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Post-graduate skilled job hunting

Oct 27, 2019
3
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Hi everyone,

I graduated a 3-year tech program from a college in Ontario this April with good grades and even some awards. By the end of our program only 3 out of the original 15 International students remained, and I didn't know who the other 2 were because they were in Academic Year 2, while I was on co-op. So I didn't network with them and cannot tell how they are faring.

I wasn't able to dive straight into job searching right after graduation due to family issues that I had to travel to resolve. I've been seriously looking for jobs that are directly related to what I went to school for since Sep and it's been slow going with only a couple of interviews so far.

I got my PGWP for 3 years starting Aug19 so there's been some silver lining at least.

The main thing I could use some help with is how to make myself more enticing to hire to prospective employers. Currently, even with a combination of good college work experience, good grades, good resume (as vetted by my Canadian friends), program awards and decent written and oral communication skills I find myself submitting tailored cover letters to every employer but not receiving as many responses, interviews or offers. As I see it, I am doing the maximum in my power to make myself look good for jobs (aside from going to the employer in person). Any tips or info would be greatly appreciated!!

Some things to note, I am willing to relocate, but I have limited funds and would have to terminate a lease so the job would definitely have to be worth it. On that note how high in demand does your vocation have to be to encourage employers to cherry pick you for a job from another province? Is there an efficient way to apply to jobs in other provinces? I would love to travel more but...

I have a vehicle and a G, so that's not too much of a consideration and should be a positive to whoever cares about that.

I would also like to point out that there's no one in Canada looking after my direct welfare anymore, it truly feels like I'm on my own since all of my Citizen friends have moved on but I'm still new to everything. So getting help and advice is not easy for me anymore.

On an unrelated note, while i realize the value adding diversity to your company can provide, why would an employer choose to pick a non-Canadian for a job offer if they have the same credentials? This, in combination with graduating a kinda difficult course (went from 150 students to like, 30) makes me feel that picking something to study that I actually wanted to do for a living was a bad idea. Maybe I should try to get my PR as fast as I can and then go back to school on taxpayer money for something cool and useless, but still makes you a lot of money (real estate, anyone?).

My first post, please go easy, and I didn't proofread it

Sincerely,
R.G.
 

canuck78

VIP Member
Jun 18, 2017
28,052
6,066
Hi everyone,

I graduated a 3-year tech program from a college in Ontario this April with good grades and even some awards. By the end of our program only 3 out of the original 15 International students remained, and I didn't know who the other 2 were because they were in Academic Year 2, while I was on co-op. So I didn't network with them and cannot tell how they are faring.

I wasn't able to dive straight into job searching right after graduation due to family issues that I had to travel to resolve. I've been seriously looking for jobs that are directly related to what I went to school for since Sep and it's been slow going with only a couple of interviews so far.

I got my PGWP for 3 years starting Aug19 so there's been some silver lining at least.

The main thing I could use some help with is how to make myself more enticing to hire to prospective employers. Currently, even with a combination of good college work experience, good grades, good resume (as vetted by my Canadian friends), program awards and decent written and oral communication skills I find myself submitting tailored cover letters to every employer but not receiving as many responses, interviews or offers. As I see it, I am doing the maximum in my power to make myself look good for jobs (aside from going to the employer in person). Any tips or info would be greatly appreciated!!

Some things to note, I am willing to relocate, but I have limited funds and would have to terminate a lease so the job would definitely have to be worth it. On that note how high in demand does your vocation have to be to encourage employers to cherry pick you for a job from another province? Is there an efficient way to apply to jobs in other provinces? I would love to travel more but...

I have a vehicle and a G, so that's not too much of a consideration and should be a positive to whoever cares about that.

I would also like to point out that there's no one in Canada looking after my direct welfare anymore, it truly feels like I'm on my own since all of my Citizen friends have moved on but I'm still new to everything. So getting help and advice is not easy for me anymore.

