Strategies for landing a job in a new country: A New Canadian success story

Andy was great to work with. He was a perfect client. He did everything right and his focus, planning, networking, researching and stick to- it- iveness paid off in spades.

Andy contacted me from Bombay, India. He was immigrating to Canada and wanted to prepare his resume and cover letters, and learn more about what to expect from Canadian employers – and how to facilitate a Canadian job search. His family would arrive two months after him.

We worked together by phone and email getting him as organized and ready to go as we could before he arrived in Canada. As an MBA with global work experience, very good English and senior management expertise working for an international conglomerate, he had all the right tools in his tool kit. Research unveiled that his CPA designation was equivalent to our Certified General Accounting certification, not the Certified Accountant designation. This would put him in a lower salary category. Either way, it can still take upwards of 6 – 12 months to find an equitable position, and that’s with Canadian experience.

Within days of Andy’s arrival we finally met. What a positive, attractive, tenacious gentleman. We finalized and fine tuned work search processes and procedures, and examined networking opportunities I had arranged with local recruiters and business professionals.

Andy had the names of 20 people who lived in the Greater Toronto Area, given to him from his Bombay network. He called everyone of them and found out who they knew. His network grew quickly.

He met with recruiters, even though they wouldn’t necessarily place him in a full time position, he got their input and insider perspective of how he should conduct his search. Recruiters seldom take on new Canadians as their customers usually prefer candidates with Canadian work experience. They predicted he would start with contract positions, prove his worth then hopefully move into a full time position. Andy resigned himself to exactly that.

In two months, Andy applied for 85 jobs, tailoring his resume and cover letter to fit the job descriptions. He followed up on each application.

He joined The Mentoring Program for qualified professional immigrants into Canada and had a super Mentor who gave great tips. Andy’s mentor suggested leaving a one page summary of himself after each networking session and interview, and he did. He also told Andy to ask each interviewer, “Do you see anything about me that would prevent me from getting this job?” They met four times in 15 days plus by email.

Andy joined a networking group for unemployed business professionals and attended five meetings. There he found a roomful of wonderfully supportive people in the same situation as himself.

Andy found me on an internet job site but he found his CFO position on He was one of 10 interviewed by the COO, then short listed to three, whereby he met with the family members who owned the business, fell in love, and hired him.

The whole process took two and a half weeks, almost unheard of for a CFO position! Obviously the owners saw the prize they were getting. His salary wasn’t equivalent, but it wasn’t shabby at all, and, he gets a salary review in four months to add a hefty raise.

There was no probation period for his benefits and he lives 10km from the office. The offer came in two weeks after he landed in Canada.

Andy’s advice to all job seekers:

  • Once you make your decision to do something new, cut your ties with the past and start building your future
  • Give yourself a time line in which to succeed in your new venture
  • Keep a buffer in case you have to go back
  • Be financially prepared for the long haul
  • Do your research; network before you leave your home country then network like crazy when you arrive in Canada
  • Set priorities and get your ducks in line
  • Find out what to expect of your new location
  • Be resilient
  • Don’t take rejection personally
  • Recruiters have perceived limitations

Remember, you alone can do it, but you can’t do it alone!

Colleen Clarke
Career Specialist and Corporate Trainer

Author of Networking How To Build Relationships That Count and How To Get a Job and Keep It

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