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Ban on the "No Canadian Experience" Job Requirement?

Ontario plans to ban employers from requiring Canadian work experience in job postings or application forms. Even though Ontario plans to audit no Canadian experience rejection and AI hiring disclosure, newcomers to Canada need to understand how the hiring tool works to get ahead. Here is my interview on Global News. how hiring bias happens in prescreening without talking to recruiters/ hiring managers that include AI biases. Employers won't tell you their honest feedback to avoid lawsuits and human rights complaints. They normally reject you by saying "not a culture fit" " no local experience " or "lack of soft skills" which is captured on my AI bias with screenshots used by employers during the hiring phase. Here is my interview with CTV news about why many immigrants might be leaving as per Stat Canada.

I have more than 10 years + of leadership experience from award-winning companies. I saw biases in the hiring world as a hiring manager including in AI hiring tools and personality tests which impact immigrants and newcomers, read here. There are subconscious and conscious biases without a doubt even within AI hiring tools which are implanted by the hiring team. I don't recall getting training on auditing our biases when it comes to hiring immigrants. Therefore, I launch Teachndo to mentor immigrants in Canada after seeing most companies trying to tell immigrants to "fit in". Immigrants should be culture add not a cultural fit and this starts with us choosing the right employers. But choosing the employers could come with the privilege and where you are in your life. Bills must be paid, and we try to fit in by compromising our identity at times. I am guilty of that. I have hired and promoted immigrants in the corporate world by teaching the 7 Cs of career strategy. You need to be forever employable with the career strategy without trying to fit in as an immigrant.

Canada is planning to get 1.2 Million Immigrants, CBC interviewed me on this topic, and I have called out that free employment services need to do better in teaching career strategy read here.

For those who are not able to work with me 1:1, Please look into my free resources for Career Strategy and subscribe to the career channel.

Hear a story from my client who was featured in the news, how he went from rejection to landing 6 figures in 5 sessions. It is possible to bounce back in Canada but you need to work on yourself to stand out sometime. You can point a finger and blame the system but I have seen what immigrants lack in resumes, branding and interviews to stand out with locals in Canada.

What is the Canadian experience?

Let me go back to 2001!

When my husband got laid off in the States by Fortune 50 companies, we decided to move to Canada with a Permanent residency (PR) in a brand-new financed car with sleeping bags. He had applied for PR as a backup after researching the cost of living.

We met many qualified immigrants in Canada from all over the world including from States. At first, we thought getting a job in Canada would be a piece of cake. My husband graduated from University in the States and worked for a couple of years in the IT field. We thought the offers would be pouring in but zero interviews with self-doubt. He still had a student loan to pay from the States and a financed car. I remember going to the library to print out the resume for 10 cents/ page and sitting in agencies to register for survival jobs. Anything that paid more than the minimum age (7dollar) was an incentive.

Slowly, we had to get used to No Canadian experience rejection. Sitting at home wasn’t an option, I took on a fast-food job through a referral and my husband started a job hunt full time. We moved to a shared house where we shared a kitchen and living room. I learned a few Canadian lingoes and the culture during fast-food days. I picked up many lingoes by watching TV shows such as Friends, Seinfeld, Insider Edition, News and so on. I tried getting help at free employment services, but it was all survival jobs. Employment services didn't have the right support to help immigrants, read more.

Don't let the location/ diverse background/accent/colour/language hold you back!

My message to immigrants

Your today is not your tomorrow

Take a risk!

What is Canadian culture in the workplace?

I was called fresh off the boat (FOB) a few times!

I didn't have a clue what that meant. I wore it as a batch of honour. The phrase fresh off the boat (FOB), off the boat (OTB), are sometimes derogatory terms used to describe immigrants who have arrived from a foreign nation and have yet to assimilate into the host nation's culture, language, and behaviour, but still continue with their ethnic ideas and practices.

