Standout to achieve career success: Four ways to differentiate yourself in the Canadian job market

Published October 4, 2022.

Estimated reading time: 2.5 minutes

In summary:

  • Job vacancies across Canada are at historic highs and immigrants and refugees can achieve their career goals by taking advantage of the need for workers.
  • To leverage opportunities in the Canadian job market, newcomers need to take steps to differentiate themselves from other candidates.
  • Ensure you effectively communicate your value to employers, become fearless in your networking skills, strengthen your sense of curiosity and build your professional digital footprint.

You came to Canada with valuable skills, knowledge and experience. The Canadian job market is desperate for this talent as job vacancies reach historic highs.

So, why do immigrants and refugees continue to experience difficulties finding employment commensurate with their experience and education? From a lack of recognition by employers of your foreign credentials to requirements for Canadian employment experience, the answers to this question are complex but there are strategies you can use to help you achieve success in Canada’s job market.

The Windmill Microlending blog reached out to career coach, Joan Bassett, of Directions for Immigrants, a Calgary-based service operated by Bow Valley College. Funded by the Government of Alberta in partnership with the Government of Canada they offer employment supports along with resources and career coaching to immigrants and refugees arriving to the province. Bassett, who works with newcomer clients from around the world, identifies and shares four ways new Canadians can differentiate themselves in the job market using simple techniques to help you stand out from other candidates.

Joan Bassett

Joan Bassett of Directions for Immigrants says immigrants and refugees can take simple steps to help differentiate themselves in the Canadian job market where career opportunities abound.


No. 1 – Highlight the value you bring

Standing out in your job search can be challenging when you are a newcomer and don’t have Canadian experience or professional contacts. Employers are interested in your value to them. To stand out to potential employers, start by identifying your value. Remember you have plenty to offer to an organization. Consider what you are able to offer them. Moreover, think about and communicate what will you be able to do for them after six months on the job. For example, one value you may bring to a potential employer is your understanding of what it is like to be a newcomer to Canada or business practices you found successful in your country of origin. Make sure to highlight to employers the outstanding value you offer!

Looking for more tools, tips and resources to succeed in your career as a newcomer to Canada? Visit Windmill Microlending’s Career Planning and Success Centre, today, to find information to help you increase your income and reach your full professional potential. Click here to enter the hub.

No. 2 – Be fearless in who you connect with

 Be open to talking with strangers. People who have been in a city for a year or more likely have connections through their friends and their colleagues. When you talk with people in a variety of environments, you might be surprised by the people you meet people who are willing and able to help you. This requires courage and may demand you step out of your comfort zone. However, taking this step could lead to a powerful connection that helps you launch your career in Canada. You may want to consider volunteer opportunities through a local charitable or community organization where you can start building connections with new people. Your fearlessness and openness to these connections could transform the course of your career and your life.

No. 3 – Be the most curious person in the room

Find people who work in your desired profession and ask them questions about career success in Canada. How did they achieve it? What training opportunities did they pursue? What positions provide an entry point to career growth? Learn the appropriate way to approach people on LinkedIn and ask for their advice. Find other newcomers who have been in Canada for a while and ask what worked for them. Find professional career coaches to guide you through the job search process and ask them questions about what has worked for other clients. Always be curious about new people, opportunities and continuous learning.


LISTEN: Directions for Immigrants Career Coach Joan Bassett shares a bonus tip on the importance of dressing for success.



No. 4 – Use digital and social media tools to build your reputation

Engage with others through LinkedIn or consider how you can showcase your knowledge, expertise or curiosity on social media platforms. Are there online networking groups where you can become a moderator or active community contributor? Join groups in your area of expertise or interest. Show others the value you contribute by applying critical thinking to what you are reading online and share your well-thought-out ideas to the online conversation(s). Ask previous colleagues, supervisors and volunteer contacts to recommend you on LinkedIn and direct message hiring managers or employees who share job postings you may be interested in.

Chances are, finding work in Canada will challenge you and your cultural or personal beliefs. The experience will almost certainly be different from your country of origin. Just as other parts of your integration into Canadian culture challenges you to be open to new approaches, your job search will also push you to adapt to Canadian business norms. However, if you are committed to following your Canadian dreams, make an effort to stand out and do what you need to differentiate yourself.

Job opportunities in Canada are waiting for talented, skilled individuals like you. Will you seize them?

You may be eligible for a Windmill microloan to help you pay for the costs of education, training, licensing or certification in Canada. Find out in two minutes by completing our online loan eligibility quiz. Click here. 

Categorized in: Development, Career Success and Planning, A Newcomer's Journey,