- Think of one to three job titles/targets you can do right away without requiring further training or experience, or requiring really minimum training. These may be entry-level positions in your industry/field or even unrelated positions in which you could still earn not only an income but practise valuable skills that will support your career in the future. As an example, if you are a lawyer and are unable to work as such until you get the full licence, you can try legal assistant, receptionist in a legal firm, or an office assistant or other position in an organization that deals with legal issues.
- Read job postings carefully, not only the requirements but also the job description and the responsibilities. Read, when possible, about the organization who is hiring. This will give you a better understanding of the market and the jobs.
- With a coloured highlighter, underline the aspects of job postings that you don’t understand or feel that your skills and experiences are a weak match. This exercise will help you to figure out whether you are targeting the right jobs or whether you may need to upgrade your skills.
- With a different colour, highlight or underline the aspects on job postings where you think you have strong skills and experience to offer. This will help you to tailor your resumés and cover letters, focusing on those skills.
- Find a mentor. Use social media and existing professional groups, associations and networking events to connect with potential mentors who can introduce you to people, guide your steps, review your resumé and provide references. Always remember that this is a reciprocal game; don’t ask for more than what you are willing to give back.
- Select training and seminars strategically so you can improve your skills while meeting other professionals and potential employers.
- Do not delay credential assessment and recognition. If your trade or profession is regulated, the earlier you start the process with the regulatory body, the better.
- If the exercises in steps 1-4 show you that there are not enough jobs in your field or you don’t match, try other avenues: talk to an experienced career coach and consider changing careers, but always leveraging on the skills you already have.
- Do not spend too much time not working and waiting for jobs to come. Employers in Canada pay much more attention to experience and to candidates who are active, even if this means working in unrelated jobs. Being currently employed means you are healthy, eager and employable. And it counts toward Canadian experience!
- Think outside the box: the old model of working 40+ years for the same company until you retire is becoming extinct. Consider part-time and contracts and be ready to relocate.
- Think even broader: why not becoming a social entrepreneur? The community where you are settling in may have unmet needs and potential for self-employment, small business and even co-operatives, where you join other professionals to create jobs for yourselves and others and support the local economy: the ultimate job security!