Canadian workplace
May 14, 2021

Congratulations on entering the Canadian workforce! As a newcomer, it is a big step to complete the process from arriving as an immigrant or refugee to landing your first job! You’ve gone this far; now it’s time to make a great impression on the job. The best way to do this is by becoming accustomed to the Canadian workplace culture. Take the time and implement these tips when starting your new job.

1. Ask Questions

Being willing to ask questions is an important skill to develop. If you don’t know how to do something, ask. If you are unsure of the protocol, ask. You want to make sure that you are doing the best you can with the best information available. You may feel uncomfortable or self-conscious about putting yourself out there, but it is always better to ask and do it right than to remain silent and make a potentially costly mistake.

2. Practice Your Communication Skills

Being able to speak the language in the workplace is an essential skill to have. This will help you integrate with the other staff and your coworkers. Learning English or French can be difficult, and it takes practice to be able to communicate effectively if you are new to the language. This means practicing at home and on your off-hours. By being able to effectively exchange ideas and discuss with your managers and co-workers, you increase your chances of advancement and new opportunities at work.

3. Embrace the Non-Verbal and Subtle Cues

There are many resources available about the differences between Canadian culture and your home culture. It is crucial to grasp these differences so you can convey an approachable demeanor. You do this by learning and adopting the non-verbal and subtle cues of the Canadian workplace. This includes simple things like making eye contact, saying hello when passing someone in a hallway, and saying good morning and goodbye at the end of the workday. By doing these things, you will make your workday more enjoyable and productive.

4. Grow Your Soft Skills

In Canada, your soft skills are a critical part of your career advancement. These skills include the ability to work on a team, being flexible and open-minded, having a positive attitude, taking initiative, having good time management practices, etc. These skills in some aspects are even more important than your “hard skills”, which refers to your technical knowledge and skillset in a certain field. Soft skills speak to your managerial and advancement potential, which can be more important to your workplace than your other skillsets.

5. Don’t be Afraid to Take Initiative

When you arrived at the immigrant services desk, you probably spoke about taking initiative. Think of the initiative it took you to embark on the journey to come out to a new country! The Canadian workplace places a strong emphasis on the willingness of employees to take initiative in their roles.

6. Understand the Cultural Differences of the Workplace

This can be quite different from the culture in your home country. In many hierarchical type workplaces, initiative isn’t necessarily encouraged. Managers have a stronger presence and are more hands-on in the directing of staff. This may be the case at your new job, but it may not. Canadians have a more egalitarian type of workplace. The managers tend to encourage employees to suggest improvements and take their careers into their own hands. They may look for initiative as a determining factor for advancement. This is crucial to understand because you may work hard, but that may not equal a promotion.

7. Punctuality and Attendance

Canadian workplaces have policies around what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to punctuality and attendance. This can include how to arrange for a sick day or what to do if you will be late. There are also customs that may not be written but are expected to be followed. An expected standard has the same weight as a written standard in most workplaces. An example could be making sure that you are at work 15 minutes before your expected shift. This is when the staff may have an informal talk about the daily responsibilities. By understanding these customs, you can position yourself to advance in the company.

8. Commit to Personal Development

Personal development will grow the skills that help you not only adapt to the workplace culture, but excel in it. Committing to developing personally a little bit every day will teach you all the necessary skills to adapt and grow. Leadership skills, interpersonal skills, conflict resolution and empathetic listening skills will be some of the abilities you will develop by committing to personal growth. They will aid you in your work life as well as in the settlement process in a new country.

9. Be Open with Your Story

Your story is inspiring! Do not be afraid to share it with others. By explaining who you are and why you are here in Canada, you help people understand what your goals and aspirations are. This may lead to a mentoring relationship with a colleague. Even if it does not, you should be proud of your accomplishments thus far and be excited to accomplish more as you grow.

When you apply and use these tips, you will be able to effectively adapt to the Canadian workplace culture, giving yourself the best chance for success. If you are looking for immigrant services to help you successfully settle in Ontario, contact our Newcomer Information Centre today! If you are a newcomer who needs job search support, please get in touch with our Employment Ontario services.

