Though Canada still names immigration as a priority in helping the economy recover from coronavirus, barriers still remain between newcomers and job opportunities.
New immigrants entering the job market may be faced with credential recognition issues. Language or cultural barriers may affect newcomers’ confidence or their ability to communicate with their employers and colleagues. They may also face discrimination.
“Despite the need for new Canadians there are still some employers who have a bit of a bias towards Canadian-born [workers],” said Tim Lang, president and CEO of Toronto’s Youth Employment Services, also known as “YES” for short.
YES is one of several employment centers in Toronto that helps unemployed and underemployed immigrants get jobs in their field. They work with thousands of employers across the city to help them understand the benefits of hiring immigrants.
“New Canadians bring a whole set of new experiences and new ideas that can really benefit [a] company,” Lang told CIC News. “And although they may be learning English or learning French [newcomers] can get over those minor barriers and be very, very productive long-lasting employees that help the company grow.”
Most Canadians already see the benefits of immigration, even during the pandemic. Immigrants fill gaps in the labour market, and are a major source of population growth in Canada. So, it is important that immigrants have the same access to jobs in order to ensure their long-term success, and in turn, Canada’s long-term success.
The Ontario Human Rights Council recognized this in 2013, and created the Policy on Removing the “Canadian experience” barrier, which outlines the human rights issues stemmed from unequal access to job opportunities based on foreign experience. It also offers a list of best practices for employers.
In terms of what immigrants can do to improve their own job-search outcomes, Lang says the first step is to “adapt to what employers expect.”
Have a Canadian-style resume
The Canadian government’s webpage outlines a complete list of the “do’s and don’ts” of resume writing. To sumarize: keep resumes clear and concise. Make sure there are no spelling errors, and keep the page count down to two pages. Quantify achievements by using firm numbers that employers will understand. Write in the third person, so do not use “I,” “my,” or “me.”
Include basic contact information such as an email or phone number, but never attach a photo, or include personal details such as age, marital status, or religious beliefs. Never include Social Insurance Numbers on the CV, as that should be reserved for after the job has been secured.
And finally— be honest. Never lie on a resume.
Prepare to address credential recognition in the interview
Employers want to understand job applicants’ education levels in terms that they are familiar with.
If getting a Canadian education is not an option during their job-search, immigrants with foreign education can get a credential evaluation. They can then use the results to show employers the Canadian equivalent of the degree, diploma, or certificate that they obtained abroad. Some immigrants may have already completed an educational credential assessment as a requirement for their immigration program.
These are only a few general ideas to help immigrants start hunting for jobs. For more information on getting jobs in Toronto, Lang says foreigners abroad can take advantage of YES’s free online workshops for resume writing job interviews and others, however, immigrants need to be in Toronto in order to get help with job placement.
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