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(Cinders McLeod/Cinders McLeod)
(Cinders McLeod/Cinders McLeod)

Nine To Five

I’m new to Canada. How do I crack the job market? Add to ...

THE QUESTION:

I am an immigrant to Canada, with a sociology degree and two diplomas. I try not to let my co-workers know about my qualifications but they have devised plans in the guise of job promotions where they ask for my résumé and when they observe my qualifications they become more hostile and the posting is either withdrawn or someone else gets the position.

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I am a hard worker and think nothing of starting from the bottom. However, it has come to the stage whereby I can no longer put up with this type of behaviour toward me. I have been told I am too confident and happy and that I should be taught a lesson. As a result, I’ve decided to leave Canada. It’s a shame, as I really like this country and I thought it would be great to be an immigrant. I have spoken to agencies who even offered to visit my employers. Do you have any advice for me?

THE FIRST ANSWER:

Greg Conner

Vice-president, human resources, League Financial Partners, Victoria

I can only imagine the challenges faced by you and other immigrant workers as they integrate into the Canadian work force. Workplaces are demanding and highly competitive for the average Canadian, let alone for its valued newcomers.

While educational background and credentials play a role, Canadian employers focus on a number of other key factors when selecting the best candidate for a job. Some of the most common include competencies, personality and behavioural traits, adaptability, and overall organizational fit. This approach can be unfamiliar to people who have previously been awarded jobs based on education or technical ability alone.

A number of wonderful organizations focus on offering support and assistance to immigrants seeking work in Canada, and I encourage you to reach out to them if you haven’t already. I also encourage you to familiarize yourself with as many Canadian employers as possible and learn what they look for in selecting a candidate. Perhaps most important, seek feedback from your current or prospective employers about why you haven’t been successful in obtaining a position. Most employers are happy to provide post-competition feedback, much of which can be helpful in preparing for your next interview.

Do not give up on Canada; we truly are a living mosaic made stronger by having immigrants who bring their cultural diversity for all Canadians to learn from, just as they learn from other Canadians.

THE SECOND ANSWER:

Zuleika Sgro

Human resources partner and talent manager, Questrade.com, Toronto

The work force is filled with difficult situations and to build your career you have to overcome adversities that you face. I advise you to truly ask yourself what you want, what you expect, and how you will get there.

The best advice I have received in my career is that you can and do create your own destiny – not others. By your description of your experience you may be focusing only on the negatives. Surely, there must be positive aspects to your experience in Canada.

I encourage you to research all the possibilities and opportunities in Canada before you move on. There is an employer out there for everyone – it just takes time. There are ample resources in Canada for newcomers. You are still the one who needs to get the job, but they will support you with resources to help get you there.

In terms of your qualifications and how you present them on your résumé, it is important for employers to see your most relevant experience to the role you are applying for. Be sure to focus on relevancy rather than disguising your qualifications. Be upfront with all the qualifications you have, but ensure they are relevant to the position. If you are overqualified, or under-qualified, the relevancy of your experience and skills will determine if it’s the right fit for you.

Are you facing a burning issue at work? Need help navigating that minefield? Let our Nine To Five experts help solve your dilemma. E-mail your questions to ninetofive@globeandmail.com. Confidentiality ensured. Weigh in with your view at tgam.ca/careers.

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