promotion. OMG, what was I thinking..... I guess I won't be getting that job!!! I feel so stupid now..... Guess I am going to have to go back to the drawing board and strip down my resume for each job that I apply for. I am just getting so frustrated. Rant over :angry:.

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

I am now going to have my RANT!!! Yep I "get it" now, but I am finding it hard to network in a city where I have never been before and where you basically don't know anyone. But what Sideline has said and what was pointed out in the articles shown makes sense. But I am one of those people who have always worked my way up in all my jobs from only having a basic education ("O" levels). So I have stacks of good first hand experience, but very few actual qualifications/certifications. I don't know if it is just me but some of these threads annoy me because its nearly always about engineers, doctors, people with degrees etc., but there is still a need for us "lowly" office workers around. I went for an interview the other day and I actually asked if there was room for promotion. OMG, what was I thinking..... I guess I won't be getting that job!!! I feel so stupid now..... Guess I am going to have to go back to the drawing board and strip down my resume for each job that I apply for. I am just getting so frustrated. Rant over :angry:.

What kind of job/position are you looking for? Don't give up! :)

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Sideline

Burts,

Yes I know what you mean about these "professional" references.

The information though spans ANY and ALL careers and education levels.

The primary thing that every one of us makes or made is the information overload in the now converted CV to the Canadian resume.

The resume is a SHORT TO THE POINT Summary of EXACTLY a what you offer to the job you are applying for.

It IS NOT a complete life history of every job, career, education, holiday, hobby, culinary skill, family history and pet you have ever had.

You need to GRAB THE READER IMMEDIATELY with precisely why they want to finish reading your resume. Your only goal is to select the information that is relevant to THAT job. Every skill you have that does not add or fill a need for THAT job DOES NOT belong in the resume you give to the recruiter.

ONLY EVER put the skills asked for, or as many of them as you can confidently do, on the resume you submit.

As you pointed out, another lesson learnt the hard way, don't be overly eager at first. It sounds very much like its a negative thing, but that South African "go getter" attitude isn't what any employer here wants. They DONT want someone that won't "fit in" ie the one that wants to achieve more than they need to :(

You need to be very good at the job, but not the one that wants to take over the bosses job (your question about advancement/ promotion). It's a HUGE THREAT to people. Some people have done the same job for many many years and they are happy (well comfortable more like it. They will complain bitterly about many things, but they won't ever really want to change or do something about it).

You see it's a mindset of knowing that you will do the job you are doing until one of two things happens. You either get promoted (probably because you have been there long enough, and every so often you showed a mild interest to "do more") or you find a better paying job elsewhere. You must never be a threat to the person/people around you at work or else you become a "bad fit".

It's totally against the Saffer nature, but it's vitaly important to understand when starting out. As soon as you can prove you work hard and actually know more than you put forward, the company quickly recognizes you. Then suddenly you become a valuable asset and they can't afford to loose you. Most often you will be taken advantage of and will work for peanuts. But prove yourself and then when you choose to leave because they won't recognize your skills, you will suddenly become the hottest thing and they will throw money and opportunity at you. It's probably to late by then, but you've achieved that "Canadian experience" and the world is now your Oyster.

Good luck with your job hunt :)

Please note a lot of what I say above is the way I see it and have seen it. It's seldom discussed openly and almost NEVER admitted, but it is the truth :P

Edited by Sideline
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Old Van

I had my regular appointment with my job counsellor today, and man oh man! We really need a serious "culture adjustment" before we'll be successful. Like it or not, what Sidey said is so true. You really want to balance your enthusiasm! And remember the place is full of specialists! Don't ask a hot water faucet washer screw specialist to change the washer screw in your cold water faucet. :D

Today the Skills-connect counsellor told me (I had an suspicion) that there's a big disconnect between what immigration believes to be a skills shortage and what the market actually dictates. This is NOT an attempt to put anybody off, please! But I realized today sitting in a room full of immigrants also looking for jobs that if my chances were slim and I was having difficulty I'm almost certain they are SOL! :) My reason? Well except for one Serbian guy, they all have to learn to speak proper (or at least understandable) English first!

We tend to think "I'll get hired for sure because, hell! I'm an honest, ethical, hard working South African go getter!". Most of the time that is not a "good fit". :rolleyes: Aim to appear confident but DON'T come across as being too assertive and definitely NOT aggressive!

So my advice is: Reach as many people and apply for as many positions as possible. It is like trying to be a car salesman in that only 7% of the people you speak to will actually buy a car from you. I think with job hunting the % is lower, so you need to reach pretty much everybody you possibly can in your fraternity to maximise your chances of getting "in".

Perseverance is key here people!

And should all of the above advice fail, we'll start a new colony. :P

Edited by Old Van
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