The work culture in Canada combines many new norms we are not used to back home. Calling everyone by name without adding sir/madam was a culture. Understanding the language was a hurdle, I had to focus on active listening. Relating to the jokes, slang and humour was harder during real conversations. Honestly, so many times when I watched TV shows/interacted with others, I laughed with others without understanding the humour. I had no idea how Canadian people celebrated Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween felt super weird. I didn’t care to ask either. The first shocker was when people used to open the gifts right in front of me. Back home we never used to open the wrapped gift and say thanks. We would only open the gifts after the guest left. I had to get used to the new norm.

I was too busy mingling with my kind of people during the weekend. I wanted to go back to college to save up for tuition, therefore worked two jobs, one in the morning and the other in the evening at the factory. My husband decided to take on a bridge job in a factory along with me for a couple of months. We saw many Internationally trained professionals in the factory. The same folks who qualified under immigration were not able to bounce back to a similar field in Canada. That is when I knew something was not right, everyone said “ rejected because of No Canadian Experience”.

Never thought our name mattered to get a job interview!

My husband shortened the name on his Resume, which sounded like an English name and got a few interviews and offers. Was that a coincidence, bias, or discrimination? here are types of biases in recruiting.

Google whitening a Resume and you will see much research on why English names are given the preference. 'Resume whitening' doubles callbacks for minority job candidates, study finds. We all have subconscious or unconscious biases, and they could start with our names. The problem is not in our names, the problem is with those recruiters and hiring managers who scan the names and don't call qualified career professionals. They need to be trained and audited regularly by employers. There are bad apples in the hiring industry that make immigrant journeys more difficult. Sometimes we need to play the game to win the battle, that's what my husband did 20 years ago. I am not recommending you change the name to an English name or consider shortening a longer name. I hope the situation has changed now. If you do decide to shorten the name/change it to an English name, I won't judge you. You have bills to pay and a family to take care of in a new country. Desperate time desperate measures. You do you!

Person of colour (POC)

I was working in KFC in the morning and the factory at night. My eyes wandered around to scan POC, especially South Asians to hang out with. During a lunch break, I noticed South Asians sitting with South Asians, Orientals sitting with Orientals, and Caribbeans sitting with the Caribbean talking in their native language. White people had their White tribe. Canadian-born and brought up had their tribe too. We all looked for a sense of belonging by talking to our race only, It was blatantly felt. Diversity and inclusion were not the priority topics back in the day. Joining different tribes other than your race was a gutsy and risky move. You would be labelled as "too Canadian" if you started to mingle with other races i.e. white, Canadian-born. Sometimes we need to get away from the immigrant circle and get to know other people too. I wish I started being curious about other cultures sooner. What would other people think has destroyed many dreams?

Trying new things

I was exploring the options and wanted to try new things. Before enrolling in the college, I took on an unpaid apprenticeship with IBM through manpower. I found out through a mutual friend at one party how people are getting Canadian experience by volunteering. There were lots of newcomers to this program. I met many Chinese immigrants who had their names changed to English names. This was a surprise to me. I started understanding the Canadian workplace. I learned the industry lingo and the environment in the call center/ customer service with non-stop calls. I got an award for quality and top sales from IBM. I held onto those certificates like a gold medal.

After the apprenticeship with IBM, CIBC hired me for a seasonal job in the call center through manpower around Christmas. That is when I decided to pursue a career in Customer service and Sales. I went back to college to upgrade my skills. Yes, I had to take English as a second language, and ESL courses even though I went to a top school back home. I hung out with other ESL South Asians in college. Whether it was a group project or assignment I knew who was going to pick me/ who I was going to partner with. No white or Canadian-born folks would partner with the majority of immigrants. I remember a white guy asking me for a GPA before partnering for an assignment. I made his list because I had a high GPA. We came first in the assignment and won the champagne award at the college. I kept that champagne with me for years as a trophy. As an immigrant, we get judged all the time and we have to prove over and over that we can compete with people born in Canada.

