How to find your first job in Canada

A hearty Congratulations to all who have made a decision of moving to Canada. You need to have the basic resource and must know what you have for the recruiters to pick you for a particular position. You are all charged up and ready to join the workforce but let’s get real and understand the fact that, you can’t seem to get anywhere without the elusive ‘Canadian Experience’. That can be a bit of a downer when you step out to find your first Canadian job.

Not all get a job of their dream in the first go, here is an article which will give you a feel of first-hand experience of efforts you need to take to get your break into the Canadian Job Market. If you are moving to Canada (or planning to) and plan to look for a job here, here is what to expect.

So if you need help with your particular case, please approach ,this article will possibly benefit someone going through a similar process. The article has been presented in a question answer format to make it more understandable.

How do I find a job in Canada?

Getting a job in Canada is heavily reference based. What that means is that you need to have a strong network of people willing to refer you to the hiring team. For new-comers to Canada it seems a bit difficult since they don’t know many people professionally. But due to websites and portals for job like its always easy to at least start finding the opportunities or create connections.

In Canada the most astonishing and basic job finding rule is whatever openings you see online is probably 30% of the actual job market. the other 60-70% is filled up through references. Through people asking other employees, if they know someone good for a certain profile. That is why if you approach people for reference they will be happy to help, learning the skill of approaching and building connection in necessary.

Even if someone might find themselves on their own, there is no lack of opportunities available to you. Here are few things that will help.

  • You should tap into your alumni network and reach out to people in your favourite industry. Believe us when we say that there are many willing to help you, guide you and even refer you to a job if you approach nicely. The alumni network will become your first group of friends in a new land and almost like a family away from home.


  • As you would appreciate, the coveted referrals would work best if they are coming from a person with whom you have built a relation. If you had an opening in your team, and your boss asked for a referral; would you recommend a stranger OR would you recommend someone you know? So, build connections, meet people and make more friends. Invest some time here since it takes time to build a relation. Not only with the expectation that they will help you find a job, but also to make lasting connections in a new country. It will make your life, well, lively.


  • Keep your resume and LinkedIn profile updated. This is important as it is necessary for recruiters. Settlement agencies like ours can help you polish your interview skills and Canadian-ize your resume and even help you come face to face with a recruiter. Rest is up to you. Try Access Employment for starters.


  1. How long will it take for me to find a job?

The hiring process in Canada is slow, with interviews and tests stretched across 2-3 months. Some average candidate interviewed with a company for nearly 75 days with 4 rounds of interviews, 3 written tests and a video call where they were monitored while solving 50 questions in 12 minutes. So, it is typical for the first job search to take up to 6-8 months. Some have gotten it faster, while some people have gone much longer without a job. These are people with Master’s from IIMs with 10-15 years of experience in their domain.

Hence, it is critical that you are able to support yourself through that period financially and keep yourself abreast professionally by networking with the right people. This is where the concept of ‘survival jobs’ comes in. That is a Plan-B job that you would do to keep your house running, while you work towards your Plan-A.

This might be little overwhelming for new-comers as they are worried about the ‘horrible, no good’ implications this might have on their resume. However, this is where you have immunity provided by the world famous ‘Dignity of Labor’ in Canada. Which basically means that your ‘survival job’ will not be frowned upon when you decide to apply for your Plan-A jobs. Go Canada!

  1. Are Canadians Recruiters nice? 

Of-course they are. A few negative stories aside, people are courteous, polite and downright helpful. Recruiters have reached out to you and help you customize your resume and even given you pointers on the interviewing manager etc. The general perception of Canadians is safe even in the recruitment world as well.

  • Can I apply for a job even when I haven’t ‘landed’ yet OR haven’t graduated yet? 

Yes, you can by all means. But be aware that most applications would ask you for a work permit or a permanent residence proof. So, that should be your priority. Don’t waste your or anyone else’s time before that. New graduates should start earlier since most big companies open their intern and management trainee positions pretty early. You can find more about that on the world wide web.

  1. Which is the best city / province to live in?

Toronto (GTA), Vancouver and to some extent Montreal and Ottawa. Most immigrants are moving to these mega cities at a time when local Canadians are migrating to these urban centers from smaller cities and rural towns themselves. So what is right for you? The catch is, smaller towns would help you get settled much faster. Try Edmonton, Calgary, Fredericton and the likes. These are charming cities which are also growing in economic stature. They are more affordable and offer a simpler living compared to the hustle-bustle of GTA or Vancouver, and you will probably find your first job much faster.

  1. Should I take up anyjob to get my foot in the door? OR should I wait for the right opportunity commensurate to my experience? 

This is the most important question and confusing for people who are out in the market for search of a job but can’t decide for what to do first take what comes handy or go for professional job whatsoever. This is so subjective in its nature and depends on your financial situation, the gap you have had since your last job, how big is the compromise and how confident are you of the next opportunity opening its door soon. And these are just a few of the factors to consider.

So, finally we face the actual question: “How keen are you to start?” We have had success stories and failures on both ends of the spectrum. It’s always a plus point if you are prepared for everything and expect always the best with a “everything will finally workout attitude”, it’s all about calculated risks and making your dream come true, wish you the very best in finding your first Canadian experience!

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