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Impossible to find a job!

I have lived here in Toronto for five months now and I still haven't been able to get a job as a Social Worker, even with my 20+ years experience. Before I moved here I read that Canada was such a welcoming land and that it was easy for immigrants to get a job. Pfft! That is so not true. Maybe you can get a job at Starbucks (which I did and hated every second of it) or Tim Hortons, but not a job that is in line with your qualifications. I speak English fluently, so that shouldn't be a problem. Is it the famous "Canadian Experience" I've heard about? How can you get that experience if no one is willing to give you a chance? I am deeply disappointed, but haven't given up. There must be something out there...

Has anyone else the same experience? Is there anyone out there that has managed to get a qualified job - and in that case - how did you do it?

You must find a career center that will help you fine-tune your resume and interview to the Canadian style. going 'european-style' lead to failure, for sure. I do not know if you did this already...

Thanks for the suggestion. Yes, I was doing some workshops at a place called COSTI, and I also got some help from my mentor's employees at an employment centre, so I think that my resume is adapted. It's true though, that it has to look very different from what I am used to. It feels like bragging to me, but I just had to get over it :-)
I don't know what the problem is. I have never had any problems getting a job before, but now I can't even make it as far as an interview. Maybe I am over qualified after working for so many years, and that I have too many years in management to get "normal" jobs. Maybe it is just a question about working with anything here - or maybe volunteer for a few years - just to get Canadian work experience.

You could consider cross training into a field with a little more demand.  You could abandon social working and do something else altogether.  I am sure that you are very intelligent and can accomplish whatever you set your mind to. 

I am moving to Canada but I lined up a job in advance of my arrival.  I didn't want to be faced with looking for a job in a country that I was completely unfamiliar with.

There are tons of jobs in Canada.  Just because there aren't tons of people hiring people that do your job doesn't mean there aren't any jobs in Canada.

If you were a truck driver, nurse, teacher, web designer, farmer, doctor or one of dozens of other professions you would be able to choose from 100's of positions all over Canada.

Even still.. I am sure that things will get better.  They usually do.

You are absolutely right, Brian. There are a lot of jobs here and even for social worker. I am just disappointed that no one had even bothered to give me an interview. Now I have been to one, there is one more this week and I am also waiting for a third - and the third is in retail. Of course I can do something else than social work, but it's hard when you are 50 and that is all I have done. What you have fone is smart. Did you have to come here for an interview?

Check out Career Bridge:  overview.careeredge.ca

It is an internship program intended to provide Canadian work experience.  There are no promises but an internship may lead to full-time work at the same company.

Good luck!

No.. I didn't have to come to Canada for an interview.. It was done through email and telephone

Hi.  I came to Canada, or shall i say Quebec (as they think that they are a nation for them self) five moths as well, and came into the similar problem as you have.  I did get the job, but far from what I have studied and practiced in Australia for 15 years.  Despite the fact that I have Bachelor`s degree in Construction with so many years under my sleeve together with elaborate knowledge in AutoCAD . . . it appears to me that all of that is a useless fact for Canadians.  So, my wife and I are now thinking of ditching all our `knowledge`and turning to catering business selling coffee and cookies.  As for the Canada being friendly country . . . . that is a good publicity reading for the tourists.
Hope so that you find your piece of mind in here somewhere = )
Cheers

Canada is friendly.. Quebec is not that friendly.. I think that most people do not include Quebec when they say "Canada is friendly". 

I am sure that the great people of Quebec think that they are friendly, but they are being compared to the rest of Canada.

Spend some time in London, Ontario.  Or in Calgary or Grande Prairie and I think that you will agree that Canadians are very pleasant and friendly people.

On a side note:

My only experience with French Canadians was at a truck stop near Buffalo, NY.  I'm sure that I am to blame for the short treatment that I received.   I am sure that my experience is the exception rather than the rule. 

I think that I have strayed way off of the topic.. My apologies.

