How to Get Work Experience as a New Immigrant - Zinny Factor

When I relocated to Canada, one of my major challenges with getting a job was my lack of Canadian experience.

This experience is needed in your immigrant country because your employer wants to ensure that you will be a good fit, can interact with others and have experience in a similar environment.

Unfortunately, only a few employers will take the risk of employing you without such experience.

Since I started writing on immigration inspired posts, I’ve received a ton of immigration-related questions. Over the next few weeks of June, I’ll be focusing on questions I’ve received in the past.

If you are an immigrant, it’ll be a good idea to ensure that you are subscribed to my mailing list. That way, you’ll receive exclusive information/ updates and we get to be even more connected! Good deal right?

As I always start out in most of these posts, I need to state that whatever information you’ll be reading is not shared as an expert but based on my personal experience, observance and a bit of research.

Now a question I’ve received over and over again is: “Zinny, how do I get work experience in my new country”.

I can totally relate because I have experienced same. So in this post, I’ll be sharing a few ways to get work experience and these have all been tested and tried either by me or my friends.

1. Internship

An internship is about one of the best ways to get hands-on experience when you are in a new country. As an immigrant with no local experience in the new country, this is about your best bet!

You are already at a disadvantage with other applicants who have work experience in the country, so be willing to work for free or for a stipend.

Find a company that aligns with your career goals and get an internship opportunity. While at it, ensure that you do your best job.

If you are fortunate, it can lead to a job in the company, otherwise, you can always add this experience to your resume which can lead to a better opportunity. Furthermore, you’ll have references from within the company and this is how you can grow your professional network and land future opportunities.

If finances are your biggest issue with an internship, then get a part-time regular job for some cash at hand.

2. Network

Networking is a good way to land your very first work experience. We’ve shared a post here in the past on great tips to networking and I urge you to read it.

If you are an immigrant student, join a student organization. If not, go to career fairs and networking events (there are free events as well, do a quick internet search or check on Event Brite).

Most organizations sponsor these events, so get ready to make some good connections and of course, if you are going to a career fair, take your resume along. Remember to connect with the guest speakers (if any) on LinkedIn even before the event.

3. Start a hustle/ freelance

When I was an immigrant student, I searched for a part-time job for the longest with no luck.

It can be pretty tricky to get a job, so imagine having to get a part-time job as a student who has a class schedule to work with and no Canadian experience. One day, I decided to start a business.

ReadHow To Discover Your Side Hustle (With 6 Easy Tips)

I took a pen and paper and wrote down all the things I loved to do. Then I did a quick research on what was in demand the most. I got a few pieces of equipment and was in business.

Next important thing on my list was marketing so an account on Kijiji was immediately created. From there I was able to grow my client base and make some money.

Through this business, I met a client who then offered me my first ‘official job’ in the country at her family business and that was how I started to grow my work experience here in Canada. Of course, that job led me to my next job and the rest is all history.

There isn’t enough information on some of these things and sometimes, it just can be difficult to find work as a new immigrant.

In this case, I want to see this experience as a result of networking. Now you should realize the fact that networking can occur just about anywhere.

Whatever hustle you decide to embark on, it will then be your duty to update that in your resume and show how the skills match future opportunities.

Alternatively, freelancing is a good way to show that you have the skills. Most freelancing opportunities last a few days or month and will be a good way to gain some experience.

4. Consider contract job

Most people aren’t open to the idea of working a contract or temporary job because there is no job security. While this is understandable, you need to realize that it’s a good way to gain experience since that’s what you are after.

As an immigrant, you should be willing to take risks instead of waiting for a full-time position which isn’t forthcoming.

After speaking with a mentor, I came to understand how valuable a contract position may be to you. Some contract positions eventually get extended and others turn into full-time positions, so ensure you apply for such positions and at the end of the day, you’ll have the experience you need.

Contract jobs vary from months to years and if you are worried that your next interviewer is going to ask why you are unemployed, you can simply tell him/ her that you were working a contract job that came to an end without further extensions.

5. Volunteering

Non-profit organizations usually have volunteer positions where you can gain work experience. All you need to do is apply for these positions. No matter your qualifications, skills or background, you’ll be able to find a useful volunteer opportunity which you can use to update your resume.

Most companies are always on the lookout for volunteers, so do your best to reach out to organizations that interest you.

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Are you an immigrant with work experience? Please share how you were able to get such experience. Someone will definitely benefit from your input.

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