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Three tips for immigrant women to get Canadian work experience

Welcome to the FS community; your advice for education, personal finances, financial aid and career opportunities for integrating and thriving in Canada.

One area that most newcomers get stuck on while trying to find jobs in Canada is the Canadian work experience. I am not talking about hospitality, restaurant or retail jobs. I am talking about immigrants with vast white-collar work experience who now have to start from the bottom in Canada because they do not have Canadian experience. This sentiment does not hold for every industry in the country. Still, in administrative, business, health care or legal sectors, you either have to be re-certified or/ and get that work experience to access higher-level jobs.

Luckily, there are ways to get Canadian work experience. While these opportunities might not put you in the same place as your previous country, they can help you skip some entry-level roles. Here are three tips to get Canadian work experience on your resume.

Tip #1 - Volunteer

Find and tailor your expertise to your volunteer opportunities to get soft skills and work experience but, more importantly, to add Canada as a location on your resume. Various non-profit organizations have volunteer positions for supervisor, manager, or director roles. But the most popular leadership volunteer role is a board member. Websites such as Charity Village and Volunteer Canada allow you to search and apply for the board and other volunteer positions across Canada.

Tip #2 - Freelance/Gig/Consultancy work

Suppose you have specific skill sets that you can market -e.g., graphic design and business analysis. In that case, you could take on freelance jobs, especially jobs located in Canada, to build up your experience. Apps like Upwork and Fiverr allow you to connect with clients and build your portfolio even though they take a percentage of your revenue.

Tip #3 - Co-op/internship opportunities

If you go back to post-secondary, look for programs that allow you to get a co-op position or an internship. This option qualifies you to gain work experience while studying and networking within your internship/co-op organizations. Many students in internships and co-ops retain or get higher positions in their companies once they graduate.

Don't forget to build connections with others to advance your career in either of these scenarios!

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