Common Job Search Challenges International Students Face in Canada

Have you ever felt insecure about being an international student or being an outsider? You might have many things running through your mind right now like, “do I belong here?”, “what do they think of me?”, or “Am I fitting in?”. 

Let’s be real, there are some challenges that are unique to us as international students or newcomers to Canada! It’s important to know about them so we are being cognizant and avoid them.

  1. English isn’t your first language

For most of us, English is not our first language, this puts most of us at the disadvantage while competing with the locals. Communication skill is one of the most important deciding factors that employers are considering when evaluating candidates.

Watch out for grammatical errors or awkward sentences in your application. Interviewing in your second language can be tough so make sure you speak slowly and ask questions if you need any points to be clarified. Never be ashamed of your accent! 

  1. Not fitting in

As someone who is foreign to the country, you might feel aligned or different in social settings. When narrating your story as a job seeker, focus on transferable skills, showing the experience that shows soft skills such as communication & collaboration. 

  1. Companies cannot hire non-Canadia citizens or permanent residents

Some companies have limitations in hiring international talents even with a valid work permit if they use certain government funding to support the wages. This will put international talents, like us, out of the candidate pool immediately. Some pro tips, look up current employees at the company you are eyeing to apply on LinkedIn and see if they hire someone with an international background, if yes, then that’s a good sign. 

  1. Lack of “Canadian experience”

Although this is not written in the job descriptions, many companies prefer candidates with local experience. Why? Because they can be more certain that you “fit in” and have the same level of expertise when collaborating with others. Note that this might not be true for every industry but if you are applying for the roles that rely on a lot of the local expertise or regulated occupation such as a lawyer, supply chain, etc. 

Does any of these speak to you? If you feel like you are experiencing these challenges and are not hearing back from the employers, check out our Career Launcher Bootcamp that will help you overcome both language & cultural barriers and stand out as an international candidate!