Eight months ago, I started working with an experienced IT Business Analyst who relocated from South Africa to Canada. While his previous experience was in the banking sector, he recently landed a role with a national gaming after applying to dozens of jobs and being interviewed for 4 other roles before landing this job.
Based on his job search experience in Ottawa with me as his coach, he asked me to pass on the following advice to others facing a similar challenge. In my view, anyone looking for a job whether they are relocating from afar or have been living in the same city all their lives will find some value in his advice, and anyone who has ever looked for a job will find his advice interesting.
Job Search Tips
– Don’t assume an easy transition because there are significant entry barriers to the local job market, e.g. Citizenship status, Security Clearance, and French language skills are all necessary to work with the city’s largest employers federal, provincial, and municipal governments.
– Customize your resumé for each job posting.
– Don’t think you’re going to get a job within two months, one that is comparable to the one you left behind. Instead, be prepared to be very pro-active in your job search in terms of time and commitment.
– Don’t underestimate the value of a partner to assist with financial support and provide networking opportunities through their colleagues and network.
– Be prepared to “sell yourself” in the job market. He came from South Africa where job searchers are expected to be modest and let their resume speak for itself. His experience here is that employers want you to paint a very clear picture in interviews about your value proposition. You have to speak to your strengths and be specific about how your previous experience applies to their needs and priorities.
He feels he got this job offer because I had prepared him with PAR stories and helped him practice giving concrete examples of his experience and skills, after asking specific questions to interviewers to help him determine the right examples to give. For example, when the interviewers told him that Ontario’s gaming industry is highly regulated, he was able to communicate in clear and coherent terms how he managed certain projects in SA’s highly regulated finance sector that turned out to be directly comparable to what his interviewers were looking for.
IT is a hot sector and most people assume it is “easy” to get a job if you have tech skills. But this is not the case for many job searchers, especially those who relocate to Ottawa, or those just getting out of school, or those with any other limitations.
Getting job search assistance can reduce the time and costs (e.g. every day without a pay cheque is an opportunity cost). If you’re hitting obstacles, get help!