May 7, 2021

Cold calling and warming writing are common job search methods that have resulted in success for many job seekers. They have similarities and differences. Which technique is best for you?

If you check Google, the definition of cold call states: “A verb. It is making an unsolicited call by phone in an attempt to sell services”. Warm writing is also a verb.  It is writing an email or a LinkedIn message to someone that you either know,  don’t know, or someone you have been referred to.

Cold Calling is:

1. a traditional job search method that was encouraged before COVID-19 changed communication processes. Cold calling has been affected by COVID-19 and the increase in scammers making cold calls.

2. a technique that is not for everyone. It requires an assertive, friendly and clear communication style.

3. an approach successfully used by experts in marketing and sales since making effective cold calls are the foundation of their job descriptions.

4. a process that requires effort, persistence and determination.

5. a system that is the same as prospecting without leads that involves preparation and research in order to target specific companies.

6. a job search method that might not get you an interview or a job, however it could land you a successful informational interview.

Warm Writing is:

1. a traditional job search method that has shifted over the years from print-based letters, to emails, and now to the LinkedIn message feature.

2. a process that is not for everyone. It needs advanced writing skills to express who you are, what you want, and what you can bring to the person you are warm writing to, all within a specific amount of character spaces.

3. an approach successfully used by job seekers who are experts in remote communication and social media platforms.

4. a process that requires effort, persistence and determination.

  • a system that demands research and preparation. When reaching out to LinkedIn connections you might not really know, or to strangers that have a loose connection to you such as graduation from the same college or university, you need to warm write in a way that engages the person with relevant insights.
  • a job search method that might not get you an interview or a job, yet could land you a successful informational interview via a phone or Zoom meeting because of your strategic planning.

If you choose warm writing using your LinkedIn message feature, leverage a trusted source. For example, are they a 2nd degree connection? If they are, this means you have a mutual connection that you could mention in your message.

If you are reaching out to a stranger, make the person feel important and be reasonable by giving reasons. For example, your message could state “I was intrigued by your profile and your recent post was very informative. I would very much like to be in your network to continue learning”.

In summary, cold calling uses your voice and warm writing uses your writing skills.  Which is best for you?  Give both a try. If you need additional job search ideas, Achēv’s Employment Ontario services can provide you with assistance. Every year, our Career Specialists and Staffing Specialists assist more than 25,000 job seekers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). During COVID-19, our employment services are delivered virtually at six employment centres located across Toronto, North York, Mississauga and Brampton. Contact us today to learn more about all employment preparation essentials!

This blog was written by Lisa Trudel, Career Specialist, Achēv.

May 7, 2021

The world of work has changed forever, thanks to the pandemic. If you’re currently looking for a job, you’ll know some of the challenges both job seekers and employers are facing. Zoom calls and telephone conversations have replaced face-to-face interviews. While phone interviews have always been used, they’ve become even more essential during COVID-19.

It’s harder to make that all-important first impression through a phone call, but it’s not impossible. Employers use phone interviews as a way of narrowing down their list of candidates. Those who are shortlisted have the potential for a face-to-face or Zoom interview. Getting your phone interview right can help you get your foot on the employment ladder.

At Achēv, we’ve been hearing from the first-hand experiences of members in our community who are going through the interview process. Located across the Greater Toronto Area, our employment centres can help you find and maintain a meaningful job. Read on to learn our nine top tips for phone interviews to help you with your job search.

1. Don’t Underestimate Its Importance

One mistake job hunters make is by not taking their phone interview as seriously as a face-to-face meeting or Zoom call. Impressing during your phone interview can help you land a spot on the shortlist, or you might even be offered the job right away. Most employers use phone interviews as a way of narrowing down their list and eliminating applications. Every step in the process is important and shouldn’t be shrugged off as ‘just’ a phone interview.

Our employment services are here to help you through the interview process. We can answer your questions and help you understand what happens at each stage of the employment cycle.

