7 Success secrets for Canadian immigrants

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The “Seven success secrets for Canadian Immigrants” was developed by Canadian Immigrant Magazine publisher, author, motivational speaker, and multi-awarded social entrepreneur Nick (Naeem) Noorani. An immigrant himself, Mr. Noorani went on a cross-Canada workshop series, talking to newcomers and sharing with them the tools and strategies to succeed. Below is a summary of the series.

You can also watch the videos from Vimeo.

What are the 7 success secrets?

  1. Learn the language
    Communicating effectively is the most important tool to succeed in Canada. If you cannot convey your ideas well or are unable to read, write and understand the language of your new country, you will not have the chance to showcase all your other skills.


    • Take ESL courses offered for free. For those with higher language levels, invest in yourself by taking paid programs to improve your written and verbal English skills. If you don’t invest in yourself, why would employers?
    • Practice your English language skills every day. Listen to English news channels on the TV and on the radio (CBC).
    • If your language skills are excellent but if you still have problems with people understanding you, consider enrolling in accent-reduction courses (available at classes across Canada).

    You can use the many resources available on this website to continuously improve your English language skills. They are free and available anytime.

    Here are ways that you can use this website to improve your language skills:

    • Read settlement articles. You’ll learn more about living in Canada while boosting your vocabulary.
    • Use our self-study materials to guide you when studying English.
    • Register with us to learn with a group, find an e-tutor, and track your learning progress.
  2. Stay positive
    Some newcomers go through this situation: The newcomer arrives and starts sending out resumes. They don’t get the job. The newcomer then sits and moans with friends. Before they know it, negativity spreads fast.

    If you don’t believe you’re going to succeed, you won’t. The problem with negativity is that it can consume you. No one really wants a negative person around.

    The important thing to remember is that you will face negative situations and barriers. Stay positive and focused.

    Steps to staying positive:

    • Identify negative people in your life and avoid them if you can. Avoid getting into discussions where you find yourself complaining and getting negative. This is counterproductive to your own success.
    • Find five incredibly positive people who will be your insurance policy against failure. As Nick Noorani often says, “we are the sum total of the five people closest to us.”
    • Wear a smile. This is a simple and effective way to make friends and influence people.
  3. Embrace Canada
    Remember your dreams about coming to Canada? They’ve come true! Unfortunately, after immigrants come to Canada, they sit down and start thinking about their life back home. This will work against you. It’s like driving with your eye on the rear view mirror. You’ll crash! Fall in love with Canada. If you don’t, you will forever be a visitor in your adopted country. Embrace your new country and all that Canada has to offer. Explore the parks, the libraries, make new friends, and find your own new beginnings.


    • Learn Canadian history and culture. There’s really no way that you can embrace this country unless you know its history, its people, its culture.
    • Participate in civic, provincial, and federal elections (for citizens). And if you can’t vote yet, you can volunteer. Most importantly, find out about the issues that matter to you in your new country.
    • Celebrate Canada Day (July 1st). It’s the country’s birthday and you should be a part of the celebration.
  4. Have a “Plan B”
    Today, most North Americans change careers at least five times in their lifetime. We immigrants must have the same flexibility. Plan B, means having a “back-up.” It is creating a mindset that allows us to accept alternatives which could lead to personal and financial success. Having a plan B means having the flexibility to do what you can in Canada. It is especially convenient when plan A doesn’t work.

    Here are strategies to help you discover your plan B:

    • Identify your transferable skills. What are the skills that you had in your home country that you can use in your new country? These are skills like management and leadership, problem solving or research, negotiating and decision-making skills.
    • Research lateral career options. Go and find out different career opportunities.
    • Even if you don’t get your dream job, keep your eye fixed on your goal to succeed.
  5. Move out of ethnic silos
    Many immigrants tend to move to physical locations where they are with people of their own ethnic origin and they speak in their native language. This allows them to live the life that they had back home. This will not help you integrate into the country. Your personal growth will come from moving out of your comfort zone. Immigrants who live in ethnic silos speak their native language and usually talk about things that are happening back home. This is counterproductive and can make you depressed. Research shows that people who live in these silos have a lower than average income. Canada is a multicultural country. Don’t focus on one culture.

    Tips to help you move out of your comfort zone:

    • Having multicultural friends will prepare you for the Canadian workplace where you’ll meet and work with people from all parts of the world.
    • Reach out and make more friends, both Canadian and immigrant. They will broaden your perspective.
  6. Take risks
    Immigrating to Canada is no small feat. You have taken the risk of leaving everything you knew and the security you had for the unknown. However, when immigrants land in Canada, a strange phenomenon occurs: they refuse to take new risks.

    Newcomers need to consider that:

    • They took a great risk coming here, so why stop now? Learn new things, meet new friends and explore Canada.
    • Take a calculated risk. Go learn a new sport. Play a new instrument. Or consider a career change.
    • This is your life. This is the canvas of your life. It can be as big and as wide as you paint it.
  7. Volunteering, mentorship, and networking
    The Canadian workplace will likely be very different from what you were used to in your home country. In Canada, there is an emphasis on soft skills. Soft skills are difficult to evaluate based on your resume. That’s why Canadian employers want to know if you have the Canadian experience that would have taught you these soft skills. Volunteering, mentorship and networking will help you gain this necessary experience.

    • Volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door. It gives you instant Canadian experience. Check out various organizations who look for volunteers. These are mostly non-profits. You can also check out the website Volunteer Canada (or Volunteer Manitoba).
    • A mentor is preferably someone from own profession who will help you navigate the maze of finding a job in Canada. There are several associations that can help match you with a mentor in your profession. (You can check out English Online’s Career e-Mentor Program).
    • Networking is a critical aspect of your professional life and success in Canada. You can uncover the hidden job market through networking. Jobs that are not advertised but may be found through word of mouth and personal recommendations will become accessible to you.

Adapted with permission from Nick Noorani.

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Community Resources

Prepare for Canada and the Canadian Immigrant Magazine are great sources of news, tips, inspiration and motivation for newcomers (or people about to be newcomers) to Canada.

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