On an unrelated note, while i realize the value adding diversity to your company can provide, why would an employer choose to pick a non-Canadian for a job offer if they have the same credentials? This, in combination with graduating a kinda difficult course (went from 150 students to like, 30) makes me feel that picking something to study that I actually wanted to do for a living was a bad idea. Maybe I should try to get my PR as fast as I can and then go back to school on taxpayer money for something cool and useless, but still makes you a lot of money (real estate, anyone?).

My first post, please go easy, and I didn't proofread it

Sincerely,
R.G.
The crazy days of OSAP unintentionally paying for almost everyone’s tuition is over so you would have to take out loans or hope for some scholarships or grants. Where are you currently living? Have you had any longterm employment in the tech industry before you came to Canada? Was the company you did co-op with not looking for employees? Have you spoken to other colleagues in your co-op workplace to ask them if they have any leads or at least some people you may be able to network with. Would suggest taking people out for lunch or a coffee to talk about your industry and whether they know of any opportunities coming up. Have you reached out to any of your professors who may be able to suggest companies who are hiring or find out if he/she is willing to arrange some networking opportunities. You can also contact people in your industry via LinkedIn and see if you can meet with them quickly to get some advice on how to get into the industry. Less than 2 months is still not a long time if you are looking for good professional jobs. I can take many months to get a job depending on how big your industry is and how often jobs become available. The more senior the position can also add to time required to find a job. Not trying to discourage you but Getting skilled employment can take a while even for Canadian citizen who have spent their whole lives in Canada.
 
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Oct 27, 2019
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Thank you for the informed response. Honestly, I am a little impatient after I watched my friends getting headhunted by Canada govt. agencies (CCG, NAV, CSIS) with fat salaries since I know the demand for people like me exists but I'm not sure of the best way to market myself.

Where are you currently living?
Heart of Waterloo, ON.

Have you had any longterm employment in the tech industry before you came to Canada?
No, I started going to college in Canada right after I finished High School when I was 17.

Was the company you did co-op with not looking for employees? Have you spoken to other colleagues in your co-op workplace to ask them if they have any leads or at least some people you may be able to network with.
Talking about co-op is tricky. I don't mean to be disrespectful and I loved the work experience and am very thankful that the employer(s) took the gamble on me but I made some uninformed decisions and was being underpaid and overworked which was a tough taste of reality. It bugged me that I was sometimes crucial for pivotal projects for these companies but my paycheck reflected that I was cheap, skilled labor. So, to keep it simple, I'm not actively networking with my past co-ops, aside from LinkedIn.

Would suggest taking people out for lunch or a coffee to talk about your industry and whether they know of any opportunities coming up. Have you reached out to any of your professors who may be able to suggest companies who are hiring or find out if he/she is willing to arrange some networking opportunities. You can also contact people in your industry via LinkedIn and see if you can meet with them quickly to get some advice on how to get into the industry. Less than 2 months is still not a long time if you are looking for good professional jobs. I can take many months to get a job depending on how big your industry is and how often jobs become available. The more senior the position can also add to time required to find a job. Not trying to discourage you but Getting skilled employment can take a while even for Canadian citizen who have spent their whole lives in Canada.
All excellent suggestions, which I will incorporate into my job search. There are only a handful of professors who I could turn to and ask for advice and I'm not sure if it's normal for people to ask for help this late after graduation? I definitely need to be more accountable in my search, in terms of time spent and effort put in, which will hopefully help me with getting something.
 

canuck78

VIP Member
Jun 18, 2017
28,052
6,066
Thank you for the informed response. Honestly, I am a little impatient after I watched my friends getting headhunted by Canada govt. agencies (CCG, NAV, CSIS) with fat salaries since I know the demand for people like me exists but I'm not sure of the best way to market myself.


Heart of Waterloo, ON.


No, I started going to college in Canada right after I finished High School when I was 17.


Talking about co-op is tricky. I don't mean to be disrespectful and I loved the work experience and am very thankful that the employer(s) took the gamble on me but I made some uninformed decisions and was being underpaid and overworked which was a tough taste of reality. It bugged me that I was sometimes crucial for pivotal projects for these companies but my paycheck reflected that I was cheap, skilled labor. So, to keep it simple, I'm not actively networking with my past co-ops, aside from LinkedIn.