Not at all.   Thank you for your point of view.  I have tried to convince my wife to step outside Quebec borders and explore 'real Canada', but her family is residing here in Montreal, and so it seems to me that it is easier for me to teach the elephant to fly then to convince her to go somewhere else. Never the less, it is good to hear that the grass is actually greener here (there in real Canada = )
Cheers

Hi Foxxwrites,

I had the same issues when I came to Toronto from New York. (Imagine?)   I got my PR in October and then I looked for jobs for a grueling 7 months. 

I think it's all about the person willing to give you your first break, and finding someone to believe in you.  In some ways, I feel like things are going to happen the way they're meant to happen. (which is just a nicer way of saying, have patience) When my current boss hired me, she said it was because I reminded her of herself when she was younger.  See what I mean? 

It will be something small that will stand out, and differentiate you from the rest of the social workers, and that's when you will get hired.  It just requires a lot of patience.  But that's why it's important to be genuine and to be yourself.  And that's the one tip I will offer you.  To throw in at least one or two things that are intrinsically You, and not about what's on the resume. 

Believe me, if you said the same things to me though, that I'm saying to you, I wouldn't have believed you.  It is easier to get discouraged.  But don't loose faith in yourself, or your abilities.  It took a long time for me to get my confidence back, and believe I was worthy of a great job.  (after so many resumes, and interviews it gets harder to believe in yourself)

But seriously, when you do get a job, man, that's when you'll be on fire, and you'll want to prove to yourself as well as the company you work for, that they made the best decision they could've ever made.

Or you can always do what Uros did, he and his wife started their own catering business selling coffee and cookies. (Way to go Uros!)

Sometimes that time off is a great opportunity to evaluate different roads and paths, and sometimes people discover that they're meant to be their own boss.  If that's something you might want to explore, the magazine I work for, Business Exchange Magazine, has listings of businesses and franchises for sale in Canada. 

I always tell a lot of people (myself included) to even attend an expo show to get a small taste or an idea.  The smallest inkling could turn into a passion, no?  We have the Business Franchise and Investment Expo coming up October 1st and 2nd 2011 in Toronto.  Walk around and get a feel for other options as Brian P T said.

Anyway, I sincerely hope you find a job, and I want to wish you all the best.  Let us know if we can help in any way.
[Moderated]

Wow, that was really encouraging! Thanks!

Yes, it's true that you lose confidence after a while. You would think that I, as a social worker, could handle it better, but it's always easier to help others. I think that taking that job at Starbucks, just to quit after a few weeks, made things worse for me. After that I thought, if I can't even work as something as simple as brewing coffee, what CAN I do? Looking in the rear mirror, I should have waited until I could get a job within my own field or something similar, but I just wanted to do something, and of course earn some money too.

I believe you when you say that, when someone hire me, I will give it all that I ever can, and then some. I'm proud of what I've accomplished so far in my career and I want to show everyone that I can do it here too.

Opening a business is unfortunately not an option for me, but I understand why so many do. I don't have so many skills other than talking and helping people, so catering or something like that is not for me. It's also about money. Our saving are dwindling and I don't want to take any chances. It's a good idea though.

Now I will continue to apply and know that somewhere out there is an employer who wants to give a middle aged Swede a chance :-)

Rosita

Hi everyone !

well by reading all these news i am really not sure anymore about anything in Canada. if Europeans nationals can not find a job what about a middle eastern ?

i am Lebanese and my wife is Russian and we are selected for Quebec my wife is a nurse but they only accept here as RNA she already applied here papers to the OIIAQ order of RNA's of Quebec .

i am in the hospitality and food & Beverage field since more than 12 years with an international experience . i speak English French Arabic and Spanish ....

i wonder what is waiting for us out there ?????

Thanks

Roy

To Rosita:

I was out to dinner with a lady who is also a social worker looking for a job.  The reason she states that she thinks she hasn't been hired is because there are people who have way more experience.  They go abroad and help in third world countries, with poverty, famine and war.  She said she's experienced, but not that experienced.

My suggestion to you is this.  While you do have some time, please please volunteer.  I know it seems like it's not feasible, you have to make money I know.  But the reason I got hired after I immigrated was I started volunteering for a non-profit art gallery.  I helped put on events, and raise money. 

Volunteering shows you're passionate about something, and willing to work there without pay.  This raises red flags to employers because what they're truly looking for above skills is loyalty and passion. 