I started working in Retail sales part-time fully on a commission at Future Shop. I had to meet the quota or else I would be fired. Sales taught me how to deal with rejections and build confidence. I landed a job at the bank right after graduation through a job fair. CIBC offered me a personal banking role, but I declined and went with the new bank ING DIRECT at that time instead, which was a call center, and they had no branch. I chose a contact center job instead of sitting in a cubicle at the top bank with aggressive targets. I took a risk, and it paid off.

Corporate life

I was lost in the new workplace; this was my first good start in the corporate world from the retail industry. It took me time to adjust to the new environment with corporate jargon and slang. Covering my food when heating in the microwave was a new norm for me. Wearing corporate attire when I was size 00 (XXS) was a challenge. I used to shop in the kid's store and hope nobody saw me because it was cheaper and it would fit me perfectly. Making sure that I didn't smell like a curry in the elevator was a huge concern. Body spray, deodorant and perfume became my best friend. Canadian culture is not about working in corporate culture. It is about respecting other people's cultures and adjusting to a new lifestyle. At first, I used to be embarrassed to eat authentic food in front of others. I tried sandwiches or food without aroma during lunch to fit in. Nobody talked about the smell of cheese but the smell of my home-cooked curry meal attracted a bunch of conversations during lunch. After a while, I used food to form a relationship/network with others in the corporate world. I would add extra pieces of momo (dumplings) for my seniors, people I liked. Sometimes I would pack it separately and hand it over to the senior leaders. I invited a few of my mentors and seniors for dinner. I was known as a good cook. I used my cooking to fit in, bond, network, and learn.

Holiday season

As much as we talk about diversity and inclusion, immigrants feel left out during the holiday season. We try to blend by participating but without knowing what exactly to do. During team meetings when they said, "Secret Santa" I had no clue. All I knew was I was supposed to buy a gift and exchange it based on what they said. I never celebrated Christmas. People assume immigrants are supposed to know everything about festivals in Canada right after landing. I had no idea why people used to say, "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greeting" instead of "Merry Christmas. Not everyone celebrates Christmas in Canada. If you know someone who would celebrate Christmas, then go ahead and wish them Merry Christmas but it is safe to use Happy Holidays to greet your customers/ strangers/ networks without offending anyone. While everyone took a holiday during Christmas, I worked. I didn't celebrate Christmas until my kids started to show interest. To ensure that they don't feel left out at school, I started with Secret Santa and Christmas Tree just a few years ago. This is life as an immigrant, we do things to fit in.

Holidays are the best season to network and build relationships. I noticed Canadians were handing over wine/ gifts to their favourites/ bosses at the workplace during the holiday season. I took advantage of making homemade food for my favourite networks and showing appreciation. I didn't have a budget to buy gifts. If you do it genuinely you won't feel unpleasant about buying the gift. You need to learn how to build relationships. Always pay back in kind to those who support you. Holidays are the best to express gratitude, but the cost adds up. If you want to reach out to strangers for a job search, use networking strategies during the holiday season. Check out how to network.

Ordering coffee gave me self-doubt

The thought of buying coffee was wasting my hard-earned money. Who pays a dollar for coffee/tea when I can make it myself?

Immigrants from another part of the world where coffee was just sugar & milk with no options. Are you from there? I wrote about this here.

After landing in Canada, ordering coffee gave me self-doubt. I had to figure out what my taste was. How much sugar, cream, milk, and decaf, regular, dark roast, small size, medium, or large?

I was an instant coffee drinker at home and never bought coffee/tea. Lots of immigrants go through this phase when saving money. I used to carry a small thermos for the night shift. When I was new, I got the afternoon shift which was from 3:45 to 12 am. The cafeteria would be closed and there would be no hot water. I decided to make tea/ coffee for myself and my night shift close colleagues. One day during team meetings when my manager asked “How would you like a coffee”?, I had no idea how to order from Tim Hortons. She asked “Double double?” the term was new to me, I was nervous, and I had no clue. Do you know that feeling? I was embarrassed. I practiced ordering coffee later to avoid embarrassment in future. I didn’t even know they called Tim Hortons, Timmies and there are Timbits. I learned toonies and loonies at fast food, thankfully!