2. Research the Company

One golden rule for anyone looking for employment at a company is to do your research. You want to show the interviewer that you have a genuine interest in their company. Some people fall short by being too generic during their job search. They send the same cover letter and resume to every company and give the same answer to similar questions. Interviewers are aware of this and want to see candidates who have done their research and have a genuine interest in working within their company.

3. Listen to Your Interviewer

Your communication skills are even more important in a phone interview. One danger with a phone interview is that you don’t get the same visual signals that the interviewer is about to speak. It’s easy for people to talk over each other on a phone call. These incidences are even more common during a phone interview when you’re naturally feeling nervous. Take a deep breath and wait until the interviewer has finished speaking before you start. Showing that you can listen and give a meaningful response will show the interviewer that you have the communication skills they’re looking for.

 4. Speak Slowly

Another thing you want to consider is to speak slowly. Phone connections are now always reliable, with your voice naturally becoming more muffled than in real life. You want to compensate for this by speaking slower to make sure the interviewer can hear you clearly.

5. Have Flash Cards

One benefit of a phone interview is that the interviewer can’t see you. Nothing is stopping you from having a cheat sheet of potential answers or points you want to raise. If you’re using this job search tip, you don’t want to rely on your cheat sheet too heavily. You want to glance over it to refresh your memory instead of reading directly from the sheet. It’s a backup for when you need a prompt to answer a question. Flashcards can help you organize the information and separate everything, so it’s easier to find what you need.

6. Get Rid of Distractions

We’re all guilty of getting distracted when we’re on the phone. It might be a notification flashing up on your desktop or a neighbour walking past the window. Avoid any distractions by finding a relatively empty room and sit away from a window. If you’re sitting at a desk or table, keep it clear to avoid fidgeting with anything that might be laying around.

7. Do a Practice Interview

If you’re someone who prefers to text instead of calling, it’s a good idea to have some practice on the phone. Ask a family member or friend to call you to conduct a mock phone interview. The main challenge posed by phone interviews is that you can often become too comfortable and feel like you’re talking to a friend instead of a potential employer. A practice interview will prepare you for having to remain professional throughout your interview. It’s also an opportunity to identify any issues with your speech. You might be someone who adds a few too many ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ to their sentences. Having a test run can make you mindful of what to avoid doing or saying during your actual interview.

8. Use a Landline Phone Instead of  Your Cell

While it’s not possible for everyone, a landline can be more reliable than your cell phone. You won’t have to worry about someone else trying to call you and cutting into your interview.

9. Follow-Up with a Thank You Email

Finish off your interview by sending a thank you email to the interviewer. If you don’t have their specific email address, you can send a message back to your contact or the HR department at the organization. Sending a follow-up message can leave a lasting impression on the interviewer and show them your professionalism. If you’re short-listed with other candidates, it can be something as simple as a thank-you email that sets you apart from the competition. Don’t underestimate the importance of smaller acts to boost your employment potential.

At Achēv, we offer free and personalized Employment Ontario services to help people of all backgrounds achieve their employment and career goals. We have employment centres located across the Greater Toronto Area, including Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga and North York. Our employment centres are a one-stop-shop for anyone on their job search journey or thinking about their career options. Contact us today to register for our free employment services!

New Immigrants
April 30, 2021

Moving to a new country as an immigrant or refugee is a major life change. Everything you know is thrown out the window, and you find yourself in a new country, often coming to terms with a different culture and language. It’s not always an easy process for every newcomer. At Achēv, we’re here to help you achieve your settlement goals. We’re sharing the top nine ways to succeed in Canada as a newcomer.

 1. Improve Your English Language Skills

One of the biggest barriers for any immigrant or refugee is learning the language of their new country. Wrapping your head around the English language can be difficult. For newcomers seeking to improve their English or French language skills, Achēv Language Services provide language assessments and referrals to in-person or online classes that suit all schedules.

2. Explore What Canada Has to Offer

It may have been our stunning scenery or famous ice hockey teams that attracted you to Canada. In your first few months, you want to experience everything that Canada has to offer. Becoming familiar with the culture early on can make the transition easier, whether it’s learning to love maple syrup or getting used to the sight of moose statues!

