Finding a Job, Building a Future

This section contains information on employment, education and how to manage money.


In Canada, most adults work outside the home. Full‐time jobs are common. However, a growing number of people have part‐time jobs or temporary contracts. Women make up a large portion of the work force. Increasingly, they have important, senior positions.

Canadians often change jobs and careers several times. This is often a personal choice. Sometimes people must change jobs because the economy itself changes. Today, there are more new jobs in service occupations than in manufacturing.

For these and other reasons, getting a job is not easy. Many people are looking for work.

Unemployment in Canada affects a large number of people ‐‐ not just newcomers.

This situation may surprise you, especially if you come from a country where careers can last a lifetime.

However, if you prepare yourself well and keep trying, you will eventually find a job.

Looking for a Job

Information about jobs is available from many sources. Newspapers have classified advertisements that list jobs by occupation. Stores needing workers often put a sign in the window. People you meet may know of a business that is hiring. It is important to ask people and keep aware of opportunities.

CaPS offers useful information and services for students or recent graduates seeking work. Employers list jobs at our website so students can register and be made aware of available opportunities.

You can often get help finding a job from volunteer or immigrant service agencies. Some of these are specially designed for newcomers. In large cities, there are usually associations of people who share your background and language who can help you. You can find these associations and agencies listed in the telephone book.

A good résumé, also known as a curriculum vitae (CV), is an important tool in your search for a job.

Networking is also important for finding a job. This means talking to people you know or meet about the kind of job you are looking for. The people you talk with may tell you about a job, or about other people with ideas and information. Most jobs are not advertised and are filled through personal contacts.

CaPS can help you learn how to prepare a résumé, to network, and to promote yourself and your abilities.

Remember: looking for a job is itself a full‐time job. Do not become discouraged. Almost everyone who is looking for work has many failures before they succeed.

Qualifications and Experience

Training and education, as well as speaking English or French, will improve your chances of getting the kind of job you want. If you are a professional, such as a doctor, lawyer, nurse or engineer, you may not be able to practice your profession in Canada. In most cases you must re‐qualify. Qualifications vary by profession and province.

Like other Canadians, you may also have to re‐qualify if you move from one province to another. This may mean studying and writing qualifying exams. The process may take up to a year. If you do not take steps to re‐qualify, you may have to start again at the bottom of your profession.

In some professions there are limits to the number of places available for training. In addition, those who have graduated from Canadian schools usually get preference. For information on requirements and opportunities, contact your local immigrant service agency or the relevant professional association.

Qualifications alone may not get you the job you want. Employers look for experienced people who will become productive immediately. They may not want to hire someone without Canadian experience or who seems unable to cope with Canadian ways.

Because of this, many newcomers take a first job outside their trade or profession. This often means working for lower wages than they expect or can eventually earn. You may want to look for a basic job that will help you learn or improve your English or French.

Starting with a job that does not meet your expectations should not limit your potential. Many people who are now professionals, business people, senior industrialists, academics and public servants once worked at other lower‐paying jobs.

Check our website for workshops tailored to international students and set up an appointment with an advisor to have your C.V. reviewed and get some leads.

Adapted from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC).