Landing a full-time job in marketing after immigrating to Canada is quite challenging for many newcomers. Their foreign credentials and extensive international work experience might not resonate with the requirements local employers are looking for.
Apart from the professional difficulties new Canadians face upon their arrival, there are many others: lack of connections, language, and culture. It takes time to find new friends, improve speaking and writing skills, and understand local values and norms.
Reading about the country where you’re planning to settle down is crucial, but going through this journey without any support is tough. That’s why some newcomers decide to find a mentor or join a mentorship program to help establish or re-launch their careers and empower their leadership potential.
In this article, we shed some light on how to make your professional integration into Canada’s job market fast, smooth, and stress-free.
Step out of your comfort zone
After moving to a new country, some people realize they are not as fluent in English as they expected. It’s absolutely normal as speaking and writing skills improve gradually as long as you practice them on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, some of the newcomers get stuck at this point by staying in their comfort zone and limiting interactions with English-speaking communities.
To get through this challenging stage, try to find a friend – an informal mentor – with a high level of English proficiency who can help you express your thoughts and ideas and facilitate your integration process.
If you don’t know where to start from, try to find various volunteer opportunities that resonate with your professional skills. It can help you find new friends, get some local experience, enrich your vocabulary, and polish your speaking skills.
Start online and offline networking
Modern digital technologies provide newcomers with plenty of networking opportunities. Feel free to engage with local professionals through LinkedIn to understand what skills are in demand, keep an eye open for job opportunities, and arrange online or in-person coffee chats.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has made in-person meetings almost impossible, 15-minute Zoom chats are good alternatives to them. The only recommendation is to make virtual meetings as human as possible and do your best to continue interactions afterwards. As online networking is more about informal mentoring, it’s expected that a mentee will take the lead and initiate the next meeting or phone call.
If you don’t know where to start from, search for people from your online or offline community. It could be your former colleagues, classmates, friends of your friends, or immigrants from the same country or region.
Join a mentorship program
Though Canada doesn’t have many organizations providing newcomers with mentorship opportunities, there are some, for instance, the AMA Toronto Mentor Exchange program, ACCES Employment, and the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). These organizations have a wide network of experienced local professionals who are willing to help newcomers learn more about the job market and adjust their hard and soft skills to the new environment. Some of the mentors are immigrants themselves who have experienced similar challenges and can empathize with your situation.
Aside from professional mentorship programs for marketing, accounting, and legal professionals, there are also many groups empowering women by helping them find a female mentor.
Do some research to find the organizations helping new Canadians and feel free to reach out to them to explore their services or programs. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if it’s necessary.
Set your expectations
Working with a mentor, you’ll need to assume some responsibilities and focus on your expectations. It’s better to know precisely what you’d like to achieve through these relationships.
If you’re involved in a formal mentorship program, then be prepared to plan every meeting. Don’t hesitate to share your high-level goals and short-term objectives with your mentor. Ask specific questions to ensure the meetings are engaging and efficient.
If your job search doesn’t bring any results, try to hire a recruitment consultant who can help you with polishing your resume and practicing interview skills. However, pay attention to their area of expertise and track record of successfully placing newcomers.
Job hunting is never easy and takes time and a lot of attention. If you’d like to learn more about mentorship, check out this podcast episode of Immigrants of Toronto – The Value of Mentorship. Alan C. Middleton, a long-time mentor at AMA Toronto’s Mentor Exchange and the author of “Mentorship Matters: Now More Than Ever!” shares his in-depth advice on how mentorship can facilitate your job search and integration process.
Elvina Bulatova is an internationally-trained marketing and communications professional who often writes about the challenges new Canadians encounter. As AMA Toronto’s PR Manager, she helps newcomers learn more about the association’s mentorship opportunities by managing media relations and creating on-topic content. Elvina has over nine years of experience, including managing global campaigns in the sustainability industry.