 3. Register for Free Newcomer Services

You’re not alone when you arrive in Ontario – there’s help and support out there for you. Our newcomer centres should be your first stop when you arrive in Canada. Achēv Newcomer Information Centres are located across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including Mississauga, Brampton and Oakville. For newcomers who live outside of the GTA, our friendly and multilingual staff can provide you with one-on-one virtual services. Our goal is to help you achieve your settlement, employment and education goals in Canada.

4. Go Outside Your Comfort Zone

Newcomers to Canada tend to find themselves making friends with fellow immigrants from a similar background. To get the most out of your new life, you want to go outside your comfort zone and keep an open mind. The Greater Toronto Area is a multicultural region, where you’ll find people from every walk of life. Don’t limit yourself to a specific community within your new area. Canada has so much to offer you, right on your doorstep.

 5. Keep a Positive Outlook

Not every day will be sunshine and rainbows. You’ll miss your family and the comfort of home. Keeping a positive outlook as a newcomer will make your journey from immigrant to citizen an easier process. You have to be resilient to the challenges you’ll face. You can take comfort from the fact that there are immigrant services out there to help you in the first few months of your time as a newcomer. Keep your eyes fixed on the future and stay positive, whether it’s dreaming of buying a home in the Greater Toronto Area or landing your dream job.

7. Start Your Job Hunt Early

Some newcomers arrive in Canada with a job already secured. If you don’t have a job lined up, it’s a good idea to get started with your job search early on. You might have savings to help you get by, but you don’t want to rely too heavily on these. You may have to take a job in another industry, such as hospitality until you can land your dream job. At Achēv, our newcomer and employment services can help you succeed in your job search as a newcomer to Canada.

 8. Become Involved in Your Local Community

It’s easy to feel isolated when you first arrive as an immigrant. Your new home might look drastically different than where you grew up. You don’t need to instant throw yourself into the local community in the early days, but baby steps are important. You can take advantage of your local newcomer services or even visit the library to learn more about your local area. It’s a good idea to attend community events, like fairs and festivals, to get a taste of the local culture and to meet your new neighbours.

 9. Find a Mentor

As a newcomer to Canada, you’ll be filled with hope for the future. If you’ve moved to chase your dreams professionally, finding a mentor can help you navigate the system and move up the career ladder. Most companies have a mentorship program in place for new employees or immigrants to Canada. If your company doesn’t offer such a program, you can find a mentor in a few other ways. LinkedIn and networking events can help you find fellow successful immigrants who’ll be keen to help a newcomer to find their way. At Achēv, our TRIEC Mentoring Partnership program can help you find the right mentor in your field.

 10. Build a Support System

Finding your support system as an immigrant is essential. It could be made up of people from your local community, new workplace, or even newcomer advisors, like our team at Achēv. Your support system is different from a mentor – so you want to find both! The people in your support system are who you’ll turn to when you need advice, whether it’s for your personal or professional advice. They’re the people you’ll turn to when you have a bad day or are feeling homesick.

Achēv’s wide range of newcomer services help new immigrants and refugees successfully settle in Ontario and integrate into Canadian society. We’re here for you from day one, with our Newcomer Information Centres located across the Greater Toronto Area.

Virtual Job Interview
April 30, 2021

The global pandemic has changed almost every aspect of our life. If you’re on the job search, you’ll feel the effects more than most. Some industries are on a hiring freeze and choosing to downsize their staff, while others are trying to reduce their overhead expenses. All is not lost. A natural consequence of the pandemic has been the shift to virtual interviews. While they take a while to get used to, they come with their advantages.

At Achēv, we offer free Employment Ontario services that help job seekers in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond achieve their employment and career goals.  We’re sharing our ten tips on how you can ace your next virtual interview and land the job you want.

1. Practice FAQs

Whatever industry you’re focusing your job search on, you can guarantee there will be a few common questions. Almost everyone gets asked about their interests and career plans. These ‘soft’ questions help you relax and give your interviewer an insight into who you are as an individual. You’ll also likely be asked about your experience in previous jobs, so it’s good to have a few prepared answers ready to go.

