Relocating from one’s country of birth to an entirely new place is a huge step. While moving to Canada has many advantages, the initial challenge of finding a job to make ends meet can be challenging, hence the reason many immigrants resort to survival jobs in the first 1-2 years of landing.
Having transitioned from the so-called survival job as a sales associate at Walmart Canada, I am happy to update this topic I wrote about a couple of years ago. I originally titled this “Getting A Survival Job In Canada As A Newcomer”, but will now change it to “How to get a survival job in Canada as a Newcomer”. Stick around if you’ve just arrived or plan to arrive sooner or later.
Greetings to all the brave souls who have embarked on the journey of starting anew in the breathtaking landscapes of Canada! As someone who stood in your shoes not too long ago, I vividly recall the mixture of excitement, apprehension, and hope that defined my early days as an international student from Delhi, India. In this revamped blog post, I’ll take you through some of the approaches that helped make my personal expedition, from taking up a survival job as a Sales Associate at Walmart to ultimately realizing my dream of becoming a Software Developer post my graduation from Humber College easier. Join me as I weave my experiences, insights, and tips into a narrative that I hope will guide you on your quest to transform survival jobs into milestones on the road to your aspirations.
Meaning of Survival Job
A survival job, as the name suggests, is your lifeline when you’re stepping into uncharted cities, countries, or territories. It’s the job role that keeps the lights on, and food on the table, and helps you navigate through the initial phases of adapting to a new country. It is crucial to recognize that a survival job is not a definition of your capabilities or your ultimate career path. Instead, it’s the foundation upon which you build your dreams as an immigrant or newcomer; wherever it is that you have just arrived in or plan to move to.
What is a survival job?
Let me put it better in my own words:
A survival job is an opportunity to embrace a new beginning. It’s a chance to learn about Canadian work culture, enhance your language skills, and gain firsthand experience of the local job market. It’s a way to develop skills that will prove invaluable, regardless of your future career path.
What a Survival Job Isn’t
A survival job is not a surrender to fate. It’s not a permanent position that spells the end of your ambitions. It’s not a reflection of your academic qualifications or past accomplishments. It’s not a deterrent; it’s a stepping stone.
Steps to Getting a Survival Job in Canada as a Newcomer
Borrowing from my experience, I will summarize the steps that can help you find, keep, and transition from a survival job into a career you like in Canada (or any other country) as an international student or landed immigrant. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it simple and limited to a few steps.
Step #1. You Need a Resume
The experiences you have acquired from your country of origin is still valid, don’t throw them away. However, tailoring your resume to align with the requirements of survival jobs is essential. Highlight transferable soft skills such as effective communication, adaptability, problem-solving, and teamwork. Concisely outline your previous roles and emphasize any relevant training, certifications, or language skills you possess.
Step #2. Begin the search
One of the challenges you will face as an immigrant in a new country is limited awareness, limited or no friends, and scarce resources. But one thing I found useful was an effective use of the internet to connect to job postings and apply directly to listings. Leverage the power of search engines and job listing websites such as Indeed.ca, Workday, LinkedIn, and so on. Apply for as many job openings as possible, one at a time.
In my experience, I found that applying to sales/retail stores/companies such as Walmart, Home Depot, your school cafeteria, hotels, etc can be helpful. Their websites always have a “career” section from where you can access job new listings. Also, do not forget that Canada Job Bank has a section for foreign candidates from outside Canada.
Step #3: Utilize every network
Networking is a lifeline in a new country. Attend job fairs, actively engage in immigrant support groups, and connect with professionals in your field of interest. Leverage online job platforms and optimize your LinkedIn profile to portray your journey, skills, and aspirations effectively. I also found that it can seeking job in specific fields such as Agric/farm jobs can be a handy adventure, visit our job section to learn more.
More Survival Job Tips and Benefits
Embrace the power of language. Improving your language skills opens doors to more opportunities and smoother cultural integration. Soft skills like adaptability, effective communication, and problem-solving, which you acquire through survival jobs, transcend industries and are invaluable assets in any career.
Remember, a survival job is not a detour; it’s a phase in your journey that equips you with skills and experiences that will enrich your pursuit of long-term goals. My journey, from a Sales Associate to a Software Developer, showcases the potential for growth that this path offers. Embrace each experience, for they collectively shape your unique journey to success.
Wishing you an enriching and rewarding adventure in Canada!