Trustworthiness is key to any successful job search. Especially in Canada, where interpersonal skills and “clicking” with your potential employer are perhaps the most decisive factors in getting hired.
The trust issue
Unfortunately, as an expat, you have to work twice as hard at convincing recruiters you’re trustworthy.
Sounds unfair? Well, put yourself in the employer’s shoes for a moment:
– They don’t know if you’re going to stay in Vancouver for good;
– They have no idea how your foreign degree compares to Canadian credentials;
– You have no local contacts they can easily phone up for a reference check;
– They may worry you’re going to ask them to sponsor you for a visa.
Now that’s quite a few red flags, isn’t it? No wonder newcomers often find it hard to get interviews!
What to do about it
Thankfully, there are several ways you can work around this issue.
Make your resumĂ© as Canadian as you can
– Translate or explain anything that may be unfamiliar to Canadians (scope of your degree, field of studies, etc) – just because it’s obvious to you doesn’t mean it’s obvious to recruiters;
– Get Canadian credentials. No need to go back to school – even a basic certificate will be reassuring to employers, as long as it’s local;
– Get a .ca or .com email address – it will make you look more “settled” than an address that still shows your country of origin.
Get local references
Your references do not necessarily have to be ex-bosses or ex-coworkers. A sports coach, a church minister, or a teacher would be acceptable too – basically anyone who can be a good judge of your character.
Don’t know anyone in town? Go volunteer for an organization of interest to you, preferably in a position relevant to your skills and professional goals. If you do a good job, your supervisor will be happy to act as a reference.
Address any potential issues upfront
Do you know the saying, “a confused mind always says no?” In hiring terms, this means that anything left unexplained will automatically raise a red flag in the recruiter’s mind.
Anticipate the employer’s concerns, and make sure to address them on your cover letter. For example, explain any gaps in your resumĂ© due to international moves. If you are a permanent resident, be sure to mention it. If you’re job-hunting from abroad, make your visa/work permit situation very clear – or your application won’t even be considered.
Getting an employer to trust you may take a bit of extra work, but if you put recruiters at ease by showing that you’re serious about settling and working in Vancouver, you should be well on your way to getting your first Canadian work experience!
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Image by LWPrencipe, via Flickr Creative Commons