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Finding Work in Canada When You're Not in Canada

Welcome to CareerOwl's second Dear CareerOwl column.

As will always be the case, I took the liberty of editing some portions of this letter to protect our writer's privacy.

Dear David,

I have applied to move to Canada - this is still in its early stages. My CV is attached. I have been advised that most likely I will be accepted for immigration to Canada without difficulty.

Is there any value in chasing jobs now or it is too early?

Can you advise me please? My area of expertise is pharmaceutical selling/marketing/training.



[location withheld at request of writer]


Hello Paul,

Finding a job in a country you are currently not in is often difficult. The problems you face have some things in common with the problems of all long distance job seekers. Most of your traditional avenues of networking are not possible. That does not mean it will be impossible to find a job. However, you should be realistic in your expectations of success.

You can hunt around on the Internet and contact companies directly through email, regular mail, or even by telephone when a phone number is given in job ads or you can see a phone number on a company web site that seems relevant. Some of the links in our resources section may be helpful in that regard. The Internet is probably your most cost effective means for learning more about current job prospects in different parts and in different industries and occupations in Canada.

Ask these companies if they have openings, and if not, if they know any companies that are currently hiring. This may give you some leads, though don't be surprised that most won't respond to your request for suggestions.

If you can land a job, that will help you greatly with your Canadian immigration application. Of course, this can also be a bit of a thorny issue with employers; they may not share your belief that you will be able to move to Canada without a problem. Many employers may decide not to consider you until your immigration is approved. Indeed, even once you have passed that hurdle, many employers may still fear that there will be unpredictable delays. This is a factor that makes job search harder for those looking for work from outside even in comparison with other job seekers who are looking from a distance and without the benefit of local networks of friends or work associates. However, all long distance jobseekers face the hurdle that many employers are reluctant to even consider jobseekers who must travel for an interview and who would need to move to take up the position. Of course, employers who need someone with skills that are in short supply in Canada compared with the needs will be more willing to do things like correspond with or begin the interview process with someone at a distance.

A dedicated job seeker, with access to the Internet, will most likely find some leads, or at least learn about the companies in Canada. Learning about the companies in Canada in a particular area may give you ideas for things you know or contacts you could develop that would have special value to a Canadian employer. After all, many Canadian companies are trying to market their goods and services abroad. You may be able to make your foreign address an asset if you think creatively about this and with real knowledge of the needs of the companies you are approaching. Even if looking now brings no job offers, the things you learn should make it easier to find work once you arrive in Canada and may also help you make a better application for immigration to Canada.

Finally, I'd like to comment on the CV you submitted. At seven pages, it is simply too long. Don't feel bad, as most resumes submitted to me suffer from this problem. Try and trim it down to one or two pages. The information we have in our Resources section on Resumes should help with that.

I hope these suggestions prove helpful. Let me know how it turns out; I get letters like yours a lot and I'd like to know what worked for you.

David Jiang

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