And do you know what that did ultimately?  Well, I got stellar references.  When my current empployer hired me, she said my references from the non-profit I volunteered for, told her,

'you'll be crazy if you don't hire her'

Because I was passionate about volunteering, and put in the effort and time, this showed my current employer I would do the same for them, and how dedicated I am when I work.  This is another way to really stand out from the crowd. 

Now volunteering doesn't mean slaving 8 hours a day.  I would meet twice weekly for an hour and half to strategize, and then we put on events every few months.  The success of the events, coupled with my efforts, really paid off in the end. 

I suggest you volunteer your time for something you're really passionate about, and a great job will come soon after.  I wish I could help you out, unfortunately, my connections are within franchises and business opportunities in Canada.

To Roy:

Don't fret or get scared off.  There are still plenty of opportunities here, and everyone's life tells a different story.   There's a Buddhist saying that's very applicable in this situation, and I'm rephrasing it. 

"You are only given just enough problems in life, never more or less than what you're able to handle"

You have experience, and speak multiple languages.  Plus your wife is a nurse.  The medical industry is always in demand.

The funny thing is, everything always works out in the end.  We only waste our time worrying and not doing.

All my very best,

Puneet Dutt

Yes, it seems like it's important here to volunteer. Where I come that is not the case, since most social work is done by people employed by a city or the government. I've been looking into it, and I even went to an information meeting and signed up. That was in May and they said they would be in contact after the summer. After that I haven't found anything really interesting, except an art event in October, but that isn't in my line of work. Oh yes, I have actually sent in applications to some other volunteer organizations, but they haven't even been in touch. It's weird, since they should be happy about someone with 20+ years experience who wants to volunteer, right?

I will look into this a little more and see what I can find. Maybe I can call one of the places where I have applied and ask if they need some help, even if they didn't choose me for employment.

Rosita

Rosita,

Just walk into your dream organization, and say I want to volunteer my time, and I won't take no for an answer.  That's what I did, when I was told there wasn't enough space, because they had too many volunteers already.  I insisted, and finally I asked them, if there was something else I could do, than what the volunteers normally do.  I asked them 'is there any problem or issues I can solve for you?"  they said yes, they couldn't seem to figure out how to get younger people interested in coming to the gallery.  And that's how it all started.  I strategically got to thinking about how best to solve the problem, came to them, and said I was willing to spearhead the initiative myself, that would solve that very problem. Applications never work,   You have to be face-to-face with them.  Trust me, it's hard to refuse someone so passionate.

All my very best,

Puneet Dutt

There are so many jobs in Toronto right now.  Most employers are struggling to keep up with demands.  Canadians are friendly, but there is always competition for employment (even social work).  Get your resume out as much as is possible.  Pepper the industry with a high quality resume and with hard work you will succeed.  Here is a list of the biggest Toronto Job Sites:
torontojobsites.com

Good Luck in your search.  :)

degrey :

I've had the same problem here and  I had some issues in Vancouver too. . There seems to be a very "small world" prospective in this country. Even if you have great experience gained abroad, which in my mind should be a plus, it doesn't seem to matter here.
My impression is it is very much about who you know, so try and network as much as you can. I have gone and had coffee or drinks with over 65 people for my profession. Another issue is it is the summer and a lot of people tend to take time off.
Good luck though and I share your annoyance, but it isn't you :-) Ashley

hi ashley,
i wish you luck on your job search. it is one of the most challenging things. i took a severance package from my job in investment banking as i needed to make a change. i focused on an area i was drawn to: healthcare. i took a significant salary cut but love what i do. i work at a large paediatric hospital and everyday feel blessed. i do feel for newcomers. i'm a 3rd generation cdn so it wasn't that long ago that my great grandfather made the journey over from ireland. so again, i see that canada does have a harder employment sector to crack sometimes. we need the workforce/human capital but it is hard to get in unless you're in a high demand field. i was persistent in my job search and in the end weighed two job offers and took the one my heart told me to take. i'm so glad i did. really wish you the best of luck. cheers,
k

businessexchange :

