4 minutes read.
When I arrived in Canada on one of the cold sunny days of late fall 2015, I knew that this was going to be the next dramatic change in my life. After my long adventure from the Middle East, to East Asia, and to the heart of Europe, I was quite sure that the “Great White North” would be the last stop.
These life changes occurred way before I realized that I am a “change specialist” on my career path. I had been quite successful embracing changes, and mastering my destiny despite all the challenges and painful moments I endured. I transformed a lot, and when I came to Canada I already had many achievements and experiences. I was confident about building a brilliant career in the Canadian job market. On one hand, I was confident and positive, and on the other hand, I was worried, since I had heard many gloomy stories of professionals who failed to build a fruitful career aligned with their Canadian dream.
Job seeking, by nature, is a challenging process. Furthermore, when it comes to growing in a new land, having a job and building a career are not only essential but vital. To meet the people, learn about the culture and social norms, and get involved in everyday activities are imperatives for anyone who is new to a country. Therefore, I planned to first find a job, and then, begin to adapt and learn about the culture. However, things didn’t go as smoothly as I planned. Eventually, I decided to evaluate, analyze and go through the situation from the change management perspective. Here are my suggestions to transform effectively in a new environment:
Embrace the change: Now that you’ve chosen to come to a new country, it tremendously helps you to stop comparing your situation with your previous positions. Change already happened, so don’t resist! What you want to focus on is now. This perspective enables you either to continue your current profession in a totally new circumstance or to change your profession so that it will be closer to your passion. Either way, you should be ready to face difficulties, learn new skills, be patient and tolerant, and grow.
Plan strategically: Positioning yourself within local context is essential. Perform an extensive research on the local job titles, main tasks, qualifications, and average salaries for your profession, starting with a search on your past job titles. This information is useful in translating your resume into the professional language used by local professionals and companies. Associations and institutions supported by peer professionals provide additional information to strategically position yourself within the local job market, including how you can communicate your skills and experience.
Communicate and network: A genuine and proper communication plan is a key success factor for handling any change. I cannot emphasize more the importance of communicating and networking. Even if your resume is glowing and outstanding, you can hardly prove your passion and abilities in a formal setting like an interview. To me, informal settings create circumstances in which you can freely be yourself and show your expertise. Try to find experienced professionals in your field. Ask them to mentor you, connect you with other like-minded professionals, and teach you about roles, terminologies and other key features of your profession in Canada, or any other country. You can search for mentors in social networks like LinkedIn, or you can join the professional associations and attend networking events and meetings.
Do not take it personally: If your job seeking is not going well, do not take it personally. Canada is full of professionals in any field. In fact, “Immigrate as a skilled worker”, is one of the most popular programs of “Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada”. The department is very picky about the applicants, and I believe only those who are highly skilled are eligible, and at last, can win a permanent residency. As a result, the competition is very high in the job market, and companies don’t have clear criteria to benchmark the applicants with international, and specifically, non-Canadian working background. This applies to all new professionals and you can hear many similar stories across industries.
Measure your success: Every job application you send, every interview you attend, and every person you connect to, are signs of your success. Have in mind to “fail fast, and often”. This helps you learn more about the process, the culture, and your profession. The more you learn, the more you are ready to settle in your new home. If you can master your own emotions, you can successfully master the change. After all, the job seeking process in Canada is embedded in a larger meaningful process which I call the process of “adaptation to your new home”, one I am progressing through with passion.