Update : July 22, 2021
Applying for a job can be a difficult process for newcomers. Anaïs Otta, an operations manager for an executive search firm, goes over the process step by step and gives you job search advice that is in line with the immigrant reality.
Gain Quebec experience to build your career
Are you just starting your job search? Here are two tips to help you start the process with clarity and patience.
Finding your first job takes time
Remember this, and don’t panic if you haven’t gotten an interview in the first few weeks. The average time for newcomers to find a job is six months. Although this may seem long, keep a positive attitude and get involved in a cause or nonprofit. This is an excellent way to get experience in your target area, as you can develop transferable skills for future positions. You can also get valuable references that recruiters want.
Idea for resources:
The Sector Gateway program : The objective of this free innovative recruitment approach is to accelerate the integration of immigrants into the Montréal labour market
Your specialization is an asset that you can develop in Quebec
You are no doubt qualified, but your specialization probably relates to the country where you earned your degree. For example, in the engineering field, construction standards and materials differ from country to country. In Quebec, an order oversees the profession, and you need to be a member to hold the title of engineer.
What does this mean? That some of your skills are transferable, while others aren’t. When you're specialized, you may need to let go of the idea of staying at the same seniority level when you change sectors. Don’t see this as a career setback: instead, think of it as a necessary step to get the skills recruiters want. And that’s exciting! Given that you’re already experiencing a major change in your life by being in a new country, getting specific training or going down a seniority level will give you time to better understand your new society and get comfortable with the job market.
Breaking into the Quebec job market: a few tips
Are you ready to apply to your first job postings? Great! Here are some basic tips to make your resume stand out and get through your interviews with flying colours (these tips can also help anyone looking for a job, not just newcomers).
For a solid resume, use the company’s language!
Apply for the right job
If you have 60% of the required skills, apply. And take the time to analyze the described tasks and responsibilities. Don’t just go by the title, as this doesn’t always reflect the actual position.
Adapt your resume to the company’s language
A good resume uses the company's own language. Identify terms like required skills, action verbs and sector keywords and include these in your resume if they match your experience. Why? Because recruiters use screening software to find these terms and combination keywords. The system will then identify the candidates with these skills and competencies.
You should also have your foreign credentials assessed. Unfortunately, few recruiters have the resources or time to check whether your education meets the requirements.
Send your resume in a timely manner and follow up afterward
In specialized recruitment companies, the application process happens quickly: good profiles are kept during the first posting week. Be proactive to put all chances on your side.
Follow up 24 hours later by email. And yes, email is better! Imagine the number of calls that recruiters get! In a few short lines, mention the job you applied for and explain why you are right for the position because of your technical or management skills or relevant achievements. Finish with your contact information.
Ace your interview
Did you spend a lot of time on your resume? Most of your work is done. Good job! Just like recruiters who use a list of skills to create a job profile, you did the reverse exercise by breaking down your experience based on the required skills in order to apply for the job.
On the big day, don’t forget to:
Look the part. Adapt what you wear to the company you are targeting. Some web research will give you a good idea of what is standard attire at the organization. The best thing is to dress conservatively and professionally.
Understand your interviewer’s attitude. Example one: Is the person in charge of recruitment very friendly with you? Do you quickly feel comfortable and able to confide in the person? Recruiters may use this pleasant attitude to get as much information as possible.
Example two: Does the recruiter seem aggressive? Don’t take it personally. On the contrary, this attitude means that the position comes with pressure. The right question to ask at the end of the interview is, “Do I see myself in this job?”
Above all, avoid:
Being too familiar with people. Unless someone says “Call me Anne,” stick to “Ms. Jones.” The same goes for all professional conversations on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn.
Exaggeration. Recruiters can see through this very quickly. Be honest.
Selective listening. Pay attention to the interviewer’s questions. These are specific and require specific answers too.
At the end of the process, stay confident!
Even with a high-quality resume and good experience, you may still not get a positive response from employers. This IN NO WAY means you aren’t valuable. It just means that, unfortunately, your profile wasn’t the best match for the position.
You should maintain good relationships with recruiters: thank them and remind them that you’re open to other opportunities. The next job may be THE ONE!
One last tip: Moving to a foreign country is a new start. Why not take the opportunity to do a career assessment test? This will help you pinpoint your technical skills and give you a clear understanding of your value in the job market.