Rosita,

Just walk into your dream organization, and say I want to volunteer my time, and I won't take no for an answer.  That's what I did, when I was told there wasn't enough space, because they had too many volunteers already.  I insisted, and finally I asked them, if there was something else I could do, than what the volunteers normally do.  I asked them 'is there any problem or issues I can solve for you?"  they said yes, they couldn't seem to figure out how to get younger people interested in coming to the gallery.  And that's how it all started.  I strategically got to thinking about how best to solve the problem, came to them, and said I was willing to spearhead the initiative myself, that would solve that very problem. Applications never work,   You have to be face-to-face with them.  Trust me, it's hard to refuse someone so passionate.

All my very best,

Puneet Dutt

puneet, you are so right. we have to step outside of our comfort zones and really put ourselves out there when chasing a new job/opportunity. even more so when its in a new sector or job market. congrats on your success!
cheers,
k

foxxwrites :

Yes, it seems like it's important here to volunteer. Where I come that is not the case, since most social work is done by people employed by a city or the government. I've been looking into it, and I even went to an information meeting and signed up. That was in May and they said they would be in contact after the summer. After that I haven't found anything really interesting, except an art event in October, but that isn't in my line of work. Oh yes, I have actually sent in applications to some other volunteer organizations, but they haven't even been in touch. It's weird, since they should be happy about someone with 20+ years experience who wants to volunteer, right?

I will look into this a little more and see what I can find. Maybe I can call one of the places where I have applied and ask if they need some help, even if they didn't choose me for employment.

Rosita

hi rosita,
i think the posts you've received are all very good. if you decide you want to try a new field, you may qualify for a program run by the provincial government called "second careers" - if you qualify (you have to achieve a score of 16 on a matrix of needs assessment etc) it offers up to 22k in funding towards retraining in a new (high demand) career and pays you unemployment benefits while you study. you may be able to segue into a new career and use social work as a platform. maybe you have to reinvent yourself to a certain degree. i really wish you the best of luck. you must guard your state of mind and your spirit as every day requires you to hit the pavement (so to speak) until you find that job. cheers,
k

Hi Rosita,

How is the job search going now?  I think if you update your resume, go networking, and get nice business cards made, that will be good.  Another tactic being used is an online resume.  Do you know anyone who could help you design a site?  Sometimes those small things help you stand out from the other candidates.

Since we're a business company, let me know if there's any other help you need.

Puneet

i think the posts you've received are all very good. if you decide you want to try a new field, you may qualify for a program run by the provincial government called "second careers" - if you qualify (you have to achieve a score of 16 on a matrix of needs assessment etc) it offers up to 22k in funding towards retraining in a new (high demand) career and pays you unemployment benefits while you study. you may be able to segue into a new career and use social work as a platform. maybe you have to reinvent yourself to a certain degree. i really wish you the best of luck. you must guard your state of mind and your spirit as every day requires you to hit the pavement (so to speak) until you find that job. cheers,
k

Katyusha,

This sounds really interesting.  Where can I get more information about this?  I think this is really handy information to know for anyone.

Is there a website that has more information written about this, and the details?

Puneet

I suggest you send your resume to mdacentre.com or sibley.ca - they often need social workers to help with case management. Take a chance, who knows you could get lucky. Canada has been so very kind to us as a family and we absolutely love Toronto, so keep going, something will come up !!! Bev

Hello Foxxwrites.....my gosh reading your post takes me back a few months. I was in the SAME exact position. Qualified, experienced and an English speaker. That was not enough, the market place in Toronto is almost like an impenetrable fortress. it is ALL about whom you know, BUT how do you get to know people if you can't get a job. It took me 1 year to find a job after I got my PR.

NEVER in my life have I had such trouble finding a job. I worked in NYC and UK and it is much easier to get employment all round. The Resumes here read like adverts, "super at this, excel at that...." a bit of bulls**t if I may say so. It is all about timing and luck. I finally found someone who saw past all this, never asked for Canadian experience and gave me a job. Perhaps it is telling that my Manager is of Swiss origin and has a mostly "European" outlook on things.

All the best in your search. You will get there but it may take longer that you ever thought it would.

