BlogGetting Canadian work experience: An employer’s perspective

23 November 2022

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Canadian work experience is often the key necessity to qualifying for permanent residence in Canada. While several other features are important – such as foreign education and foreign work experience along with language proficiency, Canadian work experience is highly significant. Having practiced immigration law for over 30 years and employed many new and aspiring Canadian immigrants, I would like to share my observations. Currently, many Canadian businesses are struggling to find workers and our office is no exception. We are frequently searching for office administrators and/or legal assistants – two occupations that are amongst the most common as the basis for applying for permanent residence. As an employer and immigration lawyer, I would like to provide some insights to securing that vital Canadian employment on your immigration journey.

Write the Right Resume

A resume is important. It is the first opportunity for an employer to get an insight into who you are and what your skill set is. It is your first impression – so you need to get it right! Different occupations call for different skill sets. But for an office environment in positions such as office administrator or administrative assistant, writing skills are essential. Be sure to tailor your resume to the occupation that you are applying for. Spelling and punctuation mistakes are likely fatal to securing an interview. Submitting a resume for an administrative assistant position but highlighting your desire to secure employment as a translator does not fit. And featuring your experience as a truck driver or dental technician is equally not helpful. If you don’t have suitable or relevant experience for the position, don’t expect a call back from a prospective employer. Save your efforts for an appropriate position.

Dress the Part

If you are invited to an interview, dress appropriately for the position that you are applying for. The attire for a construction worker is not likely the same as for an office assistant role. If you are an aspiring office professional, wearing jeans, sweatpants and/or running shoes is not likely going to make a positive impression.

Work Towards Language Proficiency

One of the biggest obstacles to securing a job in Canada, is the inability to communicate in either English or French. From the time you arrive in Canada, if not before, your focus should be on improving your language skills so that you can perform

a job effectively. Speaking English at school or at work, and then speaking your native language when you go home, is going to hold you back in improving your communication skills. In addition to limiting your job prospects, poor language skills will also adversely affect your likelihood of qualifying for permanent residence. Immerse yourself in English or French to assist you not only with your job opportunities, but also with your immigration goals.

Improve your skill set

Employers need workers who can hit the ground running. Be sure that you possess the necessary skills for the position that you are applying for. If you are seeking to work in an office then speedy typing skills and strong knowledge of software programs is essential. Not a lot of employers have the time or patience to provide training in these basic skills. Advance preparation goes a long way in developing the skills that you will need for the job that you are seeking. Also, save time for yourself and prospective employers, and only apply for those jobs that you are qualified for.

Conclusion

As an Immigration lawyer, I tell my clients daily that Canadian work experience is generally vital to be able to qualify for permanent residence in Canada. As an employee, you are well advised to become familiar with the local standards and expectations of employers in the sector that you are seeking employment in. Impressions matter – starting with your resume and continuing with the interview. Be prepared. New and aspiring immigrants often find securing a job in Canada to be a challenging experience.

About the Author

Sas and Ing Immigration Law Centre LLP

A partnership between Catherine Sas Law Corporation and Victor Ing Law Corporation

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About the Author