5 things I should have known about getting work in Manitoba

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We’ve all heard this line: “Be prepared before you come to Canada so that when you arrive, you can hit the ground running.” This is great advice since getting work is among our top concerns as newcomers.

What should you prepare for exactly?

It’s a whole new ballgame

The Canadian job market is extremely competitive. Also, many aspects of recruitment and onboarding, not to mention workplace culture, are vastly different from what you’re used to in your home country. You’ll need to know exactly what these differences are to navigate each step successfully.

Here are five things you should know about getting job (and help you prepare):

  1. Jobs in Canada can be regulated or non-regulated

    Most jobs in Canada are non-regulated, meaning practitioners won’t need additional licensing or certification to practice their profession here. However, jobs like doctor, engineer, teacher, accountant, and certain trades are regulated (see the complete list of regulated professions here). This means that those in these fields may need to pass a test, get further training, or education in order to be licensed. Those in the regulated professions should get in touch with their professional association to know the exact steps they need to take. They can do this even while their still in their home countries. Requesting for certificates, records of credentials, and other requirements will be easier if they do it before coming to Canada.

    You should also know the exact name of your job in Canada. Jobs are highly specialized here. Knowing which jobs you can specifically target and apply for will allow you to tailor your resume properly. Explore the National Occupational Classification (NOC) to find your job title, main duties, and employment requirements. You can even determine the average salary and the trends and prospects of your career in Canada by checking Explore an occupation from the Canada Job Bank.

  2. Employment training is the best and fastest route to learning about the Canadian job market

    One of the best things you can do before moving to Canada is to enroll in job skills and readiness programs. There are organizations that offer these to pre-arrivals for free. One such program is Settlement Pre-Arrival (SOPA). It provides guidance and personalized employment supports. They also have trainings to help you develop job search skills, improve your communication skills for the workplace, and connect with settlement agencies and services in Manitoba.

    Those who are already here (and did not enroll in SOPA) can get personalized employment supports from organizations like Manitoba Start, Success Skills Centre and Immigrant Centre Manitoba. They offer free employment training and even provide job leads so you can hired sooner. They also equip you with the right soft skills to help you adjust and integrate into the workplace smoothly.

  3. Having a professional network is essential

    Not all jobs are advertised in Canada. Many are in the “hidden job market.” The best way to tap it is to know someone in your field. You can start by connecting with professionals on social media, especially if you’re still in your home country. LinkedIn is one of the best platforms to do this. You can strengthen your social media ties by asking your contacts for an informational interview which you can do online or once you land in Manitoba.

    Continue building your professional network by attending job fairs, industry conferences, and most importantly, by volunteering. These activities help you to get out there and become more visible to employers.

    Finding a job is a job, Citizenship and Immigration Canada

  4. The Canadian-style resume is targeted

    You can have all the necessary skills and credentials but if you can’t communicate them well in your resume, then your application will be dead on arrival. Canadian-style resumes are not only tailored to the specific job you’re responding to, it must actually use similar wording from the ad. Companies use Automated Tracking Systems (ATS) that sift through applications and look for these keywords. If the ATS can’t find them, then its likely that your resume won’t be seen by the employer.

    Training for resume and cover letter writing are often the first activities in job skills and employment programs. Coaches can teach you how to make your resume and cover letter shine so they’ll be noticed by employers.

  5. Being financially and mentally prepared will save you

    Job search can take time. It can take several weeks up to a year. The best way to approach the process is to set realistic expectations and have a buffer in terms of resources. Having emergency funds, which means having savings enough to cover three to six months of living expenses, is recommended whether you’re employed or unemployed. Another smart move is to have a Plan B just in case your original plan doesn’t pan out. For example, if your job is regulated, your Plan A could be to pursue your licensure while working at a survival or alternative job. Your Plan B could be to shift careers altogether. Being open to various opportunities and not being so rigid in your choices can often save you from disappointment or despair.

Finding a job can be tedious but there’s help for you out there. Supports and resources are always available so you can get a job sooner, not later. Goodluck!

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Community Resources

The Government of Canada website Look for jobs in Canada is a great resource for everything related to to your job search.

English Online has multi-week workshops like Digital Skills at Work, Volunteering in Canada, and Workplace Communications offered throughout the year. These workshops grow both your technical and soft skills.

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