There was too much Canadian lingo to understand. To this day, I don't go to Starbucks to order a coffee, because I don't know how to order, and their coffee is too strong for me. To be safe, I order Black coffee/ Americano.

Your name is your identity

How many of you have a second name at Starbucks when ordering a coffee?

As an immigrant/people with non-English names, we have made things easy for others to fit in. When people used to mispronounce my name, I used to say "it is okay, you can call me that". I didn't have the guts/courage to correct them. I have heard people asking "do you have a nickname/another name/ short name"

We go through this journey all the time and try to make things easy for others while compromising our identity as immigrants. Including changing ethnic names to English names on our resume in the hope of getting a job.

Google "resume whitening" and you will know how English name gets picked most often by employers. There is discrimination, no doubt. I had a different name at Starbucks "Sara" for my cup. I no longer have Sara on my Starbucks cup. I am no longer allowing people to mispronounce or misspell my name. My name is Sweta, not Shweta, Seeta, or Sweeta. My name is my identity and I want to own that!

I can't get back what I lost

I can only move forward

I have evolved as an immigrant, person of colour & newcomer to Canada

This came with a privilege

If they can pronounce other things, they can try. Ask people how to pronounce their names before you start butchering their precious identity. How many of you have a second name/nickname to make things easy for others?

During lunch, in the corporate world, I noticed the same things, everyone had their tribe talking in their language. I knew two other languages therefore, I mostly hung out with South Asians. The workplace celebrated everything including Halloween where people used to dress up. I had no idea why I didn’t dress up for years. I looked for my kind of people to talk to and hang out with while Canadians brought up, used to talk about hockey games, basketball games etc., and I had no clue, and I didn’t care. When they started talking about a topic I had no clue about, I used to feel left out. I used to feel they are ignoring me and there was no sense of belonging.

After 2 years of landing, I decided to self-reflect on why am I not trying to learn new things in the new country. was it me? resistance to fit in and change my mindset?

  • I evolved as an Immigrant

  • I changed my thought process.

  • I started looking for people who didn’t look like me.

  • I started going to coffee chats and having lunch with people I barely knew at least once a week.

  • I started to ask "How was your weekend" more often "What's the plan for a long weekend"

  • I networked with folks in different departments to learn industry jargon/ language

  • I started to have small talk with people on the elevator ride, and not look down.

  • I started to compliment people when they looked good instead of staring up and down.

  • I started attending work events and team outings after hours

  • I started taking the initiative without being asked

  • I never left the meeting without talking, even if I could slide my last word with a valid opinion, I took that opportunity

  • I learned how to maintain eye- contact and build confidence when engaging in team meetings

  • I brought solutions to the table even though it was not part of my job

  • When there was a talk about hockey or basketball, I knew more details to add. I watched highlights of the games deliberately because I knew people at the workplace will be talking about it the next day.

  • I no longer felt like an outsider. I wish I had an open mind to Canadian culture right after landing. Finally, I felt like Canada was my second home!

Leadership lessons as a hiring manager

When I got promoted to the leadership role, I hired and referred many newcomers and implemented a few things. I partnered a new hire newcomer to Canada strategically with someone who has been in Canada. We organized potlucks, international food, international dress events, and international festivals, to give them a sense of belonging. I motivated them to dress up for Halloween unless they had a preference not to. Most newcomers were too shy to take part in work events. I could relate, that is why I dressed up and participated all the time as a manager. We wore the jersey for our supporting team during Hockey, Blue Jays and NBA seasons. It felt good to lead a team of diverse people from all around the world in the top bank. Employers and leaders need to understand the background of employees to lead high-performing teams. Make holidays more inclusive by not just decorating around Christmas. The leadership team could send happy Diwali, Eid Mubarak, etc to the floor. I used to send emails out to my team on most occasions. I used to adjust breaks for people during Ramadan for Friday prayers. Canada is bringing new immigrants and the workforce is drastically moving towards diversity and inclusion. Leaders with bias are going to be held accountable or left behind.

