International Students

Finding a job in can be difficult in any country, but it can be even more challenging if you are an international student. However, by following the best job-searching tips, you can position yourself for successful employment opportunities. For starters, you want to ensure that you fully understand Canada’s specific work regulations. It is important to note that you must apply for a Social Insurance Number. With a Social Insurance Number, you can work a certain number of hours depending on your visa status. For example, your work week is limited to 20 hours if you have a study permit. You can receive a Post Graduate Work Permit for up to three years as an international student after receiving your degree, but the length of time you receive a Post Graduate Work Permit for will depend on how strictly you adhered to the criteria when you were a student. Visit the Post Graduate Work Permit Regulations for additional information.

Job Searching Strategies

Now that you know what you legally require to obtain a job in Canada and how many hours you are eligible to work, it is time to begin your career planning. A successful job or internship search involves using a combination of strategies. Here are some tips for international students:

Explore the Labor Market: Studying the current labour market is an excellent strategy for career planning, in other words, learning about job trends, the skills employers are seeking, which industries are hiring, where jobs are located, and the areas of job growth or decline. Ultimately, researching labour market trends and positioning yourself to fill gaps in the labour market is a way for those who hold post-graduate work permits or permanent resident status to contribute to the Canadian economy.

Identify Your Skills: Knowing your strengths is essential for creating an effective cover letter and resume and filling out application forms. This could persuade potential employers that you are the ideal candidate. Your skills can come from prior employment, volunteer work, education, and even activities in your personal life. Make sure to tailor your skills based on each job you apply for.

Research International-Employee-Friendly Employers: Hiring international employees is an advantage for many organizations. Researching which companies have hired international students in the past will help you narrow down your options.

Choose a Resume Style That Fits You Best: Make sure to choose and create an appropriate resume style and write a powerful cover letter before applying. Choosing the right resume style will ensure that you highlight your most important attributes whether it be experience, education, and/or skills. Seek advice and feedback from the Career Services team on how to highlight your international experience in your Canadian resume.

Network: An essential part of job searching is networking. Building your professional network allows you to access the hidden job market – referring to the 80 percent of vacant positions that are not published openly. You have an advantage if you learn about opportunities through your network. Networking involves using a variety of personal and professional connections to gain information about the profession or industry you are looking to enter. These individuals might be classmates, professionals, senior alumni, or an employer of interest.

For this reason, it is essential to participate in job fairs, volunteermake the most of your LinkedIn page, and maintain connections with current and former students. Making these connections can lead to you receiving referrals in the future. It may not come easy to some people to have these kinds of conversations; therefore, the more you practice and speak with people, the more comfortable you will become. Try to arrange informational interviews to help you prepare for formal interactions – and learn about the labour market and employers, and make connections – in the meantime! 

Another key to networking and finding employment is using websites specifically geared to international students. Here are a few, and there are many more out there!

  1. National Occupational Classification
  2. Canada Job Bank
  3. Student Application Form for Employment
  4. Moving 2 Canada
  5. Prepare for Canada
  6. Ways International Students get Hired

If you are an international student needing help with your career planning and job search, reach out to Career Services to request an appointment with one of our Career Advisors.

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