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How to Get a Job in Canada - 5 Helpful Tips

February 13, 2019

Finding meaningful employment is challenging for most people, but when you’re a new immigrant to Canada, this task can be even more daunting. As a new immigrant, you don’t necessarily have the same established connections as someone born in Canada, and other barriers such as English or French language requirements may also contribute to making your job search difficult. If you’re searching for work and are running into challenges, consider following tips to better your chances of securing a rewarding job opportunity in Canada as a new immigrant.

Secure the necessary documents:

In order to secure legitimate work in Canada, you may need certain, official documents. These documents include:

  • SIN (Social Insurance Number) – all Canadians need a SIN to work in Canada and to gain access to government benefits. SIN cards are only available to Canadian citizens as well as Permanent Resident of Canada. You can apply for a SIN card today by visiting this Government of Canada page.
  • Work Permit – if you’re not a Canadian Citizen or a Permanent Resident of Canada, you will need a work permit to secure employment in this country. In order to secure a work permit, you will need an offer letter from a Canadian employer. To find out if you require a work permit, take this helpful questionnaire through the Government of Canada’s website.
  • Educational documentation – depending on the type of work you’re applying for, you may need to demonstrate your level of prior education (ex. High school diploma or equivalent, post-secondary diploma or degree, etc). Make sure to bring these documents with you when you come to Canada in case you’re asked to produce them for an employer.

Read resources about working in Canada

Blog posts like this one, and other online pages are a great jumping-off point for your job search in Canada. The list below includes useful resources you may consider accessing as you begin your search:

  • Local immigrant and refugee centres – most cities and towns have non-profit, community organizations to help integrate newcomers and point them in the direction of important resources such as language training, housing support and employment opportunities. This Government of Canada page provides a comprehensive list of the these types of organizations across the country.
  • Career counseling support – wherever you are in Canada, there’s most likely career counseling resources nearby. These organizations provide support with resume writing, industry insights, counselling on pursuing education, and other important career advice. A simple online search of ‘career resources’ as well as the Canadian city or town you’re living in will provide you with a list of these organizations.
  • Provincial government’s website for newcomers – each Canadian province and territory has its own site devoted to outlining services designed to help new Canadians settle in Canada. Click here to visit the page that corresponds with your province or territory.

Build a strong resume and cover letter

Avoid the practice of visiting websites that host job listing and sending out generic resumes to every employer offering work within your field. Hiring managers will be able to tell if your cover letter and resume are generic, and if you haven’t actually taken the time to read through each job listing and tailor your applications to the meet specific demands of each position. To customize your applications, consider taking the following steps: address your cover letter to the business, and if possible, the hiring manager, use specific verbiage from the job ad in your own resume to demonstrate that your skills align with the demands of the position, and reference the name of the business throughout your application to showcase your eagerness to work within that particular environment.

In a previous post, we discussed tips for building a strong resume and cover letter that will help your application get noticed by prospective employers.

Again, in-person career counseling is available across the country. Conduct an online search of career counselors in your city or town.  

Search and apply for jobs in Canada

In a previous post, we listed a number of the best career and job search blogs aimed at helping you secure meaningful work in Canada.

In addition to these online resources, you should also consider this list of job search tips to ensure you’re making the most of your search and accessing all the necessary resources.


When you arrive in Canada, make an effort to establish connections in your cultural community and leverage any existing relationships you may have in your new Canadian city. This could look like reaching out to community organizations that support newcomers and asking for any resources they may have on job openings in your field, or learning from friends and family about how they went about finding work when they arrived in Canada. At the very least, establishing connections and asking for help will let people in your immediate network that you’re serious about your search for employment.

It’s also important to branch outside of your cultural community and network with Canadians who work within your field. Search online for any conventions or speaker series taking place that pertain to your industry. For example, if you work in marketing, many firms host free learning seminars on a variety of topics to try and secure new clients. Try attending these types of events and collecting the business cards of other marketing professionals. In general, jump at any opportunity you come across to meet hiring managers in your industry.

