Today, the 28th May 2018, exactly 5 weeks and 4 days after my arrival in Toronto, Canada, I signed off on a decent job offer here. This job is comparable to the level I had in Nigeria, with a higher salary even. To say that I have been blessed since I arrived Canada would be stating the fact through and through. I knew I was going to eventually get a good job, but even I am stunned by the speed of things happening. Prior to my signing this offer, I had received two other offers that I had to decline because they did not pay as much financially.
I’ve had a couple of people reach out to me on Twitter to find out how I was able to successfully find a job- in a location with the highest number of Canadians and immigrants (Toronto) and in a function (HR) that some believe is filled with strong competition. When we ask successful African entrepreneurs the origin of their achievements, they are quick to say something like, ‘ahh na God ooh’.?? As if one doesn’t need to back up the spiritual with a real life strategy. So, here are a few of my spirit-filled and practical tips to finding a job in Toronto,Canada.
1. Play the game of numbers. At the last count, I have applied to about 200 jobs online. I started applying on LinkedIn since January 8th 2018. Yea, I’m detailed like that- I have the actual date. To be honest I started applying that early in panic, because I just felt April was around the corner, and I would have liked to have a job in hand on arrival here. I realize now that that gave me time to understand the job application process in Canada, and also build my resilience levels. I joined all the webinars online- SOPA and Acces and even virtual career fairs that share job tips. I got tons of rejection emails but I kept on applying- even to roles I was under qualified and over qualified for. Especially for Ontario, the competition is stiff. The more jobs you apply for, the more your chances increase to get a call back or be invited for an interview. Remember you’ve got to even out the odds and really, all you are looking for is that one job that reaches out with an interview invite.
2. Remember to ace your interview. Once you’ve got a foot in the door, to attend an interview, make sure you kick arse. I mean it. Research the company and the people you will interview with. Use the STAR or SOAR method to answer all the questions. If you are coming from a country with lower currency power to Canada, the earlier you start earning in CAD to pay your bills, the better.
3. Be wary of recruiting agencies. My friend D warned me about them, but I wanted to see for myself. I find them to be the most biased in this market. They are the 1st ones to tell you you don’t have Canadian work experience and make it seem like a death sentence. They are the ones who tell you to take a lower paying position as a way to join a big organization, and they are the ones who will advertise a position on their LinkedIn profile, you reach out to them, they read your message and they will not respond. I’m wondering if I should call them out on this blog post?? ???? In any case, be very cautious of them. Believe in yourself and your capability and go directly to the companies you want to interview with.
4. Look for organizations like Career edge. Career edge was a game changer for me. They are sponsored by the Canadian government and they offer internships with several companies both in the public and private sector. These internships are actually full time jobs, and not entry level positions. So if you do well during the internships, you can actually land a more permanent role in the organization you are working in. I applied for 8 of their internship positions and got selected for three of them. Of the three, I didn’t hear back from one company after filling their pre-screening question. While the other two, I went on to interview for and got offered a role by both organizations. Career edge specifically caters to roles in non regulated professions, but even if you are in a regulated profession, keep searching for organizations similar to them.
5. Keep networking in the industry and function where you have the most experience and are looking for work. A group of Nigerians on a Whatsapp group I joined once shared the video of a man named Lionel Laroche. He is a French Canadian who teaches Diversity & Integration to new immigrants moving to Canada. His videos were definitely crucial to helping me network. Do yourself a favor and Google him. Also, when you reach out to people you’ve just newly met online or been referred to, don’t jump right into asking for help or favor. Ask them if you can meet for a coffee or tea to discuss trends in the market or ask if you can meet up virtually. I once connected with a lady online & immediately asked for help and she was very rude to me.
All the very best in your search. May the road rise up to meet you ??