Five tips to help you get recharged and re-inspired in your Canadian job search

We asked Joan Bassett, a career coach with Directions for Immigrants in Calgary for advice to help immigrants and refugees get recharged and re-inspired about their job search efforts.

Career Success and Planning,Newcomer Health and Wellness,Settlement and Life in Canada

June 16, 2022

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

In summary:

  • Skilled immigrants and refugees are highly in demand across Canada as labour shortages continue and the Canadian workforce rapidly ages.
  • However, many newcomers still experience frustration in their Canadian job searches.
  • A change in approach focusing on proactive steps as well as actionable, controllable factors, in pursuit of your career advancement, can help alleviate some of that frustration.

Skilled immigrants and refugees are in high-demand by employers across Canada. As the Canadian workforce ages more rapidly than ever before, this has created 1 million vacant jobs offering career opportunities in every sector including in-demand jobs in health care, IT and community services.

However, recent polling suggests newcomers feel less optimistic about the Canadian job market and perceive it as unfair or inequitable. They also report feeling as though their international credentials are under-valued in Canada.

Windmill’s Career Planning and Success Centre is a one-stop virtual hub offering skilled immigrants and refugees many helpful downloadable resources to empower you on your journey to reach your career development goals in Canada. Click here to visit the Centre, today.

Job searches, in particular, can be frustrating for new Canadians as you navigate new networks, job interviews, bridge programs and accreditation requirements. We asked Joan Bassett, a career coach with Directions for Immigrants in Calgary for advice to help immigrants and refugees get recharged and re-inspired about their job search efforts. Through her work, Bassett recognizes the frustration immigrants experience but is confident some changes in approach can help alleviate many of those feelings.


Joan Bassett of Directions for Immigrants says there are actionable steps newcomers can take to address their feelings of frustration about their Canadian job search.

Tip #1: Hit “reset” and go back to your goals

When you came to Canada, what were your goals? Remind yourself about those goals when faced with a challenge in your job search that’s causing you frustration. Hit the “reset” button, like a computer. Put setbacks behind you, learn from them and look forward. Ask yourself, what actions are you taking to achieve your Canadian career advancement goals? What are you avoiding that will help you achieve these goals? What will it take for you to find the work you want? Reflecting on your goals, actions and approach can be a powerful and inspiring exercise.

Tip #2: Job hunt not going as planned? Change your approach.

A famous proverb states “Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.” If what you are doing is not working for you, ask yourself what needs to change? If you are resisting activities like networking, how is that serving you? I worked with one newcomer client who was very quiet and considered herself shy. We talked about the value of networking in a Canadian job search, which she was very uncomfortable with. Regardless, she pushed herself to reach out to people through LinkedIn, conducted informational interviews and soon found work in her profession. In other words, she changed what she was doing and achieved different results.

Tip #3: Take charge of your job search

Proactively identify which companies you’re most interested in and target them. Research these companies and seek out opportunities to meet people who work in these organizations. Consider attending public or community events where you can learn more about the company or look out for networking or recruitment functions hosted by the organization. Many employers across Canada are actively recruiting talent due to labour and skills shortages, if you can connect with people in the organization, you can put yourself in a good position to pursue internal job opportunities.

Windmill Microlending · Joan Bassett talks about ways to help immigrants and refugees gain valuable Canadian experience


Tip #4: Learn something new about your profession

Canadian companies will be more interested in you once you know about the Canadian regulations and laws that impact the type of work you do. For example, if you’re a civil engineer, review the building code so you understand Canadian requirements. Understanding these Canadian and province-specific nuances can help you progress in your career. An industry-focused mentor can also help share these insights.

Tip #5: Revisit your accomplishments and strengths

Reflect on what you have to offer a potential employer. Canada attracts the best and brightest immigrants from around the world. You are one of them. When you don’t know what you have to offer, you will have a harder time communicating this to prospective employers. Need help with this? Start by taking an inventory of your credentials, strengths, skills and abilities. List examples of your professional achievements. Recognize your value. Still having a hard time? Find a career coach who has expertise in identifying what gets the attention of Canadian employers.

Looking for work as a newcomer in Canada can be difficult and challenging, at times. However, if you employ an approach focusing on action and the things within your control, you can decrease your frustration and increase your chances of achieving career success. Be gentle with yourself. You may experience challenges on your journey toward your goals but you can reach your ultimate destination.

Find some helpful newcomer resources and career paths for skilled immigrants offered by Directions for Immigrants.

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