An Analytical Approach to Job Surfing in Canada

By Mayank Sharma, CTDP (in progress)

A couple of days ago, I completed six months in Canada! I landed on the 3rd of October in 2019 and was staying in Toronto. During that time, I went on from receiving no calls to receiving multiple calls in around 1.5 months. With this article I want to try and share that how I, a newcomer, approached my job search process in Canada. Bear in mind, this was before the attack of the present day global pandemic. Yet all happy endings are a culmination of the kind of efficient struggle I learned to incorporate and respect in my hectic career quest as a newcomer to Canada.

As a newcomer, the only thing on one’s mind is usually landing a new job. Depending on your profession, the time required to land a relevant job will vary. While it took me over five months to get my dream job, I have friends who got their dream jobs within just two weeks of searching. I don’t know how they did it. So the very first thing to keep in mind is don’t compare your story with someone else’s. Secondly, be a bit patient. You may have been a star performer back at your old job. But understand that Canada is filled with star performers and so it takes time for employers to notice you.

As per my experience, there are two ways via which you can land an interview; offline (and online) networking or applying for jobs via portals. Networking is known to be the quickest way but I did not know anybody and so I chose the alternate route and this is what I did:

1. I took time to understand what I wanted: After leaving Accenture, I had an option to pursue my career in as many as 7 different directions. The biggest challenge you’ll face is to decide which direction you want your career to go in. And this is the most important step because your entire search depends on understanding what you want. If you’re not sure about this, you’ll get confused while making your résumé. And if the confusion is reflected in your résumé, the recruiter will get confused — that’s the last thing you want.

2. I took time to understand the job market : When you move from one country to another, you should be ready to accept norms of the new country. If you’re from a regulated field, you might have to appear for licensing exams. If you’re from a non-regulated field, you might have to appear for some optional certifications. To understand about your field, reach out to experienced professionals on LinkedIn and send out requests for an informational chat.

3. I revised (and workshopped) my résumé multiple times : The only purpose of a résumé is to get you an interview call. If you’re struggling to get an interview call then your résumé is not doing its job properly. This step is tricky because perfecting a résumé takes time and there’s no sure way to test its efficiency. The only way we can understand a résumé’s effectiveness is by measuring its outcome via the number of interview calls or responses received. I’m NOT a Certified Resume Strategist (CRS) but I think the most important step would be to ensure that your résumé is ATS-friendly. ATS or Applicant Tracking System is a software that enables electronic handling of recruitment and hiring needs. In simpler terms, if your résumé cannot pass through the ATS, you’ll get rejected even before the recruiter sees your résumé.

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How to make your résumé ATS-friendly? Keep your résumé simple! The image on the left shows page 1 of my résumé. Also understand that recruiters don’t have a lot of time to go through your entire résumé. So the simpler your résumé is, the better for them.

Another thing to remember is to ensure your résumé has all the major keywords that are shown in the job description. If possible, scatter the keywords at multiple places, throughout the resume.

One thing that worked in my favour was quantifying my achievements. And this strategy was shared by one of Deloitte’s Talent Transformation Manager during an informational chat.

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He had said, “When a job posting goes up, two people will apply for the same job and both will have almost similar job duties listed in their résumé. As a hiring manager, why should I select one person over another? To get recruiter’s attention, ensure that you show the impact in your resume i.e. what happened when you did xyz thing.” Hence, my career highlight section has quantification for my success stories.

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Another thing which I did was, I designed my résumé with Z-pattern in mind. A Z-Pattern design traces the route the human eye travels when they read — left to right, top to bottom. This means that, for top half of my résumé, all the important points were towards the right side and as the résumé progressed, the important points were shifted towards the middle and left side. To understand this point, review the page 1 of my résumé which is shown above.

4. I met recruiters from various staffing agencies : Two recruiters who really helped me out with getting my perfect résumé were Mayuri Ramesh from MaxSys Staffing & Consulting and Pooja Puri from Recruiting in Motion. While Mayuri helped me with what content I should have in my résumé, Pooja helped me with how to improve the document’s efficiency. I strongly suggest you to get in touch with multiple recruiters from various staffing agencies. The reason being, each recruiter has unique insights to offer.

5. I kept my LinkedIn profile updated : As per an article on Forbes, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 225 million members. In the article, the writer has very rightly said that over the past decade, LinkedIn has become an essential personal branding tool. That’s the reason your LinkedIn profile needs to be updated regularly. Also ensure that your LinkedIn profile is properly complimenting your résumé. If there’s a mismatch between your résumé and LinkedIn profile, chances are high that the recruiter will not take your candidature ahead.

Searching for a new job in a new country can seem like a daunting task. But with an analytical approach like how I outlined above, you can get the results. These are the steps that worked for me. I hope they help you as well! If you have any additional points to add, feel free to do so by adding your comments below.

Mayank Sharma is a learning and development specialist at Raymond James Ltd. in Vancouver, BC.

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