For those considering making a move to Vancouver and trying your hand at living and working here, we’ve collaborated with Vancouver’s Vantastic VA, a one-stop relocation service, to share some tips for finding a job in Vancouver as a foreigner.
With the help of Vantastic founder and owner, Taryn Bywater, we’re here to help you get hired, fast!
Follow these 10 tips for finding a job in Vancouver:
1. Set Up your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
Firstly, you will need to go to a Service Canada office and get your Canadian Social Insurance Number (SIN). This allows you to start working and open up a bank account – to deposit your very first Canadian pay cheque!
2. Revise your CV
Revise your CV into Canadian ‘resume’ format. Remember, the key to a Canadian resume is to secure an interview. Besides basic contact information and employment status (Visa, PR, citizenship etc.), just provide key career highlights in chronological order. Extensive details are not required as they can be provided once you’ve secured an interview. Vantastic can help you with your resume and provide interview guidance to help you find the Canadian career you are after.
Bonus Tip #1: Provide a local phone number – Managers will not call an overseas number to schedule an interview.
3. Use Recruitment Companies
Contact and register with local recruitment companies. Vancouver has many different recruitment companies that specialize in specific employment fields. For example, if you are looking for a tech job, you may want to check out Annex Consulting, Ignite or IT/IQ; for temps and trades, try Impact Recruitment; and for hospitality and retail, JRoss.
4. Attend Job Fairs
Regularly peruse job search websites and keep an eye out for job fairs – they happen frequently in the summer and are a great way to gain interview experience as they are often conducted on the spot. We recommend these job sites: Indeed, Linkedin, Glassdoor, Craigslist, Bcjobs.ca, Monster, Workopolis, Government of Canada. Subscribe to job listings updates based on your interests and credentials.
5. Get a Mentor
Contact your local “S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Employment Services” to hear about job listings in Vancouver, attend free mentoring sessions and receive help with resume writing.
Your network is your network – this may not come naturally to you but you need to learn how to sell yourself. The more contacts you make, the higher the likelihood of securing leads and eventually, a job. Consider printing business cards using Vistaprint or any office supply retail outfit like Staples. Join networking groups like MeetUp, InterNations. Here you’ll be given the opportunity to meet new people, many of whom may have similar professional credentials as you, keep abreast of industry happenings, and potentially, find fruitful leads. Follow up with new contacts with an email and a copy of your newly formatted resume – this way you will have a better chance of being remembered. Do not be disheartened if you don’t receive a reply immediately. Follow up a week later with an offer of a coffee in exchange for information and guidance. Most people are willing to help even if they can’t offer you a job.
7. Transfer your Credentials
If you have professional credentials, (i.e. engineer, accountant etc.), register with the professional societies active in BC. This will be the first step in acquiring comparable credentials in BC (i.e. like a P.Eng).
8. Apply in Person
If you are looking for a job in the service industry, the best thing to do is apply in person. Dress professionally and ask to speak to the manager. A cover letter goes a long way, so conduct some research on the establishments you are targeting and tailor a letter to them specifically. It needn’t be lengthy – even just a greeting – but it should be personalized. You can call places beforehand to find out the name of the manager, for example, and address the cover letter to them.
Bonus Tip #2: Use cover letters to differentiate yourself – Impress employers with well written personalized letters that address specific job requirements.
9. Look for Seasonal Positions
If you are here for summer employment it is best to apply for seasonal jobs to gain employment right away: general labour, landscaping, painting, serving, hostel work, tour operators, hotel housekeeping and nanny positions are in high in the summer months. Look for these jobs on the sites listed in #4 and follow the advice in #8!
10. Have an Open Mind
When finding a job in Vancouver, remember to open your mind and loosen your parameters. Your first job may not be your dream job but it is a stepping stone and resume builder! The Vancouver job market is filled with a variety of opportunities.
Have a look at our other Vantastic posts:
Vantastic helps ensure your move is smooth, efficient and as worry-free as possible helping with accommodation, employment, mobile/internet/cable deals etc. Think of them as your first Canadian friend!