Make out a list of possible responses, including your achievements and times you dealt with tricky situations. Employment Centres will usually have a list of FAQs for you to practice before any interview.

2. Do a Test Run

It takes a while to get used to seeing your face staring back at you on your screen. Schedule a few practice sessions to get used to talking to the camera and seeing your reflection. It’s easy to become distracted by how you look on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Call a few friends and get used to having a conversation over a video platform. Doing a test run will also help you become more familiar with video conferencing – including ‘unmuting’ yourself at crucial moments.

3. Check Your Background

Instead of sitting face-to-face with your interviewer, you’ll be talking to each other from your respective homes or offices. While you can sit in a comfortable chair and enjoy the perks of being interviewed from home, you need to consider your background. It’s a good idea to choose somewhere with a clean background. You’ll need to remove anything that might be offensive and avoid having any clutter behind in your background shot.

4. Dress for The Job

As tempting as it is to wear your pajamas or loungewear, you still need to dress professionally for your virtual interview. The emphasis will be on the top half of your outfit, including your hair and shirt. Choose a business casual button-up and make sure you’re freshly shaved. Some interviews will require a more business formal look, including a blazer. A good rule of thumb is to wear something similar to what you’d be expected to wear in the job you’re applying for. If you have long hair, tie it up into a bun to avoid being distracted by it during your interview. You want to show your potential employer that you can be professional in any environment.

5. Turn the Table and Ask Questions

With an in-person interview, you can read someone’s body language more closely and have a more one-on-one experience with them. While the conversation might not flow as naturally during a virtual interview, you want to make sure it’s still a two-way conversation. Most companies will finish their interviews by asking if you have any questions for them. Do your research and write down two to three questions that you want to ask, making them as specific to the company as possible.

6. Remove Any Distractions

When you have a face-to-face interview, there usually aren’t any distractions. With a virtual interview, you’ll be surrounded by distractions in your home. It’s a good idea to turn your phone on silent and keep it out of your direct line of sight during your interview. If you have a landline phone, disengage it until after you’re finished. Ask your family or roommates to go for a walk or grab a coffee to limit background noise.

7. Don’t Forget Eye Contact

During a virtual interview, you’ll still be judged on the same factors as an in-person interview. One factor people forget about is body language. Trying to keep eye contact with your interviewer over a laptop screen may be difficult, but it’s worth focusing on. You want to show that you’re paying attention to what they’re saying by keeping your eyes focused on the screen. It’s a good idea to sit in the centre of your screen, so you’re naturally looking into the camera.

8. Join the Call Early

You wouldn’t show up to an in-person meeting at the last minute, and the same is true with your virtual job search. You never know when the interviewer might start the call on their end, and they’ll be watching for when you appear in the waiting room. Opening the call a few minutes early can help you relax and gather your thoughts ahead of your interview.

9. Don’t Talk Over Each Other

One consequence of virtual interviews is that the lack of nonverbal communication can make it difficult to know when someone has finished speaking. Let the conversation flow naturally between you and the interviewer, but you want to avoid speaking over each other. Let your interviewer finish speaking before you start. If there’s a third person on the call, they may find your conversation more difficult to follow if you’re interrupting each other.

10. Double-Check Your Details

We’ve all been guilty of having an alias username that we use online. It may be one you’ve used since high school that incorporates your nickname or a funny phrase. You want to keep your interactions with your interviewer as professional as possible. It’s worth opening a second email address that uses your name, with as few symbols and numbers as possible. This email is what you should use for your interview-related emails. You also want to double-check the display name for your profile and make sure it’s your name. You only get one chance to make a good first impression.

Achēv’s employment centres in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton and North York offer free Employment services for people of all backgrounds in Greater Toronto Area. If you need help with achieving your employment goals, contact us today!

