Thursday, September 2, 2010

10 Job Networking Strategies to Consider if You're a Newcomer to Canada

Newcomers to Canada frequently ask me how to get a job in their field. I wish I had a magic formula. You found your way to Canada. I'm sure it wasn't easy. You bring with you a treasure trove of knowledge, experience and potential. You also bring a determination to make a contribution and a fresh perspective that our economy needs.

I've seen countless people succeed in the same situation that you find yourself in now. So it is with sincere admiration that I offer these suggestions. I trust that you will find your way to the work experience you are seeking. And in the process you will enrich your community.

I talk to many newcomers who are established as highly-demanded professionals in their field. Usually I'm trying to recruit them for a job. At least 70% of our placements are people who've immigrated to Canada. How did they do it? Luck? Connections? A well written resume? Here are a few ideas you could consider in your quest to jump start the next leg of your career.

  1. Reach out to people you know who've come to Canada and landed in good jobs. Ask them how the did it.
  2. Informational interviews. Arrange to meet with people who are currently working in your field, not to ask for a job, but to ask for advice on how to break into the marketplace.
  3. Participate in blogs and usergroups in your field. Make comments. Answer questions. Provide technical advice. Seek out opportunities to demonstrate your expertise and help others.
  4. Mine LinkedIn. Complete your LinkedIn profile including a friendly photo. Network to find others on LinkedIn that you might know through a friend. Link to your personal blog/website or portfolio from your profile. Join special interest groups that are related to you field. Participate actively by starting discussions and commenting on other people's discussions. Promote others.
  5. Participate in professional networking events like camps and meetups to get to know people working in your field.
  6. Offer a free trial run of your services (aka volunteer work or and an internship) to entice people to give you a chance. This creates a Canadian reference for your resume. You don't need to mention on your resume that it was volunteer work.
  7. Create a personal website to market your services. Use it as a platform to showcase your expertise and find work. Tell your story of coming to Canada - people love stories and they might be inspired to help you. Include a "Hire Me" or "Work with Me" link to tell people how to hire you. Add a jazzed up version of your resume or portfolio.
  8. Blog about topics of interest to potential employers/clients and people in your field. Publish your articles on your personal website and broadcast links to your blogs on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and and special interest groups where people with your skillset (including potential employers) hangout.
  9. Communication skills. It's the one requirement you see on nearly every job description. If you find that people have difficulty understanding you in conversation, check out for information about free language instruction program in the Greater Toronto Area.
  10. Be Persistent. Creating a personal brand is hard work. As you implement the above strategies you'll be "self-employed". That entrepreneurial spirit is popular with employers these days - especially startups and technology firms. Eventually you'll connect with an employer who will be delighted to hire you.
Please share your tips for getting established in a new job market. Did I miss anything? What works for you?

See also

Posted By Tim Collins, President and Founder,
Stafflink Solutions Ltd


  1. I am a new comer, and I think your list will be very useful for me. I suggest to consider also to attend specialized workshops, I attended one two weeks ago in a community centre and it helped to at least understand how resumes have to be written, importance of cover letter, facts about labout market and preparation for interviews, etc. Even more you can find workshops specialized for kind of career: IT, Finance, Health care, etc.
    By the way, I found very interesting articles in the web pages. Thanks.


    Annabella Rivera

  2. Hi Anabella,

    Thanks for suggesting another strategy - to participate in workshops at your community centre. It sounds like you are doing all the right things to land a job in your field. I really appreciate your positive feedback. And I wish you all the best in your career search!

    Tim Collins