All excellent suggestions, which I will incorporate into my job search. There are only a handful of professors who I could turn to and ask for advice and I'm not sure if it's normal for people to ask for help this late after graduation? I definitely need to be more accountable in my search, in terms of time spent and effort put in, which will hopefully help me with getting something.
Your friends are likely longterm citizens if they are being headhunted by CSIS and other government agencies. As a foreign national on PGWP you can’t expect the same opportunities since it looks like you are dealing with needing a security clearance. Although you may feel that you were underpaid and overworked in your co-op this is not unusual. You can’t expect the same salary as permanent employees and it is not uncommon for co-op and entry level workers to have to work harder and longer than there more senior colleagues. A first job does not have to be a forever job. Given that you need the skilled job to apply for PR you can’t afford to be as picky as you want to be. It sounds like you are in your early 20s. Would anticipate that you will have to work hard and you may feel undervalued. That is just the reality of starting off a career. Young people tend to expect their dream job, dream employer and great salary right away. If you have limited funds I would keep looking in the KW region but if you have the money to move and go for interviews you could apply for jobs in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Unfortunately I expect the fact that you are only on PGWP to limit your options. Instead of being upset that your friends are getting better opportunities I would view this as a process that you need to go through to get your PR and eventually your citizenship. I assume you researched your work opportunities before applying for the program and realized your inability to get security clearance would be an issue for quite a while. Unfortunately that is just the reality of your situation. Best of luck.
 
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Oct 27, 2019
3
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I wholeheartedly agree with everything except,

I assume you researched your work opportunities before applying for the program and realized your inability to get security clearance would be an issue for quite a while.
I just want to point out I was 17 and straight out of high school. I couldn't (and didn't want to) do ALL of the research pertaining to what my life would be like 4 years later. I was a kid, cut me some slack. I understand that ignorance is not an excuse, but I want to set the record straight that not everyone who decides to try and immigrate (through work, school, whatever) is always up to date on everything they need to know. I knew I wouldn't get a job that required security clearances, but not that I would be virtually alone in my job search (and there were way more things I didn't know).

Anyways I'm not too upset thanks to gaining some perspective from your posts and reading others on the forums. Hopefully someone else will find these insights useful.
 

Kumuluswolken

Full Member
Feb 14, 2019
32
24
In my opinion you shouldn't be concerned too much about how other people are doing, that just gets you in a bad emotional place. Focus on what you can do to improve yourself.
Work on projects for a portfolio to show to employers, try to get certificates (even if it's just from free online courses) and network. The more people you know the higher the chances are to pass along this one awesome opportunity you're looking for.
If you're able to go to Toronto I can recommend the ADaPT program at Ryerson university:
https://www.ryerson.ca/adapt/
In this program they provide workshops for resume writing, interview preparation and a ton of useful practical skills like Data Analysis with R or design work with Photoshop and InDesign.
But most importantly: You can go for the high hanging fruits, but also have a realistic angle of your current skills and abilities and realize that you might still have to learn a lot and might need to get some lower hanging fruits before. Don't be disappointed if it doesn't work out right away with the awesome jobs.

I am still a new immigrant myself, came to Toronto in the summer of 2018 as a fresh graduate. Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science, not your typical tech resume. I sent out hundreds of resumes with barely any answers, but I just kept on trying. I got my first job after 3 months, an internship in the field I studied. Of course the salary wasn't high, it was enough to pay the bills, but I expected that. I was happy I got a chance to gain experience and I think that is what might be best for you as well. The internship ended after 9 months and now I got a permanent position with a good salary with a competitor of theirs in Montreal. So I did also relocate and for now I am mainly using my current salary to cover the costs for everything that is related to the relocation, so it is not even draining my funds much.

In the end my advice would be: Get yourself out there, get your resume out, try to meet people from your field, don't get discouraged, keep on trying and just hang in there.
Good luck :)
 
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