Looking for a job or opening your own business are among the top priorities when you move to a new country: after all, we live in a society where bills have to be paid and money doesn’t grow in trees!
In my career coaching, I help people to not only find jobs or start new businesses, but also to figure out how they can move towards “The Right Livelihood” (making a living while making good to others and the planet, minimizing negative impacts, emphasizing positive ones).
My experience as a career coach for newcomers to Canada and the result of many statistical studies show that there are some core factor that affect whether immigrants to Canada are or not successful in their job search.
These factors include:
As you’ll see, the above factors may be applicable to almost anybody looking for a job, starting a new career or becoming an entrepreneur.
Let’s check them one by one:
While having a job or becoming your own “boss” may be seen as priorities required to pay the bills, we start with the wrong foot if we don’t have the basic of our lives well organized and figured out.
Job searching takes a lot of time and energy and can’t be done properly if you are sick, have family issues to deal with, lack appropriate clothes or haven’t yet figured out things like transportation, food, daycare, schooling and shelter.
Here are the things you need to take care first:
Most immigrants move to Canada with some level of English. But to get professional jobs (or running a successful business) your English level has to be high and professional.
There are many ways to improve it:
BCIT courses: http://www.bcit.ca/cas/communication/peld/
Clear and reasonable Goal
Our world is changing: continuous “growth” is no longer possible in a finite planet. Jobs are becoming more difficult to find and there is a lot of competition out there.
Also, more and more people are realizing that “jobs” are not only a “means to” but also a way to manifest your many gifts; money and status are becoming less important and people are reorganizing their values and lifestyles to adjust to what the world is calling for: simplicity and more efforts put on relationships and our families and communities wellbeing instead of “stuff”.
Many professional immigrants come with great dreams about what they expect in terms of jobs or businesses, and feel frustrated when they see it is not that easy: you may have to start from scratch or from an entry level position. Some newcomers also use this opportunity to change their careers.
Whatever is your choice, make sure you fully understand the Canadian labour market before you choose a job target. Having an unrealistic job target can make your job search miserable.
Knowledge and understanding of the local labour market
Understanding the labour market means having a clear idea of your job target’s outlook, risks, trends, requirements and characteristics.
For each career/job/business target you may be considering ask the following questions:
Knowing more about your profession and industry saves you tons of energy, time and money. Imagine the frustration of investing months in trying to open a business whose outlook is doomed; or studying a career that has no future or updating your skills just to find out that your occupation pays only survival job salaries…
Where you can find information about the labour market?
Creating and maintaining support, social and professional networks
All newcomers struggle to create networks, but networks are necessary not only to look for jobs or being a successful entrepreneur: networks act as an emotional and social support that keeps you and your loved ones safe and healthy.
How to create and maintain support networks:
Understanding the new environment and developing “Soft Skills”
Soft Skills are tricky: as water for fish, soft skills may be different from one culture or country to other. Fish from rivers are used to a different water (and environment) than fish from oceans or lakes.
It is exactly the same with culture and soft skills: the way you relate, dress, approach, touch, look, etc and the hierarchical structures may be very different: in some countries, men and women, employers and employees, managers and staff are expected to have different behaviours, use a different tone of voice or even words!
How does that work in Canada?
There is only one option: observe and interact so you learn the new “rules” and expectations and can decide what to do with them. One thing is certain: your behaviour, expectations and attitudes are probably going to be challenged and you will experience some transformations.
Only you can decide if you want to change or whether the change is “good” or “bad”.
Some suggestions to learn “soft skills”:
Taking responsibility for your own career and maintaining a positive attitude
This is probably the biggest one: it is not only your career or the next job. It is your life!
There is no point on blaming others: the government, the “system”, any group or institution. You can’t really change them.
Every time we blame others for our “luck”, we are offering them the power over us. We are basically telling them: “My life, my choices and my future are in your hands, I am dependent and powerless”
Suggestion on taking responsibility for your own life, choices and career:
Category: Asset-Based Assesment, Balance Work and Life, Canadian Immigrant, Career Development and Job Search, Career Planning, Community Resilience, Education and Training, Empowering, Immigrant integration, Immigrant Integration and Settlement, Immigration, Job Search, Jobs, Life Changes, Life Choices, Networking, No Waste Living, Resilient Living and Choices, Right Livelihood, Simply Living, Social Justice, Volunteering, Working in Canada