Ktyu :
degrey :

I've had the same problem here and  I had some issues in Vancouver too. . There seems to be a very "small world" prospective in this country. Even if you have great experience gained abroad, which in my mind should be a plus, it doesn't seem to matter here.
My impression is it is very much about who you know, so try and network as much as you can. I have gone and had coffee or drinks with over 65 people for my profession. Another issue is it is the summer and a lot of people tend to take time off.
Good luck though and I share your annoyance, but it isn't you :-) Ashley

hi ashley,
i wish you luck on your job search. it is one of the most challenging things. i took a severance package from my job in investment banking as i needed to make a change. i focused on an area i was drawn to: healthcare. i took a significant salary cut but love what i do. i work at a large paediatric hospital and everyday feel blessed. i do feel for newcomers. i'm a 3rd generation cdn so it wasn't that long ago that my great grandfather made the journey over from ireland. so again, i see that canada does have a harder employment sector to crack sometimes. we need the workforce/human capital but it is hard to get in unless you're in a high demand field. i was persistent in my job search and in the end weighed two job offers and took the one my heart told me to take. i'm so glad i did. really wish you the best of luck. cheers,
k

Hi Ktyu,
I read your post, and felt very amazed by how you decided to follow your heart to work in health care field regardless the pay cut. I too always wanted to work in health care and even studied science in US university before moving here to be able to work in clinical environment. Since you are working in a hospital, I wonder if you could give me some insight about how they recruit people. I graduated and moved here for 7 months now and have desperately tried to get to work in the hospital but everything seemed so hopeless. Resume kept being sent out and never once any reply return.

Hi All,

This is a multilevel/multilayer problem ..., but I've summed it up to sagun_26 by saying:

"Many times people get excited when talking about Canada, but I always tell them the truth which is:

"Not everyone can succeed in Canada or adapt to the life there" "

In this thread
http://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=89031

About landing a job, I've advised Chia here:
http://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=77879

Really important advise to landing a job in Canada, worth your read.

About living in Canada (which city etc):

http://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=1602
&
http://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=46064


1. Try to learn the accent & look Canadian, it's all about perception & this is layer #1.
Europeans as Europeans can be perceived in a negative light (well that goes to almost everyone else lol). So, if you don't “fit” you won't fit.

2. It's always a good idea to start a small business aside, nothing fancy. I can help you (check my profile) with that. So please PM me and don't hesitate you can advertise services through a website & that can bring you extra $ and might be your main income source in the future (depends on how much effort you put in it). I will build you a simple (nicely designed though) & working website for free (minus hosting & domain name which is a yearly thing)

3. Try smaller cities like Niagara Falls (it's just 45 min from Toronto).I believe that you gonna find work there in your filed, social working is big there & the job demand is high (tourism).

4. Try to make a good network of friends

5. Over qualification is a ground for not been hired. Why? Because if you are over qualified that can lead to a dissatisfied employee! So, try to to tweak your resume and enter middle career instead of trying middle companies with big resume. With 20 years of experience, few places will really need that much. People with that much experince are still with the same work place for years.

6. Canadian experience dilemma! It's a sad situation like who came first eggs or chicken lol   To work you need CE but to get CE you need to work. Many doctors, engineers, etc come here and work as taxi drivers, pizza delivery drivers, etc! Because of this. There was a doctor who spend 9 years until finally he was accepted and found a job in the Hamilton general hospital! So, if you came to Canada already a “filled cup” you gonna find a hard time. That doctor failed the medical test many times in particular the Canadian accent part ...   so you can take courses again and find internship as part of your course. It's a difficult/stupid situations but not an impossible one.

7. Canada is a place to start over not simply continue from where you've left off! It's a new & big world. Your aim should be to immigrate not simply relocate. You can't expect a country to confirm to you but it should be the way around & that's the truth. Look at it with an open mind & try to understand the way people think there, belive me it's different and once you can comminicate on the same frequency things will be much much smoother even with your interviews etc. Unfortunately, Canada is not as "friendly" as you might think.

Good luck, try my tips & give Niagara falls a try.