It is okay to say "I don't know"

I learned a lot from a corporate leadership culture, especially as a hiring manager and a coach for more than a decade. Whenever I was asked about topics/ things I had no clue about, I researched and found the answer. I learned to say, "I don't know but I will find the answer and get back to you". I learnt to ask, "Do you have someone who could point me in the right direction" and "could you provide the name of the person who is a subject matter expert in the answer I am looking for". I learnt to say, "I don't know, I am not an expert on this topic but here is someone". Something immigrants have challenges saying, we are never taught to say, " I don't know".

The perception of people back home when they say "I don't know" was treated differently. In the place I came from, if they are well educated or have a Ph.D., they are automatically considered experts in everything. You will still see many of these so-called experts in the panel within the community in every organization speaking on random topics. One can be an expert on a few things but not everything. Is this a cultural difference?

I have witnessed the challenges newcomers to Canada/ immigrants go through when compared to folks born and raised in Canada. I have hired many newcomers as a hiring manager. During the interview stage, a new immigrant to Canada would hardly say " I don't know" but wing the answer to look good. That approach hurts credibility. We need to change the mindset that it is okay to say, 'I don't know" but " I am willing to learn".

Is it bragging when you have a track record?

During interviews, newcomers to Canada lack to demonstrate evidence of their accomplishments. We are taught to not brag about ourselves back home and be humble. We try to deflect from receiving compliments. When you brag about yourselves with evidence it is not bragging. You have proven that you have the skills to get to your dream role. The interview is the time to humblebrag without being arrogant and that's the art of articulating your brand. I have battled all my life deflecting from the compliments, pats on my shoulder and questioning people's recognition. Do they mean it?

At work, when someone said good work for going above and beyond, I thought it was my duty. What's the big deal? it was my job. This is why I struggled to write my performance review and get a raise by not owning my accomplishments. Could this be my culture?

Back home, we were never taught how to act when someone says a good thing about us.

To career professionals, start owning your achievement and lock in the compliment folder. When the time comes, open those and brag about it by adding a quote. Add those on your LinkedIn about section too. You could also add testimonials to your resume/cover letter.

Lessons I have learned

After working in the corporate world for almost 20 years, as a new immigrant, a hiring manager and a Certified Career Strategist t teaching job search strategy, adapting to Canadian culture shouldn’t be delayed. If you don't do it, nobody will come to do it for you. You don't have to compromise your culture; you just need to adapt and be open to a new culture without giving up your identity. I wasn't aware that my accent changed after working in the corporate world for so long. People started to notice, a few even made fun of my accent, they thought I was trying hard to have a Canadian accent. Speaking in English all day started becoming the new norm. I used to be insecure about my accent, but now I celebrate with pride. The fact I speak 3 different languages is already a skill most don't have. Immigrants should be proud of having multiple languages under their belt. You just have to target the right employer who values diversity and inclusion. I no longer let people mispronounce/ misspell my name, I correct it for them. I used to say, "it's okay, you can call me that". I want my identity back. My name is my identity, and I am proud of it. I teach my kids the same when someone mispronounces their name they need to stand up.

