Immigrants and professionals trying to get into the job market often face the fear of the much-trumpeted phrase- no Canadian experience. While this is a genuine concern, most job seekers and newcomers overplay this in their minds and as a result loose confidence. The Canadian experience issue is a vicious cycle time– No Canadian experience, no job. No job, no Canadian experience. What a double-edged sword.

You do not need to be afraid of a lack of Canadian experience. Here are some proven ways of getting around that challenge:

  1. Fully understand the mindset of the hiring team.

All Hiring managers have three things in mind when they interview:

  • Can you solve the problem we have?
  • Can you fit in and get along with the team?
  • How will you add value?
  1. Tailor your international experience to the job description so there is strong connection.
  2. Prepare a targeted and sector-specific resume and cover letter.

Research the company, their website, and job descriptions. Ensure your resume has all the appropriate keywords. The focus then is on your overall skill set and not just the Canadian experience.

  1. Develop your Soft Skills.

Soft skills cannot be learnt overnight but they can be developed. These skills relate to how you work. Soft skills include listening skills interpersonal (people) skills, communication skills, time management, empathy, being friendly and approachable Soft skills are easily transferable.

  1. Learn about Canadian workplace culture.

Take the time to educate yourself in best practices associated with such topics as communication, giving and receiving feedback, and conflict management. An understanding of these issues will help to quell employer’s concerns as to your ability to smoothly integrate into the workplace and conduct business on their behalf.

  1. Volunteering & internship

This is a great way to connect with Canadian professionals and see first hand what this so-called “Canadian experience” is like.

You get to understand communication styles, body language, workplace culture and how to professionally collaborate.  A good place to start with volunteering is looking through the website of  Volunteer Canada.

  1. Change of attitude

This is probably the most potent tool in overcoming the barrier of no Canadian experience. Reframe your thinking. Focus on the skills you have and resist the urge to be fixated about your lack of Canadian experience.

“As a man thinketh, so is the man.”

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