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I’m well qualified, but can’t make inroads in Canada Add to ...

THE QUESTION

I was earning the equivalent of $120,000 as a marketing manager in the United Kingdom. I am bilingual, hold three master’s degrees and have 10-plus years of experience. In the U.K., I was head-hunted, but here in Canada – nothing.

I have applied to all kinds of jobs and don’t understand why I do not even get an answer. Canada is supposed to be welcoming to all races, but my family, friends and previous manager are shocked by a narrow-minded job market. Adding to my struggle, the job developer at our immigrant bridge program humiliates us with a constant stream of $10-an-hour positions to apply to.

Does Canada have enough interesting jobs with European-level salaries for European immigrants, versus what the government advertises when recruiting us? How can I get into the job market when no one will even grant me an interview?

THE FIRST ANSWER

Eileen Chadnick

Principal, Big Cheese Coaching, Toronto

You have experience, a solid education and proficiency in two languages. These are all good things, but as a newcomer you don’t yet have a feel for the Canadian job market nor a network to tap into. You aren’t known yet so you wouldn’t be getting calls from recruiters. To change your situation and improve your job prospects, you need to improve your job search strategy.

Relying entirely on job listings is a limited approach – for anyone. Find ways to uncover hidden jobs. You also need to build your brand in Canada and network, network, network. You need to establish relationships, become known and learn about the Canadian marketing landscape.

Go to marketing conferences, join a local association and get active on LinkedIn – join groups, start conversations, share articles and write your own, too.

Seek opportunities where your languages and U.K. experience can be useful, especially given our increasingly global economy. But you must also show that you understand the Canadian landscape.

Hire a résumé and career strategist to ensure you effectively convey your story for employment in the Canadian market.

Canada indeed has a diverse population, which is increasingly reflected in the work force. Park the judgments and be persistent. If you put in the right effort, you will indeed start to see more success. Welcome to Canada.

THE SECOND ANSWER

Bruce Sandy

Principal, Pathfinder Coaching & Consulting, Vancouver

You have excellent academic qualifications and good work experience. Consider shifting your attitude and your perspective.

Figure out why you are not landing interviews here. Call the companies you have applied to and get candid feedback on your cover letter, résumé, qualifications and experience. Ask them to be specific. Take notes about what you need to change to start landing some interviews.

Customize your cover letter and résumé for each position. Your résumé and cover letter should reflect the skills, traits and experience that are outlined in the job ad.

Most positions in the private sector are never advertised. You need to do your homework. Research the companies that you would like to work for and go on information interviews. Be open to taking on contract work if full-time or part-time work is not immediately available.

Build your professional network. Attend and make presentations at conferences and meetings. Be patient and persistent. It takes as many as five to eight contacts to land a position.

Got a burning issue at work? Need help navigating that mine field? Let our Nine To Five experts help solve your dilemma. E-mail your questions to ninetofive@globeandmail.com

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