How international students can find a graduate role in Canada

Canada is fast becoming a top employment destination for many looking for roles across the globe and it’s not hard to see why. Aside from the variety and beauty Canada’s landscapes and cities have to offer, the country’s laws mean that they are more inviting to accommodate foreign workers. Depending on your industry, you may or may not need a work permit but to be sure, check the information on the government’s website. There is even a tool to help you determine if a work visa is appropriate on the Government of Canada’s website.

What are employers looking for?

From our research, we found that it is not always enough to have the technical ability for a role. In Canada, soft skills are also very important. So, what are soft skills? They are techniques such as communication and leadership qualities or analytical thinking which ensure that the candidate can’t just do the job well but will be a good fit for the team and company. A great way to improve and add to your soft skills is volunteering. This type of work can get you valuable experience to showcase your qualities before you are employed.

Ensure your CV meets Canadian standards and check how this differs from the country you are studying in. If you are still at university, visit your careers team for advice. Not only can they give you CV tips but they may also have information for schemes, internships or even contacts in Canada that you could make use of.

How can you do it?

Start by finding companies in your chosen industry in Canada and look at their website, LinkedIn page and other social media platforms. From there, you will be able to find information on what each company looks for in an employee. Start with the ‘who we are’ and ‘careers’ section of their website, then look for clues on their social media. This will help you get an idea of the tone of the company. This information will also help if you’re invited to an interview, as this type of background knowledge shows an employer that you have done your research. Reach out to people from your home country or university alumni who are currently working in Canada. There are often country-specific networks that meet and support each other. This is not only useful for information before you arrive but to meet new people on arrival to a new country and to break into the hidden jobs market.

In Canada, cold calling a company can be an effective way of making contact. If you are making contact with companies or contacts through LinkedIn, be mindful of how far in advance you do this. If you’re trying to arrange meetings, do this a month or 2 before arriving as they will be more likely to remember you and be able to book a time in the near future.

Don’t forget to mention your UK education, as this is a fantastic selling point for you to use. UCAS note UK education as “One of the world’s leading destinations for international students, second only to the USA. UK universities are among the best in the world and consistently perform well in world rankings. They also have a reputation for world-class research”. So remind employers of your star quality.

If you’re looking for roles abroad, see GradLink’s website which has a Canada specific page. There you can find careers advice, events such as careers fairs and a jobs board all dedicated to working in Canada. GradLink currently collaborates with companies in Canada such as EY, HSBC and Intel. By registering and creating a CV, you will have free access to Gradlink’s services and employers can offer you jobs directly.


By Jen Garmston Published: May 08,2018