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THE QUESTION

I am an immigrant from the U.K. who arrived in Quebec during the last quarter of 2016 with a double major in English literature and psychology from a recognized university outside of Canada. I have more than 40 years of international experience in teaching, mentoring, instructing, coaching and building in training centres (including recruitment of professionals. And I have been attending courses with MIDI since 2017 to polish my French language abilities and to be able to find a job matching my qualifications here. Still, I cannot get an interview, even for clerical jobs. News reports say employers are struggling to find employees, and that there are opportunities in the gig economy. It seems no one is even looking at my résumé.

THE FIRST ANSWER

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Bruce Sandy

Principal, Pathfinder Coaching and Consulting, Vancouver

You need to figure out why no one is contacting you for an interview. You will also want to increase your visibility in the job market and develop and expand your network in Canada. The following are suggestions to address these areas:

  • Contact HR and hiring officials at companies/organizations where you have applied and ask for candid feedback on your résumés and cover letters by way of a telephone or an in-person meeting. Ask for specific changes they would recommend for you to land an interview at their companies. Make the necessary changes to your approach, preparation and documentation, thank the officials for their time and feedback, and ask them to keep you in mind for appropriate positions.
  • The majority of positions in the private sector are usually filled by word of mouth. Use your professional and personal network contacts to find out about potential openings and ask these individuals if you can use their names to line up formal or informal information interviews. Attend meetings, workshops, conferences and job fairs. Join professional or industrial associations to expand your networks.
  • Write blogs and articles that can be posted on professional and industrial websites, your own website and published online and in print. Also volunteer to make presentations at professional and business meetings on topics you are comfortable with, to increase your visibility.
  • Be active on social media and business-networking groups such as LinkedIn. Make posts, share information and articles, and let recruiters know that you are open to job offers.
  • Take a more active role in your job search through networking, being prepared and setting up information interviews. Be open and prepared to take on casual, part-time, project or consulting work to begin with. You will land a position much quicker this way.

THE SECOND ANSWER

Zuleika Sgro

VP, Retail & People Saje Natural Wellness, Vancouver

I can certainly understand your frustration and eagerness for action around your career and employment.

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My advice is to look at your application process more holistically.

Applying for roles is one avenue. The most impactful way is to network; get involved with community groups; outplacement services in your region and also look for opportunities to volunteer your skills.

Don't give up. Set a new goal for yourself each week of new people/groups to connect with.

LinkedIn is also a great avenue to join groups and find events in your industry.

It is also important to follow up on all your applications and ask for feedback. While you may not always receive a response, follow-up is really important, especially if you have an internal connection from a group or volunteer connection.

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