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How to Get a Survival Job in Canada as a Newcomer


Learn how to secure a survival job in Canada as a newcomer. This comprehensive guide provides expert insights, step-by-step strategies, and essential tips to help you navigate the Canadian job market successfully.

Moving to a new country is both exciting and challenging. As a newcomer in Canada, one of the top priorities is securing a survival job. These jobs provide the financial stability you need while you work towards your long-term career goals. However, navigating the Canadian job market can be overwhelming without proper guidance. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to obtain a survival job, from preparing your resume to acing the interview. Whether you’re a recent immigrant or planning to move to Canada, this article is your go-to resource for kickstarting your career journey.

How to Get a Survival Job in Canada as a Newcomer

Crafting an Impressive Resume:

Your resume is your first impression on potential employers. Tailor it to Canadian standards by highlighting your skills, education, and relevant work experience. Use action verbs and quantify your achievements to make your resume stand out. Remember, simplicity is key; keep it concise and error-free.

Leveraging Online Job Portals:

Online job portals like Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor are invaluable resources for job seekers. Create a compelling profile showcasing your skills and experience. Set up job alerts to receive notifications about relevant openings. Use keywords related to your industry to enhance your profile’s visibility.

Networking within the Community:

Building a strong professional network is crucial. Attend local events, workshops, and job fairs to connect with employers and fellow newcomers. Join online forums and social media groups dedicated to job seekers. Networking not only helps you discover hidden job opportunities but also provides insights into the Canadian job market.

Exploring Temporary Staffing Agencies:

Temporary staffing agencies can be a bridge to your first job in Canada. They match your skills with short-term assignments, providing valuable Canadian work experience. Many temporary roles can lead to permanent positions based on your performance.

Showcasing Adaptability and Soft Skills:

Employers value adaptability and soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. Be prepared to discuss how your skills translate to the Canadian workplace during interviews. Highlight instances where you’ve successfully navigated challenges and collaborated with diverse teams.

Upskilling and Continuous Learning:

Invest in upskilling to enhance your employability. Enroll in courses or certifications relevant to your field. Showcase your commitment to growth and learning on your resume. This demonstrates your willingness to adapt to the Canadian job market’s demands.

Acing the Interview:

Preparation is key to acing interviews. Research the company, understand their values, and formulate thoughtful questions. Practice common interview questions and prepare concise yet impactful responses. Showcase your enthusiasm for the role and your eagerness to contribute.

Overcoming Language Barriers:

Language proficiency is vital. If English or French isn’t your first language, consider language courses or workshops. Practice speaking with native speakers and engage in language exchange programs. Strong communication skills boost your confidence during interviews and in the workplace.

Understanding Canadian Workplace Culture:

Familiarize yourself with Canadian workplace norms. Punctuality, respect for diversity, and a collaborative attitude are highly regarded. Adapt your approach to align with these cultural values to foster positive interactions with colleagues and superiors.

Navigating Licensing and Certification:

Certain professions in Canada require specific licenses or certifications. Research the requirements in your field and work towards obtaining them. Having the necessary credentials will significantly enhance your job prospects.

Seeking Volunteer Opportunities:

Volunteering is an excellent way to gain Canadian work experience while contributing to your community. It showcases your dedication and willingness to adapt. Many organizations also consider volunteers for paid positions when they become available.

Showcasing International Experience:

Your international experience is an asset. Highlight how your diverse background brings a unique perspective to the workplace. Employers appreciate candidates who can contribute to a globalized workforce.

Tailoring Applications for Each Role:

Avoid sending generic applications. Tailor your resume and cover letter for each job application. Emphasize the skills and experiences most relevant to the role. This personalized approach demonstrates your genuine interest in the position.

Setting Realistic Expectations:

While aiming for your dream job is important, be open to starting with a survival job. These initial positions provide the foundation for your Canadian career journey. Stay positive and view it as a stepping stone towards your long-term goals.

Showcasing Resilience and Determination:

Job hunting can be challenging, but perseverance pays off. Stay determined even in the face of rejections. Learn from each experience, refine your approach, and keep moving forward.

Utilizing Settlement Services:

Canada offers various settlement services for newcomers. These include job search assistance, language training, and cultural integration programs. Take advantage of these resources to smoothen your transition and job search process.

Demonstrating Transferable Skills:

Highlight transferable skills from your previous experiences. These skills, even if not directly related to your desired role, can make you a valuable asset. Adapt them to showcase their relevance in the Canadian job market.

Researching Industry Trends:

Stay updated on industry trends and job market demands. This knowledge positions you as a proactive and informed candidate during interviews. It also helps you align your skills with the current needs of Canadian employers.

Creating an Elevator Pitch:

Craft a concise elevator pitch that introduces you, your background, and your career aspirations. Practice delivering it confidently, as it’s a powerful tool for networking events and interviews.

Tapping into Hidden Job Market:

Not all job openings are advertised publicly. Many positions are filled through referrals and recommendations. Networking and building connections can provide access to these hidden opportunities.

Navigating Credential Recognition:

If your qualifications aren’t recognized in Canada, explore pathways for credential recognition. Professional associations and regulatory bodies can guide you on bridging any gaps.

Staying Informed About Labour Laws:

Familiarize yourself with Canadian labor laws and rights. Understanding your entitlements empowers you to negotiate fair compensation and working conditions.

Addressing Employment Gaps:

If you have employment gaps in your resume, be prepared to address them positively. Explain how you used that time to enhance your skills, pursue further education, or contribute to your community.

Showcasing Cultural Sensitivity:

Cultural sensitivity is vital in a diverse workplace. Emphasize your ability to collaborate with individuals from different backgrounds. This skill promotes a harmonious work environment.


Q: Can I secure a survival job before arriving in Canada?
A: While it’s challenging to secure a job from abroad, networking and online platforms can help you start your job search early.

Q: How long does it usually take to find a survival job?
A: The timeframe varies, but staying persistent, continuously improving your approach, and networking can expedite the process.

Q: Do I need to translate my resume into French?
A: In most parts of Canada, English is more commonly used. However, if you’re applying in a predominantly French-speaking province, consider a French version.

Q: What if I don’t have Canadian work experience?
A: Highlight your international experience and transferable skills. Consider volunteering or interning to gain local experience.

Q: Is it essential to have a LinkedIn profile?
A: Having a complete and professional LinkedIn profile increases your visibility and networking opportunities within the Canadian job market.

Q: Should I include references in my resume?
A: It’s not necessary to include references on your resume. Instead, prepare a separate list of references to provide upon request.


Securing a survival job in Canada as a newcomer might seem challenging, but with the right approach and determination, it’s an achievable goal. By leveraging online resources, networking, and showcasing your adaptability, you can navigate the Canadian job market successfully. Remember that your journey may start with a survival job, but it’s a crucial step towards building a rewarding career in your new home.


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