Own your accomplishments

Within 12 years of working in an award-winning bank, I was promoted to many distinct roles at least 9 times and that included special projects. I always thought they did me a favour, but I truly know that they saw potential in me to be promoted. Business doesn't do you a favour, your managers don't promote you to make themselves look bad. You must earn that promotion with challenging work. They promote or hire you because you have skills, and you will solve their problem. They promote you because they trust your work ethic and you will make your boss look good for his/her next promotion. Your boss's success is your success. Believe in yourself and start having an action plan. Take credit for your accomplishments and celebrate each small win. I share my personal experience and tips below. Keep in mind your boss will make or break your career. you need to learn how to manage up in the corporate world. If your mental health is impacted due to a toxic environment/ bad leadership, go where you are celebrated. I know you have bills to pay. plan your exit with a good strategy. That is how Teachndo was born. I resigned from the leadership role and started consulting full-time. I teach do's & don'ts to job seekers. I share my lived and tested career strategy, especially with newcomers to Canada, Immigrants, laid-off career professionals and those who are dealing with ageism.

How to get a targeted job in Canada as a new immigrant

1. Learning the Canadian culture takes time, but you have to be open to going out and mingling with new people. Don’t do what I did and only look for my kind of people!

2. Practice body language such as eye contact, In certain countries eye contact with a superior, is deemed appropriate. In Canada, not maintaining eye- contact could be a sign of low confidence / not speaking the truth.

3. Build the pipeline of recruiting agencies and job alerts with the right company that values DEI.

4. Volunteer at the right place based on your targeted role not just anywhere. Use them as a reference. Most non-profits would ask for a police report in Canada.

5. Community work is important in Canada and many employers expect the employee to be part of the future community campaign. When researching companies try to volunteer with the organization they have partnered with. Trust me, you can bring this up later during the interview session to score brownie points.

6. Get more than 4 references handy with phone numbers and email. Employers have a specific request for a reference. The employer also requests vaccination records in specific health sectors.

7. Have a police record from other countries where you have lived, employers might ask for those reports.

8. Attend webinars, and networking events based on your niche market, not every event is important

9. Get to know at least 5 or more people outside of your group or demographic when you go to house parties or events.

10. Take the initiative of introducing yourself by going around round of tables with strangers. Don’t wait for others to come to you

11. Learn small talk, notice people around you during elevator rides, smile and initiate small talk

12. Identify who are the recruiters/agencies in your industry, they all have the niche

13. Learn to send a meeting invite through the calendar without being asked. This is crucial during information sessions or coffee chats, always add a calendar to your meeting. Research about them!

14. Get a credit card to build a credit score, especially if you want to work for a certain industry such as financial services, you need a good credit score. If you are moving from States, you can ask to pull credit scores from states with social security numbers and last addresses.

15. You will hear lots of stories of rejection, but you don’t know about their strategy unless you try what works for your industry and own your personal development. Block the noise!

16. Be clear on your niche, this is where most career professionals struggle. Do SWOT on you!

17. Work on the job search strategy, branding on the resume and LinkedIn is important, and get help from the right expert

18. Apply for the right role which matches at least 80% of job skills. Stop running after Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and fancy template.

19. Earlier you start networking and implement a job search strategy with the right people easier you would be able to crack the dream role

20. Just because someone lived in Canada for years, doesn’t make them an expert at everything. Get advice from someone who worked in the Canadian workforce for years within your niche market or who has hired people like you in Canada!

21. Get advice from someone who has been in your shoes and is in the position where you see yourself years from now. Talk to people in your industry, not your family and friends who have no expertise in the current market/ workforce

22. Tune out pieces of advice from those who give you One Size Fits All. You need personalized advice based on your targeted role.

23. Getting certificates for an upgrade is valid but if someone tells you that certificates, boot camps, bridging programs, and degrees in Canada guarantee a dream role in a certain timeline, and you don’t have prior experience, think twice! One Size Doesn't Fit All!

