How I got 3 job offers in 2 weeks as a new immigrant to Canada
Jul 27, 2017
After I successfully started a family - from planning my wedding to having my first baby – I thought the most stressful time of my life was behind me.
Until I decided to move to Canada.
It's no coincidence the growing bald spot in the middle of my head showed up the moment I received my ITA.
I was born and raised in Dubai, living in the lap of luxury, and surrounded by the support of close family and friends.
After I slipped the engagement ring on my wife-to-be's finger, she whispered in my unsuspecting ears “By the way, I applied for residency in Canada. We’re moving in 2 years.”
After a lot of soul searching, I decided it was the smart move for my family’s future. But pessimism crept into my head. Will I find a job in time? If I don’t, will I have enough money to support myself?
There were a lot of naysayers around me as well, my family included. They were concerned about my security, as loving parents and siblings are.
And there is no shortage of online posts throwing daggers at the Canadian immigration experience. But my will and determination prevailed, and the more I was told I couldn’t do it, the more I believed I should!
But my will and determination has always been governed by my common sense. I have never been unemployed in 12 years. I first entered the workforce in my early twenties, as a new graduate with no experience and little need for a fat paycheck. Today as a family man, the burden of responsibility pressed down on my shoulders.
Now, with over a decade of evolution in social media, I knew that somehow, the job search process must have evolved with it.
The suspicious pessimist inside me insisted that there’s got to be more to job searching than the norm - machine gunning your résumé to multiple job boards like LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, Workopolis, and crossing your fingers until they are stuck in a knot.
And so, my research began! I scheduled a daily 6 A.M. visit to Starbucks every morning right next to my office in Dubai. Google, YouTube, and the Canadian government websites were my research assistants for two hours each day.
I visited Canada in October 2015 on a tourist visa, to breathe the Canadian air for the first time, and visited local employment service agencies. My most memorable takeaway during that trip was a visit to a local library, where I discovered several books written by career coaches. I bought a couple and read them on the 16 hour flight back to Dubai.
In the months that followed, I planned my job search process. A step-by-step action plan for each
job that I would apply for.
Finally, the big day arrived. On June 1 2016, we touched down at Toronto Pearson Airport. We spent a 2 week vacation absorbed in the visions of our Canadian future. On June 14, I bid a tearful goodbye to my wife and 1 year old daughter as they flew back to Dubai to wrap things up, and I was on my own. They would be back in 3 months, expecting our life to begin in our own apartment and a steady income from my new job.
The countdown began.
On June 15, my newly created step-by-step process kicked into action. I proudly call it my Job Track Process
, and here it is, in a nutshell:
Apply for the job online
Research everything about the company and the position
Customize the resume to the job description
Find three contacts 1-The Hiring manager 2-The recruiter 3-A senior manager
Uncover their contact information
Research about each person and find a hook to use in the cover letter
Construct a personalized cover letter for each person, using the info found in Step 6
Email them directly
Snail mail my personalized cover letter and customized resume to them using Canada Post
Call them, if required
As you can imagine, each job application took me approximately 2-3 hours to complete, depending on the complexity of the job description. Over the course of two weeks, I applied to 16-20 jobs.
In addition to this, I was meeting people for informational interviews and attending events in my community.
The results were 5 interviews and 3 job offers, all before I got my Canadian driving license. I selected the best offer on June 30th – a full time job as an IT team leader in one of the largest telecommunications companies in Canada (Let’s Go Blue Jays!)
I hate it when people tell me “You got lucky!” I didn’t work through a year of research to rely on luck.
Back to my story, after I started my new job, one of my first responsibilities was to hire a group of analysts to support our team for a 1 year contract. No sooner had the posting went up, the swarms of résumés started pouring in.
I was horrified at the results. No doubt, my newfound knowledge from my research set higher levels of expectation in résumés and cover letters. What I received was a pile of effortless generic résumés, where the content was completely misaligned from the specific job description that we took so much time and trouble to create.
For the few that chose to attach a cover letter, it started with “Dear Sir / Madam…..” followed by a bunch of weak, overused self-descriptive words like “Self motivated”, “Fast Learner”, “Eager”. Ugh!
I knew the knowledge I gained from my research would be valuable to others.
I have been in Canada for three years now and I've been promoted twice at the company I'm at. I still used the same basic approach I had, with some newfound tricks I discovered from my ongoing research in job searching.
I know my stuff works in Canada!
So now, I freely give people the same résumé I used to get those jobs in Canada, so that they can copy paste the format for themselves.
I also created 3 YouTube videos on Canadianizing your résumé, networking in Canada, and the truth about Canadian experience.
The lessons I learned through these videos will drastically increase your chances of getting calls for interviews in Canada.
Provide your email address at the top of this page and you'll have them delivered to your Inbox.
There are other smart things you can do for free in preparing for your job search:
- You can go to YouTube and search for “TedX Job Search” to learn how global professionals and successful job seekers effectively found jobs.
- Want to check how your résumé matches up against the job description? Check Jobscan and copy paste the job description side by side with your uploaded resume to see what score you get.
- Want to really stand out of the competition? Build an online resume like I did - connelvalentineresume.com - and reference this site in your resume, cover letter, post-interview thank you note. I’m not a web designer, I used an easy tool called Wix.
- Do you have "Organized" in your resume? Then you will appreciate a tool called JibberJobber to keep a close track of all your job applications.
And finally for those who are SUPER serious about their job search, I created a self-serve online course called The REAL Canadian Job Search.
The people you see online bitching about Canada?
They don't even apply 10% of what I cover in this course. All they do is mindlessly machine-gun their résumé to online job boards, and pray "the system" will do the rest.
Canadian hiring executives are very conservative. Because full-time employees are well protected by law in this liberal land.
That's great for those already in a job, but harder for those newly looking.
I know not every immigrant shares the same circumstances as me, and everyone will face their own unique challenges.
But just remember one thing, there are always
jobs to be filled. Canada is a massive country, and Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec are thriving
business hubs. Take a look at the latest labour force survey on statscan
to see for yourself. If you’re touching down in Toronto, the 2016 Toronto Employment Survey
shows an increase of jobs by 2.7% from 2015 to 2016.
Remember, the online job boards that you use are not
Netflix or Amazon. You can’t click a button an expect reliable results.
If you respect your job search as a job in itself, and you dedicate as much time and effort towards it, you won’t be working survival jobs to make ends meet.
If you have any questions, I'm here for you.
I answer them personally every month on an online webinar, that I host exclusively to those who enrol in my online course
Although it does not cost you anything to sign up, it does show me you're ready to take your job search seriously.
You're the kind of person I'd like to give my time to.
We sacrifice so much by moving to Canada. Yes, we are getting a better life for ourselves and our kids in the long run.
But we leave so many memories behind. Memories from family and friends and colleagues we will only see through Skype.
As such, new immigrants have an undying spirit to succeed, to make that sacrifice worth it.
This is why I do what I do. I want to guide them past that first-job roadblock like I did, so they can live the Canadian dream sooner than later.
Hope to talk to you soon.
Welcome to Canada!