Job Searching in Quebec: Take these 4 Steps if You Want to Stand Out to Employers
When you began searching for a job in your field in Quebec, were you still in your country of origin or had you already arrived in the province? Regardless of where you were when you began your search, it won’t take you long to realize that you have to adjust your approach to the particularities of the job market here, just like you would if you immigrated to any other destination.
So what do you need to do to receive more positive replies from employers when you submit your résumé to them? Take these four steps to maximize your chances.
Step 1 – Make an exhaustive list of your achievements
Begin by answering the following questions about your past job experiences:
- Have you ever created or used a new process or system? How did it improve the results?
- Have you ever delivered a project with few resources or in next to no time? How did you pull it off?
- Have you ever received an award or prize either for your work or for your activities in a related field? Why and in what context did you receive it?
- Which professional project are you most proud of? Why?
The answers to these questions will definitely interest potential employers because they highlight real achievements that can be credited to you.
It is also important to slowly leave your comfort zone and present your achievements “the Quebec way.” For instance, although they may be perceived as irrelevant in some countries, you may want to include experiences on your Quebec résumé that do not fall within your professional field. Volunteer experience and recreational or creative activities may be seen positively if they highlight transferrable job skills. For that reason, do not hesitate to bring up these non-professional achievements again in interviews. For example, an employer might consider the fact that you play a sport intensively and regularly as proof that you have the rigour required for the job.
Step 2 – Be specific
Being able to list your specific achievements on your résumé or in a cover letter is an asset. One way (but not the only way!) to do this is to think in terms of money saved and time gained. The more you emphasize these aspects, the more tangible your achievements will be and the more they will show your potential – in fact, understanding just how much you can offer potential employers is important.
Think of specific examples from a real situation. For instance, if you were a manager who scheduled your team’s hours, you might word this task as follows: “Decreased overtime by 25% and increased cost effectiveness by reorganizing the team so that the workload was distributed equitably.”
You simply have to identify your successes and explain them in cogent sentences, just like car companies do when they try to convince you that their car is the one you need!
Step 3 – Be fully aware of your skills
The analogy of selling a car is useful to your job search efforts, because that is exactly what you have to do: sell yourself.
However, drawing attention to yourself in an effort to advance your job search may not be something you are used to doing or may not be common in interviews in your country of origin. For example, you may feel uncomfortable with the idea of talking about yourself and your individual performance or your contribution to a collective action, because you don't want to be perceived as someone who takes credit for teamwork. Or perhaps you don’t see why it is necessary to convince employers because you know what you’re worth and what you can do. So why do you need to persuade others of something that is obvious? The short answer is that you have to “play the game.” But keep in mind that this is not the same thing as bragging!
There is a fundamental difference between bragging and the confidence that comes from an in-depth knowledge of your skills and optimism about your future. After reviewing all your achievements, you will probably have a natural feel for your own worth and a positive view of how you can help an organization achieve its goals. When you introduce yourself in this way, employers will be more tempted to invite you to a first interview because they can get a quicker sense of how you can contribute more to their company than a person with equivalent skills.
Step 4 – Practice for the interview
- Test your presentation and your answers to potential questions with friends and people you trust. Networking events are also excellent opportunities to do this. They will give you a chance to work on your wording and see if people are interested in what you say about yourself.
- Reread your résumé and make sure that you rework passages where you have an opportunity to clearly talk about an activity that made you feel satisfied, fulfilled and successful.
- Make sure that each of your accomplishments answers this question: “How did I do this job differently or in a better way than another candidate?”
- When thinking about your achievements and refining the way you present them, identify the positive aspects of your professional path and describe them briefly to give them weight.
In addition to these tips, you may also find this article useful, which provides an introduction to promoting your skills.
About the author
Expert in professional mobility between Europe and Canada
Marilène Garceau is an international human relations expert with over 25 years of experience in Canada, France, Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Slovakia.
Marilène cofounded Kennedy Garceau on the basis of her own experiences in working and living abroad and her project management skills. In doing so, she had one goal in mind: find solutions to enhance professional mobility strategies for employees of companies with locations in Europe and Canada.
She is also a renowned trainer and speaker who shares her international human resource expertise. She thoroughly incorporates the concepts of multiculturalism and “intercultural profile” in both her work and her consulting approach and puts the emphasis on preparing clients for their departure.
She is a graduate of HEC Montreal and ESSEC.