Entering the Job Market: Know How to Form Your Own Opinion!
Entering the job market is a priority for anyone who immigrates to Quebec. When loved ones and new friends are quick to give you advice on how to find a job in Quebec and warn you of the looming challenges of trying to break into the market, they may very well have the best intentions in the world. But, despite their good intentions, are they career professionals? Do they really know the field where you want to work? In other words, are they in the best position to give you professional advice? Perhaps not…
You may get some odd advice
In my job, I meet a lot of newcomers. They often tell me some of the tips that others have given them. When faced with so many often contradictory opinions and tips, it can be hard to know what to believe. I will not discuss these opinions here, but you may recognize some of them:
- “Employers don’t hire immigrants.”
- “Your experience isn't worth anything here: You'll have to start from scratch.”
- “You absolutely need to have a degree from a Quebec institution to find a job."
- “Go into IT; there are many job opportunities.”
- “Don’t go into IT; there are no jobs."
Others’ experiences may not be entirely "true"
You may know people who have immigrated themselves and have their own story about entering the job market. In an attempt to help you, they may tell you about the hardships they faced during their job search or even their smart decisions. These stories will probably be informative and extremely useful in some cases! Maybe they know people who work in your field and can put you in touch with them?
But you should still be wary and keep in mind that some of their recommendations stem from perceptions and beliefs that are based on their personal experiences, which may not apply to your situation, the field where you want to work or the situation in the market you want to enter. Also, their advice may cause you to make choices that ultimately take you further away from your true goals.
Family members who stayed in your home country have opinions too
Friends and family who live here hold some sway, but loved ones who stayed behind in your home country also have their share of opinions! As a career counsellor, I often hear stories about the problems faced by foreign-trained professionals who have to reconcile their family's opinions with their new situation. When people are far away, they often have a hard time getting an accurate read on situations and, without wanting to, they put pressure on you, which can create anxiety and guilt. “Why are you still unemployed?” “Was leaving really the right decision?” These are just some of the questions that many immigrants hear more than once from their loved ones who did not immigrate with them.
6 tips on how to conduct an intelligent job search
Faced with all these opinions, how do you navigate through all of your options when you arrive? What do you do with all the advice and opinions that others will surely give you? Here are a few good ways to effectively begin the process of entering Quebec’s job market.
1. Use your network
Your friends and family can help you enter the market. It is a good idea to listen to others’ recommendations, but remember that their opinions are all subjective!
2. Recognize that you and your path are unique
One person's experience does not apply to all immigrants: What is right for one person may not necessarily be right for you. Therefore, it is important to make choices based on your interests, skills and personal situation.
3. Listen to the concerns of your family members without letting them overwhelm you
Friends and family members who did not immigrate with you may not really understand your new living situation. It is better not to think of their reservations as expectations you have to meet, but rather as signs that they care and are concerned about you. Whatever their concerns are, they are theirs, not yours!
4. Get help from career management professionals
Employment and career counsellors have the expertise to provide you with credible, objective information on education and employment in Quebec. They can also help you set clear goals and assist you with your specific needs. For example, CREMCV counsellors will work with you on setting clear professional goals and getting the most out of your job search.
5. Contact schools, professional orders and associations
Resource people are available at schools, associations and professional orders to answer your questions. Contacting them is a good way to obtain more information about the job sector where you would like to work. For example, on the Quebec CPA Order’s website, you can find out which steps you must take to have your prior learning and professional experience recognized in view of acquiring the CPA designation. The Order also has a team dedicated to assisting foreign-trained professionals who want to become accounting professionals in Quebec.
6. Participate in networking events and build relationships with people who work in your field
Meeting others is often a good idea when you are looking for a job or want to make a major career decision. By keeping up with your network, you will ensure that you always get opinions from trustworthy people who are knowledgeable about your field.
Lastly, remember to listen to yourself, since you are really the only one who knows exactly all of the considerations that apply to your particular situation. Trust yourself and surround yourself with reliable people who will help you follow your own path and form your own informed opinions about your career development.
About the author
CREMCV Program Coordinator and Career Counsellor
Mariève Woodrough has over 15 years of experience in the field of career development and employability. She assists a wide range of client groups in carrying out their professional plans, including people who have immigrated. She is also an instructor in the bachelor of career development program at the Université du Québec à Montréal.