Hello people! how you doing?! (in Wendy Williams’ voice) lol, you can tell I’m excited for today’s post right? It’s because awesome people are featured and they have shared useful information with us all. I reached out to diverse people so no one would say it’s only ‘IT’ I talk about all the time. This post will be in parts because of the length so grab a cup of tea and get to reading!
For privacy sake, I have decided to maintain everyone’s anonymity.
Person A is my wonderful friend. I actually met her physically for the first time in Canada. We met ‘virtually’ before I moved to Canada from a post on BellaNaija. She resides in Ottawa (previously in British Columbia) with her husband and son. She is a mathematician by profession majoring in Data Analysis.
Immigrating to a new country is no small deal. When thinking of immigrating one has to mentally and physically prepare for change. Canada is a nation composed of mostly immigrants, difference in culture and a vast ethnic group from all around the world especially if you live in the big cities, Vancouver Toronto, Montreal, and Edmonton.
I have spent over one year in Canada, living in the city of Mississauga and working downtown Toronto. It has been an awesome experience but with its ups and downs. My Journey started in 2016 when my family and I landed in Calgary, after all the paper works we took a connecting flight to Saskatoon where my younger brother lives.
We spent two weeks and returned back to Nigeria. Our aim was to get our PR cards processed and dispatched to us before coming in fully, this strategy also afforded us some time to liquidate some assets which we felt we would not be able to manage from Canada. I know some readers would not agree with that move, but would rather relocate their family to their new country once and stay back. Well, different strokes for different folks; just plan and do what works well for your situation. You could decide to stay more than a year before returning to Canada. Our plan was to come back in exactly one year time which we did.
That one year period enabled us to research the new job market, assess our skills and improve ourselves by bridging gaps as well as sending in applications from Nigeria while accepting interviews via Skype or through our mobile. We got one of those popular internet enabled phones lines which we used to receive calls from recruiters without necessarily being in Canada. The strategy to give ourselves one year before returning to Canada eventually paid off, my wife secured an internal role in US/Canada region with the company she worked for, she was then able to move from Middle East/ African region. Good thing we had landed and got our PR card giving us right to work in Canada.
However, I was unable to close a job with any interview since I was not physically on ground but the experiences enabled me grasp what the employers and recruiters were looking for and what skills and certifications I needed to have and be competitive in the market. Having identified my skill gaps, I closed them by taking a couple of certifications and do a lot of reading. That was a bit of a differentiating factor for my job search.
Two weeks upon my arrival I got an offer from a company in my old banking job to go back as a consultant for a project in Nigeria. I had to turn down the offer because my family and I had not settled in well and it was premature to leave them so soon.
So I commenced my job search and quickly realised that there was an unspoken thing called “Canadian work experience” the employers usually ask for some Canadian work experience. Sounds odd right? No Canadian experience, no job. No job, no Canadian experience. It’s a conundrum that many thousands of newcomers face each year. Fortunately there are ways to overcome this obstacle. With that information in mind, I quickly realigned myself by attending bridging programs which the government provides for newcomers. There are many of these kinds of programs in all provinces across Canada. Newcomers should take advantage of these opportunities, I did.
I joined a bridging program or what is also known as a Transition to employment program three months of my arrival, this program was an 8 weeks in class and 8 weeks paid work placement in a company within the city I lived. This was the turning point; I got a placement to work as an Agile Business Analyst, thanks to the exams and certifications I had written prior to arrival. It was a distinguishing factor in my request for a new job. I would also add that the ability to clearly express ideas and understanding of logical terminology in your chosen field during interviews is very paramount. I become better at doing that from one interview to another.
After the work placement, I updated my resume to reflect the one Canadian company I had worked for and gleaned some experiences. Continuing with sending out a deluge of applications the doors for interviewing began to open gradually. This was a very painstaking task. I applied to about 10 to 15 employers daily. I eventually got a 3 months contract which eventually paved way to my current job with one of the five big banks in Canada. This brings me to my next question about Canadian experience.
So what is Canadian experience? Employers look for Canadian workplace experience so that employees are familiar with workplace culture, social cues, and expectations.” Since different cultures may have different ways of handling situations, “newcomers with ‘Canadian workplace experience’ are seen as being more capable of getting along with the workgroup,”
Another way to get Canadian experience is by volunteering with the various charitable organizations; offering your expertise for a variety of projects. I know of a couple of friends that took this route too.
Finally, some people get to start in Canada, by considering taking a lower level job than they are used to. I did not use this route. It could be quicker to get initial employment that pays less. While it may be a step down, it translates into Canadian experience. The truth is that this is a common approach for a good percentage of newcomers. However, be careful not to get stuck in a menial job that is hard to move upwards from.
Working in Canada is great and can be exciting and marvelous, however, there all sort of challenges and rewards for immigrants. It is always advisable for new immigrants to be liquid (by that I mean come with a lot of cash) for the first year because sometimes it takes that long for you to get your first job. I got mine in 6 months; your bills will keep running with or without a job. That is obvious.
In conclusion, immigrating to Canada requires preparation and planning but most importantly it requires God. I cannot leave praying and believing God for a positive outcome as that was my motivation when I was yet to land a much steady job.
Stay positive, stay determined and keep on making progress.