Many newcomers to Canada get certificates to go back to banking jobs without realizing it is unnecessary. It all depends on the type of role. I had a recent client who took IFIC (investment course) and she was in the back-office dealing with loan verification/ underwriting. She had no intention of working in sales or dealing with customers. She took on a survival job after getting rejected. The problem was she listened to her friends. She was not clear on a marketing plan and title which is translated from back home. She was targeting the wrong title. Her title back home was a Loan officer and in Canada, the title varied. After working with me and their new title was “Business Support Officer” She just got hired by a bank, do you get the point? I knew the banking industry and its lingoes.

24. Research the job title in Canada, what does it translate from back home? Alter those to match! But keep your reference in the loop as to why you changed the title

25. Reviews and advice don’t help if you have no clue about the job market and your niche

26. You are not a jack of all, you are not an expert at everything but only one thing, even though you have many responsibilities back homes, Canadian employers hire you for one expertise. The sooner, you get this the better

27. I know you are proud of the awesome degree from the top university back home, but I hate to tell you that employers look for experience and accomplishments in Canada. Share stories of how you solved the problem with data. They can see a degree in the resume.

28. Groom yourself by adapting to the role you are trying to get in, take care of body odour and take it easy on perfume/ cologne as few workplaces have a strict policy on scent

29. Know the geographic location, route, highway, transportation, demographic and trends as employers tend to hire someone who knows about their prospects, this applies normally in sales, marketing, consulting etc.

30. Canadian experience is warranted for Canada's regulated industry; therefore, don’t expect to go back to a similar field without the upgrade, tests, certificates, or degrees.

31. Hiring managers hire for the attitude and the fit for their team, so be receptive to constructive feedback. To be forever employable you need a good attitude.

32. Take initiative in the team without being asked, this Is where you get to shine and be on the next promotion list

33. Anyone can bring the problem to the manager, you bring the solution

34. Learn to adjust your tone of voice at the workplace, leaders praise in public and give feedback in private. Always ask for a meeting with a manager if you disagree, and come prepared as to why

35. Ask for help earlier on instead of waiting for managers to fix the problem. Communication is the key. Make your boss look good, a good boss will give you credit even when you are not around

36. Learn to say no in a strategic way, you can’t please everyone. I have seen lots of immigrants taking up overtime hours after work/weekends or stat holidays to please the manager. Put the boundaries of work-life balance. Log out and go home! Work is not a family!

37. After starting in a new company, understand the policy on personal leave, sick leave and vacation. Does it require getting preapproved by the manager or HR? is it based on seniority? Seek approval before booking any vacation as the coverage is impacted.

38. Have a 30-60-90 days plan for the new role and follow through with the manager weekly

39. Adapt to the Canadian style of resume and interview skills

One of my clients was a team leader in the bank back home and he had the picture and personal details on his resume. After he took the resume writing course, he got the interviews but lacked interview skills. He signed up for an interview course, I noticed the gap. On Tell Me About Yourself, he started talking about experience in project management and certification, but the role was of the team lead in a call center. Answers for behaviour questions lacked the industry lingo in the call center without a concrete STAR format. After one session he got hired by a bank and was offered a senior team lead role, but he had applied for a junior role. Your branding needs to be clear for Canadian employers. Stick to the job description. Know the format of the interview and research the company/ role.

40. Get help from the right mentor if you are struggling to get hired. Don’t assume you know it all. It is a new job market!

Sweta Regmi, Founder & CEO, Certified Career & Resume Strategistt on CBC news

when they ask, "Why should we hire you" with "No Canadian Experience"?

Employers are not allowed to reject you based on no Canadian experience unless there is a job requirement. If employers are using loopholes to reject, you then it is considered a human rights violation and discrimination. “The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) believes that asking for Canadian experience can result in discrimination. Employers and regulatory bodies should always have to show why Canadian experience is needed,” the policy reads. “‘Canadian experience’ is not a good way to tell if you have the right skills or experience to do a job. Employers should ask about all of your previous work – where you got your experience should not matter.” [Emphasis theirs]

This is one of the most common and frustrating questions new immigrants have faced when being interviewed by Canadian employers. Even people with prior experience with senior roles face this question in an interview. Employers are trying to look into how you respond and relate previous transferrable skills to the current market.

