April 15, 2024 5 min read

Newcomers

At the latest CMA NXT Marketing Careers Night, there were many questions relating to newcomer marketers and the challenges they face in Canada. With that inspiration, we worked with our sponsor, RBC, to arrange a virtual sit down with Clemence Leveau-Vallier, who leads the Arrive team. Arrive is a platform and information hub funded by the Royal Bank of Canada. It provides newcomers with the advice and resources they need for successAs a former newcomer from France, Clem draws on her personal and professional experience to address the obstacles newcomers encounter and how they can get past them. Clem emigrated to Canada from France 11 years ago. As a marketer, she realized she faced a learning curve to find success in Canada and here's her advice: 

Canadian Resume

The first thing newcomers need to enter the Canadian job market in any field is a resume in the Canadian format. First, you must customize your resume for every single job application. Many newcomers come from countries where soft skills, unlike technical skills, aren't acknowledged on resumes. In my case, I never put soft skills on my resume until I arrived in Canada. You must get familiar with the required soft skills for your desired roles to position yourself as the best candidate because they're valuable in Canada, particularly in professions like marketing. If you are creating a Canadian Resume for the first time, Arrive has chronological, skills-based and hybrid Canadian Resume templates you can download for free.

Tips for newcomer marketers in creative roles

To work in creative roles like marketing, you must communicate effectively and have a strong knowledge of the Canadian market and culture. If English or French isn't your first language, invest your time and effort in bridging that language skill gap. If you understand the language but there are different expressions or spelling where you come from, develop those language skills. 

Learn about Canadian brands, pop culture references, TV shows, and humour. Humour is steeped in culture, so the forms of humour that you might have used in marketing or advertising back home may not work in Canada, or worse: they might be considered offensive. Canada is very big on diversity and inclusion, so any humour that comes at the expense of a specific group might not be well received. Take care to filter out any work that might be considered offensive from your portfolio.

Portfolio

Build a portfolio to showcase the work you've done in the past. If your portfolio contains work on brands or media that Canadian recruiters are unfamiliar with, frame the brand or the challenge in context so that a Canadian hiring manager would be able to understand your work (is the brand the #2 telco in India, or a major restaurant chain in Brazil?). Give some background information on the campaign objective and how you achieved it. What did you learn and accomplish with the campaign? Having a portfolio will help bridge the lack of familiarity Canadian recruiters and employers might have with your past work.

Volunteering

Volunteering is a great way to fill gaps on your resume because it's a gateway to building professional relationships and acquiring Canadian experience. Even if you aren't working in a marketing capacity, if you're part of a team and you’re building soft skills, include your volunteer experience on your resume and mention it in interviews. Volunteering could lead to networking opportunities since you work with people with similar interests. Volunteering can lead to individuals in your network recommending you to their connections if they are searching for someone with your skill set.

Networking

Networking is crucial for your career in Canada, so you must learn to do it right. Investing time in establishing strong connections with the right people is more important than your overall number of connections.

If you have family, friends, former colleagues, or alumni from your university who recently moved to Canada, you may already have a network. Look them up on LinkedIn and connect with them, even if you haven't spoken with them recently. Once you build a strong connection, ask for an introduction to anyone in their network who could help you. If you're an experienced marketer, offer your skills in either a volunteer or paid capacity. 

If you don't have any connections, write a compelling connection request to someone you're interested in meeting instead of using the standard one LinkedIn provides. Never ask for a job outright in a networking meeting. Your goal should be to gain information and learn from your contact’s experience. If you genuinely seek to build a relationship, you'll have a better chance of developing a solid connection. And once you have a strong connection, it could lead to referrals and job opportunities down the line. It’s said that 65 to 80% of jobs are filled through people’s networks in Canada, so networking is a good use of your time. Arrive has a free networking guide for newcomers to make connections in Canada. 

International Experience

Your diploma/degree and international experience are valuable, but need to translate your expertise into something Canadian recruiters can understand so they know you will be a good fit. What is the Canadian equivalent of the brand you worked on and problem you solved? Newcomers sometimes face challenges because recruiters don't understand the work they have done or the expertise they bring to the table. You need to change the way you present yourself to fit what the Canadian job market is looking for. When applying for a role, make sure you look at the skills it calls for, and highlight how you have built those skills over the course of your career, including your experience outside of Canada.

Overqualified

Some newcomers need to take a survival job in the short term while they continue to look for a more long-term role in line with their career. These are entry-level jobs, more junior than what you’re hoping to get, but they provide some income, and help gain Canadian work experience, knowledge of the Canadian market, and build your network.

If you are in this case and are vastly overqualified for the survival job you’re applying for, it can sometimes be held against you. This is because recruiters, seeing your qualifications, assume you will move on to something better shortly after being trained, and prefer to hire someone they think will stay in the role longer. If you do need a survival job, it’s advisable to use a skill’s-based resume that only showcases the skills and experience you need for this particular job.

Only share the relevant information you need to get the job:

Don't lie, but also don't unnecessarily offer an answer to a question that wasn't asked.

If you’re taking a survival job temporarily, that’s totally ok, but don’t settle for it. Continue searching for your dream job and networking because your international experience and expertise are valuable.

Mentorship Program

Finding a mentor, someone who will help guide your career along, open doors for you, and is invested in your success, can have a major impact. Ideally you want that kind of a connection with someone more senior or experienced than yourself in your industry. The Toronto Region Immigrant Economic Council (TRIEC), funded by RBC and the Government of Canada, is one such program where newcomers can get paired with mentors (often former newcomers who are looking to give back). TRIEC pairs newcomers with mentors in their industry. A mentor won't find you a job, but they'll help you navigate your industry and guide your career. 



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