Hi every one ,

I got my visa finally after 7 years of waiting . we are moving to Toronto from 1st of january and fortunately I could rent a place in richmond hill before coming there. But now the most important part will be job , I really got dissapointed after reading these posts .

I am a metallurgical engineer but I have mostly experiences in sales and business field , what do you think ? which field should I go ? which way will be better for me?

I would say, number one is to be completely likeable to the people you will be working with and working for. I am a second generation Vancouverite who has lived and worked abroad. I worked in other countries for over 15 years. In my opinion, my own city is far and away the most difficult job market to break into AND make a decent salary (compared to cities in Alberta and in Hong Kong). A great deal of patience and determination is required. It could take you 2 years to get a decent job - a career step, not simply a survival job. Are you prepared, financially, mentally, and emotionally? If you naturally have church contacts, volunteer ideals, sports or special interest ties, in your FIRST country, those social skills are crucial in the Canadian setting. Canadians need to trust and like in the work setting; excellence at the job is expected. There are hundreds of applicants for every job opening that 90% of immigrants are trained for. You have to stand out - and your likeability is even more key than your mountaintop achievements in many fields. Someone said, 'serving in third world countries' showed commitment that is valued in Canada. People here don't like snobs and bullies (although we have our share of them). Be extremely flexible, good-natured, accommodating, and top-notch at the job - volunteer or paid. Also, very important: many restaurant owners say something like this: I worked my way up, starting with washing dishes; now I own the franchise. This is still a rags to riches nation - in transition, for sure. But if certain work is "beneath you" how do you propose to survive and thrive in a city whose top industries involve commodities and tourism? Don't sell yourself short, but show yourself willing to be the best, at anything along the path of greatness.

Sorry, but I wish to correct a mistake: Alberta is not another country :) I meant to say I worked OUT OF PROVINCE, and abroad for over 15 years (US, CHINA, and Alberta)

Hi there,
You are not alone in the struggle of finding a job. To be honest, it's hard. I completed Algonquin College International Business Management Post-Graduate diploma course in August of 2016 and it's now November and still have not had any leads. I've applied to countless number of employers and till this day I have not even had a reply.
I do not even have a problem working minimum wage but they don't even want to hire!
It is extremely frustrating knowing very well you are more than qualified for a job but they end up using Canadian experience to ignore you. How does one gain "Canadian experience" without being employed in the first place!
Honestly, I am utterly disappointed in this country. To think I moved from Ottawa to Toronto just to be able to make ends meet.

I understand and have a great deal of sympathy for your position. I, too, was given a very rosy picture of Canada as a land of wonderful opportunities and in desperate need of immigrants. Reality was a very different story and, in spite of excellent qualifications from one of the best universities in the world, my experience was very much like yours although my profession was different. Bluntly, I felt I was thrown on the garbage heap.
Here are a few suggestions I hope will help you.
1. Look on getting a job as selling yourself and apply the same marketing principles. Target a few potential employers you would really like to work for and learn as much as you can about them. In each case, you should then tell the employer exactly what benefit he would gain from you working for him. You need to convince him that you know the organization thoroughly and have chosen it above all others.
2. Don't send out large numbers of resumes. Focus on your targets as explained in 1.
3. Deliver your application personally and be very pleasant to the receptionist or whomever else you give it to. The nice applicants are remembered and put to the top of the heap but the applications from the not-so-nice end up in the garbage very soon.
4. Think about what other skills you have to offer. Do an inventory of all the positive things about yourself and look beyond the box. Some of your abilities might fit very well with some career other than social work and be something you'd really enjoy doing.

i had the same experience as you with attempts to volunteer and there's always the question of what you're supposed to live on while you work free of charge. Working at some dead-end minimum wage job not only leaves you struggling to exist but undermines your self esteem. The longer you stay in these kinds of jobs, the harder it is to get a job in your own field. I believe you are worth something far better and  should focus your time and energy as I've suggested.
I wish you the very best.

Hello everyone,

Please note that this thread is from 2011. The feedbacks can still benefit members though there may be slim chances for any response to your queries if you have any.

Better you create your own topic on the Toronto forum.

All the best,
Bhavna

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