Most international students are able to work during their studies. Working while studying can build valuable experience, introduce you to new people, and help you integrate into a new country and culture. Here are some tips to simplify the job search in Canada.
Five Tips to Finding a Job in Canada
Full-time international students holding a study permit are able to work on and off campus. If you meet the conditions as an international student, you can work up to 20 hours a week during the semester and up to 40 hours a week during scheduled breaks. Eligible international students may work for any Canadian employer anywhere in Canada — the first step is to find a job.
1. Do your research
- Start looking for jobs as soon as you know your destination in Canada. If you know people in Canada, talk to them for advice or connections, and read through job postings to get an idea of what employers are looking for.
- If you’re already at university or college, find your institution’s career services office. Most institutions will have a career centre, with knowledgeable staff and job listings that may not appear anywhere else — including jobs on campus.
- Start your hunt for jobs in Canada today with the CanadaVisa job search tool.
2. Adapt your resume and cover letter
- Preparing your resume (also referred to as a CV) is the first and most important step of the job application process. Make sure your resume is “short and sweet” — one page is ideal.
- In Canada, it is also the general practice to include a cover letter with your resume. This is a short statement of interest in the position offered, and a chance to briefly state why you are a strong candidate. It is also a good idea to indicate your visa status in the cover letter.
- If you haven’t gained a lot of work experience yet, focus your CV on your other assets such as language skills, computer experience, volunteer work, or club activities.
- Customize your resume and cover letter for each specific job. This shows the employer that you are genuinely interested in their organization, and allows you to showcase your relevant skills.
3. Use every opportunity to network
- Networking is key to finding the right job, no matter where you go. How do employers know that someone is the perfect fit for a job? They ask around. Build references, attend events, and sign up for activities. If a company you want to work for accepts volunteers, start there — volunteers are usually the first people employers go to when hiring.
4. Obtain Canadian work experience
- Your first job in Canada may not be your dream job, but it is still an important step. References from Canadian employers will help you in future job applications. But how can you gain Canadian experience?
- Volunteer: Volunteer work can build your Canadian work experience, and it is also highly regarded by employers. In addition to gaining work experience, you will have the opportunity to build your network and make Canadian friends. Do not underestimate volunteering.
- Choose co-op programs: many Canadian study programs offer co-op components, which work as paid internships. These are opportunities to work in one’s field and learn locally while earning some money. Additionally, co-op positions can lead to employment opportunities after graduation.
- Consider alternative jobs: It is important to manage your expectations. It may take some time to find a job, and your first position may be different from what you had back home. Take any opportunity to gain more experience — you never know where it may lead.
- Take advantage of your academic experience: You came to Canada to study, so be the best student! Participating in class and social activities is crucial to gain experience and boost your grades, both of which help after graduation.
5. Use your international experience
- You have an advantage that not many people have. You have lived, and perhaps worked, abroad, and you may speak more than one language. You have seen the world from different perspectives and accumulated experience among different cultures and people — this is a strong asset. Starting over in a new country is never easy, but with motivation and a good attitude Canada’s wealth of opportunities are open to you.
CanadaVisa offers several tools to help with your job hunt, including the resume builder and job search tool.
If you want to discover your options for studying in Canada, or staying in Canada after graduation, complete the free CanadaVisa Study Pathway Assessment Form today.
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