Job Search Tips for Newcomers

Image of Canadian FlagWorking in Canada

Getting a work permit is your first step in your job search. To find information on how to secure a work permit, check work permits for students on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website or go to the Office of Intercultural Affairs for more information on the application process and different permits you may need. 

For many different types of work, you may not actually need a work permit. CIC has a full list of positions where a work permit is not required.

Immigrating to Canada Post Graduation

Becoming Canadian: Canadian Experience Class Students produced by the Government of Canada, can provide you with information on the application process and the forms required to immigrate to Canada.

The Canadian Job Search Process

If you are planning to stay in Canada, it is important to gain Canadian work experience. We recommend finding opportunities starting in your first year. Look for, or create positions through volunteering, internships or co-operative education.

Companies start seeking graduates for full time employment upon graduation early in the fall semester. Plan to get your employment documentation and work permit in order early and check Recruit Guelph often for opportunities.

Labour market research is essential in locating opportunities and understanding trends in employment throughout Canada. The Government of Canada has developed Working in Canada to provide you with invaluable information about labour market trends, educational requirements and salary reports.

Barriers to Employment

The main barriers for international students obtaining jobs in Canada are:

  1. Foreign Credential Recognition - WES and ICAS are two well known organizations that offer credential assessments. For more information on obtaining foreign credential recognition, contact the Foreign Credentials Referral Office.

  2. Language Skills - Being fluent not only encompasses the technical skills to be able to read, write or speak a language, but also the cultural knowledge to understand phrases or expressions that may be unique to the culture of Canada. You have many opportunities while studying to learn these important skills. Join a student club, sit on committees, get involved in the community and develop friendships with native speaking English or French students. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will become with the use of your language skills

  3. Lack of Canadian Work Experience - Consider working in a related job in your field so that you can continue to learn about your profession or industry. Be prepared to accept entry level positions in the field of choice, so that you can establish yourself in Canada.

Marketing Youself to Employers

You are in a position to offer employers unique skills and abilities that will be beneficial to their workplace. Some of these include:

  • Cross cultural awareness
  • Multi-lingual abilities
  • Broadened perspectives
  • Knowledge of international aspects of specific field of work 

When speaking with employers or developing your resume or cover letter, speak about these diverse skills and your value beyond your credentials. Show how the skills you bring can help the company achieve its goals.