Job Search - Achēv
April 16, 2021

One of the biggest questions for newcomers to Canada is how to find a job. At Achēv, we work with many immigrants who arrive in Ontario and have questions about how to best navigate the job search process. Knowing that this is a huge need in the community, here are six job search strategies aimed at helping new immigrants in Canada.

1. Update Your Resume

 Perhaps the most important document of the job search process is your resume. This is where you tell your story about past accomplishments. Resumes can look quite different in different areas of the globe. Thus, it is important to ensure that your resume follows a traditional Canadian style. Depending upon your experience, you will usually do either a chronological or functional style.

Effective resumes will also focus on telling both what you did in positions as well as how you succeeded. Highlight some positive outcomes and ways that you specifically contributed to an organization to allow yourself to stand out. Newcomers to Ontario can take advantage of Achēv’s immigrant services throughout the Greater Toronto Area and Ontario to have their resumes reviewed.

2. Network on LinkedIn

 If you don’t currently have a profile on LinkedIn, joining the social network is important for your job search. The site has over 55 million companies on it and 14 million open jobs. It is also quite popular with both job seekers and recruiters, with 87% of recruiters noting that they regularly use LinkedIn to attract talent.

When using LinkedIn, it is important to have a professional, high-quality profile. This should include a professional-looking headshot as your profile photo as well as a complete profile that provides all of your information about your education and job experience. Connect with friends and former colleagues on LinkedIn and begin networking by following companies, commenting on their posts, and even connecting with new people. When sending a connection request, it is polite to send them a message noting why you want to connect.

3. Engage in Informational Interviews

 One thing that newcomers can do to help build their network and get noticed is to do some informational interviews. If there is an organization that you would like to work for, identify someone in the area you are interested in such as a potential supervisor and request to chat with them about the company. This can be done by inviting them to coffee or even virtually via video chat.

When preparing for an informational interview, you should ensure that you spend time reading news about the company and perusing their website. This will help guide the questions you ask. The point of an informational interview is to learn about a company’s culture as well as skills and experiences that will help you prepare for a role in the organization one day. It also may help you get a referral for a job in the future.

4. Volunteer in the Community

 This may seem like an odd recommendation for job seekers. After all, wouldn’t you want to focus on sending out resumes and preparing for interviews? Certainly, you want to take the time to do that. However, networking is incredibly important for finding jobs. Immigrants typically do not have existing Canadian networks of contact in their field. However, all immigrants can begin building their personal social networks by volunteering in their communities.

This is a long-term approach. By volunteering, you will meet others including people that may have connections within your profession. This is also a good way to learn about different resources in the community. Again, this won’t land you a job quickly; however, it can be an effective strategy for beginning to make important connections. It will also simply help you meet others.

5. Attend a Workshop

 One of the best ways to strengthen your job search is to attend workshops. There are a wide variety of newcomer services that focus on providing knowledge and training related to employment. For example, Achēv provides a wide array of events and workshops for immigrants to Canada. Our immigrant services are happy to help newcomers gain the job search skills needed to succeed in Ontario.

6. Browse Job Boards

 There are a variety of places where you can see different current openings. For example, Job Bank provides a searchable listing of openings that can help newcomers find jobs all over Canada. Meanwhile, this job board provides information about openings specifically in the Greater Toronto Area. Job boards can be important ways to discover jobs and begin getting your foot in the door as a newcomer in Canada. Other excellent ways to find openings include LinkedIn and postings on the websites of large companies.

Final Thoughts

Immigrating to Canada brings with it a number of important tasks. One of the most critical is finding employment. It is perfectly normal for a newcomer to Canada to have many questions about how to find a job. Fortunately, organizations such as Achēv provides a wide range of immigrant services to help you achieve your employment goals. Following these six tips is a great way to start a successful job search.

If you’re a newcomer in the Greater Toronto Area and need help with your job search, please contact our Newcomer Information Centres or Employment Centres located across the Greater Toronto Area. If you’re outside of the Greater Toronto Area, please contact Newcomer Information Centre Online.

Page Reader Press Enter to Read Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Pause or Restart Reading Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Stop Reading Page Content Out Loud Screen Reader Support