This question is asked to see the mindset of the person being interviewed. The employer also knows that you lack Canadian experience but there is something more important on your resume that they decided to bring you on an interview. They will not only notice what you say in your answers but also the way you interpret the challenge you are facing, and the different approaches you take to tackle this question.

  • Don’t focus on the gap or no Canadian experience.

  • You should take every opportunity to prove yourself worthy to get the position with transferrable skills.

  • Highlight job skills, hard skills, and soft skills you have practiced back home

  • Focus on the prior results and accomplishments.

  • Nobody will brag about you; you need to humble brag about yourself with data-driven examples. It is okay to brag about your accomplishments, but you need to show the evidence. Canadian employers are data-driven and they don’t like to hear self-proclaimed soft skills (result-oriented, detail-oriented, etc.) unless you could quantify with examples, %, $$.

Did you know each industry/organization/department has internal jargon and industry lingo?

When I started working in the corporate world, I was lost as a newcomer to Canada.

  • I spent time researching corporate jargon and slang

  • I slowly realized that each department & industry had common lingoes.

  • I started to make an effort to understand by asking, not assuming what certain jargon means.

  • Most new hire gets lost in internal jargon and they feel left out if nobody attempts to educate them. When in doubt ask!

  • You don't have to know everything but know how to find the answer, who to reach out

  • When you are searching for the dream role, reach out for informational interviews and hear how they talk and watch the languages they use.

  • Study their website, a few of their internal jargon or industry jargon is on their document/blogs/ videos/employee videos.

  • Use those terms you found on their website strategically during information meetings/interviews.

  • When you start to talk like them, you are one of them. They trust you!

This is why job search is not the same for everyone.

This is why the interview is not the same for each job.

This is why a Resume needs to be customized for each job.

This is why you need to talk to your future boss by understanding the company's culture.

Shooting yourself in the dark without being compatible with future employers will eliminate during the pre-screening process.

The moment you open your mouth, you need to capture their attention by using industry lingoes.

A recent study found that the average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds to 8 seconds today. In comparison, scientists believe that the goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds so have them at hello!

Multiple job offers from Canadian companies, newcomers to Canada, Resume writing, Interview coaching, Personal branding  Career Coaching by Sweta Regmi, Career Consultant. Teachndo

Job offers in Canada

Newcomer to Canada got hired in Bank!
Hired in Top banks after working with us!

Sweta Regmi is a hiring manager from award-winning companies turned into Founder and CEO at Teachndo, a Certified Career & Résumé Strategist. Sweta Regmi is a globally recognized top career expert, speaker, and LinkedIn Top Community Voice for Career Development, Job Search Strategies, Personal Branding, Resume Writing, Public Speaking, and Interviewing with over a decade of experience empowering career professionals. Sweta's insights are featured in CBC National News Prime Time & Local, Global National News Top Story & Global Local News, CNBC, Wall Street Journal, HuffPost, CTV News, City News, FOX 26 News, Daily Mail, BNN Bloomberg, 5 times in Globe and Mail, Yahoo News, National Post, MSN,, FORBES, Toronto Sun, 80+ times in LinkedIn News, LinkedIn Hello Monday award-winning podcast, LinkedIn Creators, Indeed, Employment services, Top Colleges and Universities, Career Conferences, Leadership Conferences, and 100+Top media outlets have widely recognized Regmi's expertise, see here. Regmi has also partnered with leading brands and organizations to elevate and spearhead career strategies, career sites, and outplacement and establish non-profit employment services partnerships. Her RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards nomination by Women of Influence in 2022 and 2023 further demonstrates her success as a recognized career expert in Canada. Regmi is also the Amazon Best Seller of 21 Resilient Women: Stories of Courage, Growth, and Transformation. The book has been recognized by libraries, ministers and MPs in Canada.

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