Many skilled immigrants in Canada have always tried to figure out the answer to the big question “How to work as an immigrant?” When I first arrived here, like any immigrant I have been through the struggle of how to find and keep a job in Canada. I couldn’t quite understand what was stopping me from finding a job in my field until I was able to figure out what works and what does not in the Canadian job market. Finding a job that fits your skills is a constant process in Canada. Getting the much needed “Canadian work experience” on your resume can be challenging at first but not impossible.
It may sound a bit clichéd, but the fact that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression on your hiring manager is true or at least within the Canadian employment standards. When it comes to applying for a job in Canada, having a strong cover letter plays a great role in catching your potential employer's’ attention. A cover letter with a compelling story about your skills and achievements will always get noticed by the hiring managers. On the other hand, a poorly written cover letter reflects unprofessional and casual attitude on the applicant and leaves little opportunity to land a job. Most new immigrants spend hours of their time and energy on writing a great resume but spend way too little time in drafting a great cover letter. This approach can often lead to nowhere. Think about a cover letter as the first step to getting noticed even before a hiring manager reaches for your resume. It’s like the backbone of a solid resume. So if you don’t have a strong cover letter that backs up a good resume then how are the Canadian employers ever going to notice you? As a result of not having a compelling cover letter, many immigrants get caught up in a spiral of rejection from the Canadian employers and end up settling for a mediocre job that pays a minimum wage.
So what should a good cover letter say?
Know and understand that a strong cover letter is written in a clear and concise manner stating exactly what is relevant to the job posting. It is like a sales pitch through which you convince an employer that you are the right candidate for the position. It should not sound like you are replicating the information from your resume. Instead, it should offer information that highlights the skills and achievements that match the job and position you’re applying for. Always start off with a strong opening such as a relevant professional accomplishment that qualifies for the position the employer is seeking. Do not use a generic cover letter that reads like an automated machine generated document. Instead, write a personalized letter for each employer. Lastly, cover letters should be free from grammatical errors, so always proofread them before sending it to an employer. Nothing is worse than a cover letter with spelling or grammar errors. Writing a good cover letter is surely time-consuming process, but the reward it pays is worth your effort. A good cover letter paves the way for more job interviews and gives a greater opportunity of securing a job.
to socialize with people at the workplace. Lacking ‘soft skills’ is not a bad thing or does not mean that you are unfit for the Canadian employers. It only means that there is room for you to build your skills and get career-ready. Companies don't want to hire people who are not sure of how to communicate effectively or work with others from a Canadian work culture point of view. There are many government funded programs that offer language lessons and insights into Canadian culture that gives new immigrants an opportunity to learn more about Canada to be able to integrate better into the country both professionally and personally.
While there is no set answer for how to work well with Canadians as an immigrant, there are, however, certain things you can do stand out. It is important to convince your potential employers that you are a competent professional that knows how to speak well, learn quickly and easy to work with others. It is highly necessary to “walk the talk” and demonstrate these skills through compelling stories from your previous work experiences and accomplishments without making them sound too boastful or long but instead keeping them concise and relevant. It is through the stories you will indicate that you possess the knowledge of Canadian work culture and are the right match to meet employer's expectations.