16 Musts for Breaking Into the Canadian Job Market

Conducting a job search in a new country is a daunting experience so read everything you can on the how to’s. There will be a lot of conflicting information out there but these points are de rigeur so be sure to follow them faithfully.

1. Get a professional email address. Even if you are a marathoner, fastgirl@….com is not going to bode well with a future employer.

2. Research, research, research. Get to know the community you live in, then learn as much about your region and province as it relates to your area of expertise and the industry in which you will be job seeking. Knowing local politics or news is a must as well.

3. Prepare a professional voicemail message, stating, minimally, your family name. Keep the number of rings till voice mail picks up to 5 at the most.

4. Don’t return phone calls from your cell phone while walking down the street or from a nosey locale. You want to make a person feel like their message is important and you are returning their call with your full attention.

5. Write and use only your resume and your accomplishments. A resume is a legal document so each item on a resume must be truthful and yours. You can eliminate data but not give false representation.

6. Type out all words in full, no short cuts. Spell out any words that you use in your cover letter, resume and email that others may not know the meaning of. No text type at all. “This is 4 u” is not acceptable.

7. Don’t beg. Write a concise, articulate cover letter highlighting what you are going to do for the company with your acquired skill set. Never share sad stories or hard luck stories to try to win a hiring manager over, that is a total turn off.

8. Prepare a list of questions you want to know before you go on an interview. Sending a list to an interviewer after the fact is not appropriate.

9. Do not take your cell phone into an interview with you.

10. Take a pad of paper and a pen into the interview or meeting to show your interest. Don’t write too much so as to show only the top of your head. Keep eye contact as much as possible.

11. Be prepared to shake hands, make direct eye contact and smile, or be prepared to explain why you don’t do these courtesies.

12. Build a rapport with the interviewer. A little friendly chit chat is expected at the beginning of an interview. Accept a glass of water, no tea or coffee.

13. Listen attentively to the questions you are asked in an interview. After you have answered a question ask the interviewer, “Is that what you are looking for?” or “Is there anything else you would like to know?”

14. Rephrase what the person has asked you or shared with you to show that you are paying attention. “So are you saying…” or ” Correct me if I misunderstood, I heard you say…”

15. When a company has decided they can’t live without you they will ask for your references. Prepare your 3-5 references so they will present you in the best possible light. And every reference must know about the interview you had and what they are expected to say in the phone call or email. With cheap long distance rates it is not an issue if your references are in India, Australia or Mexico City. Submit a complete telephone number with area codes, city codes, etc, and email address so contacting a reference is hassle free.

16. Send a thank you card or typed letter of Thank You within 36 hours after an interview or Advice Call.

You probably have your own list of do’s and don’ts, be willing to share them with other job seekers, New Canadians and others. Ask fellow job seekers what their experiences are, just a simple tip here and there could make or break your progress. Above all, look on the lighter side of life when you are with others. You never know who might be able to refer you, and nay sayers seldom get referred.