Volunteer in Canada to help build your resume

Volunteering is a great way to network, develop your English language skills, and build experience to list on your resume. Volunteer Canada has a database on its website that lists volunteer opportunities available in Canada. Find the database here.

Consider alternative jobs

It may be difficult to find a job in your chosen career right when you arrive in Canada. Consider working in another field until you’re able to gain employment within your preferred profession. This will also help you establish additional connections in Canada and provide you with the opportunity to develop new skill sets.

Ensure you have a strong grasp on work culture in Canada

It goes without saying that customs and social conventions vary drastically from one culture to the next. In Canada, it’s very standard to address your boss by his or her first name, while in other societies this may be seen as rude or entirely unprofessional. Before entering the workforce in your new country conduct research online and through conversations with Canadians about some of the standard practices you can expect once you start your new job. You may be surprised how casual and laid-back employment culture can be in certain Canadian industries.

It’s also key for you to have an understanding on your rights as an employee in Canada. This government of Canada page outlines important workplace standards that you should familiarize yourself with before entering the workforce in this country.

Receive employment insurance and other support

The Government of Canada provides financial aid to new Canadians. The below points detail the types of aid that may be available to you:

  • Employment Insurance (EI) – this provides you with temporary financial support while you get settled and begin to look for work in Canada
  • Canada Child Benefit (CCB) – you may also be eligible for this tax-free monthly payment if you’re caring for a child under the age of 18. There is also additional support you may be able to receive if your dependent has a disability.  
  • Benefits Finder – this helpful resource from the Government of Canada is a great way to find out if you’re eligible for any additional financial aid.  

Frequently asked questions about getting a job in Canada as an immigrant

In addition to the above points, we’ve taken the time below to answer frequently asked questions about getting a job in Canada as an immigrant:

  1. Is it easy to get a job in Canada?

    While it’s not easy to get a job in Canada, there are lots of resources from government organizations, non-profits, businesses, and community members designed to help you with your search. Throughout this blog post, we list to various resources available to newcomers to ensure they can settle comfortably when they arrive in Canada.

  2. Do you need a job offer to immigrate to Canada?

    No, you can apply as a permanent resident in Canada without a job offer.  Other countries have different regulations around this question but Canada will allow newcomers to apply through various programs without securing work beforehand. The Come to Canada tool on the Government of Canada’s website will help you determine what programs you may be eligible to enter the country through.

  3. How much money do I need to immigrate to Canada?

    The amount of money you will need to move to Canada depends on a number of factors including how many children you have, the province you’re immigrating to, as well as other variables. This Government of Canada page helps you assess how much money each individual and their family will need to move to Canada.

  4. What is a valid job offer in Canada?

    A valid job offer, in most cases, must be legitimized by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). It is the responsibility of the employer to apply for this assessment through Employment and Social Development Canada/Service Canada. After receiving a positive LMIA, the employer is required to provide you a written job offer. This job offer should contain information about your pay and deductions, the duties of the work you will be performing, as well as the stipulations of your employment such as the amount of hours you will be required to work. This Government of Canada page provides a detailed breakdown of what constitutes a valid job offer.

  5. What are the most common jobs in Canada?

    The answer to this question depends on the province you’re immigrating to as well as fluctuations in market trends. According to this Statistic Canada site, the most common occupations for men were retail salesperson and truck driver and the most common occupations for women were retail salesperson and administrative assistant. Some of the top Canadian industries include health care and social assistance, wholesale and retail trade, as well as accommodation and food services.

Implementing advice from the above points will surely help you find meaningful employment in your field once you arrive in Canada. Remember, finding work for anyone is a challenging process so be patient with yourself and continue to get outside of your comfort zone and meet new people. With the right attitude and commitment to the job-finding process you’ll be able to land a fulfilling career opportunity in your new home, Canada.

You may also consider training for a new career when you arrive in Canada, or perhaps enrolling in courses that help legitimize your existing credentials. With online programs as well as campuses across Canada’s prairie provinces, Robertson can help international students and newcomers realize their career dreams here in Canada. Visit Robertson’s site today to find the right program for you, or connect with an admissions advisor.



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