In part 1 of this article I talked about the “non-professional” challenges of a newcomer looking for a job in a new country.
Now that we have the fundamentals covered, it’s time to begin the job hunt.
I will start with the number one professional challenge most newcomers face.
The Biggest Hurdle
No employer will admit it, but all newcomers know it.
The first job is usually the most difficult to get for one single reason: lack of work experience in that country. It’s a chicken and egg situation: you need experience to get a job, however nobody is giving you a chance because you don’t have the experience.
I am still not sure what the “lack of experience” meant in my case, a Marketer looking for a job in Canada. I think is has more to do with what I mentioned in the previous article: the ability to integrate in a team, and embrace a different culture.
There are a few ways to overcome this:
Many businesses are in desperate need of Marketing help. Since you volunteer, any “risk” associated with bringing you on board is eliminated. It’s a win-win situation: you get the experience you need, they get free Marketing help.
As an immigrant, volunteering solves only half the issue. You still need a job to feed your family, so you have to find a balance between offering your help for free and looking for a paying job.
Work for free
Another strategy you can try is to offer your services for free, ideally for a limited period of time (usually 3 months). In return you should get employer’s commitment that, if everything goes well, you will be offered a paying job.
Again, the idea here is to eliminate employer risk of hiring you. If at the end of the 3 months you will have to part ways with your employer at least you gained the much-needed experience. Same challenge here: you will still need a paying job to cover the living costs.
Get a job below your qualifications
That’s the most common strategy newcomers are forced to adopt including myself. It’s also the one that generates most frustration and dissatisfaction. The key here is to maintain a positive attitude and do your job well. You never know whom you will meet, that will change your career for the better.
I worked for about 3 month in a store, in a position below my qualifications. Although I had my own frustration and disillusions overall it was a positive experience. I met a lot of nice people, and was able to transfer some of the skills to the next Marketing jobs.
Have a Top-Notch Resume (or CV)
North Americans call it resume. In other parts of the worlds it’s the curriculum vitae (CV). Employers spend on average 10 seconds scanning it. So you have a very limited time to make a first good impression.
Make sure you adapt your resume to the specific format of the job market you want to penetrate. For example, in some countries the CV will include personal information such as date of birth, military status, etc.
In North America any personal information except the name and contact info has to be left out.
You should be able to find a lot of valuable resources about how to create a resume. In Canada, governmental settlement agencies offer free consultations on how to write your resume for successful job search. Make sure you identify and take advantage of all these tools in your target country before you begin your job hunt.
One other important thing: make sure you customize your resume for each particular Marketing position you apply to.
Remember: you have less then 10 seconds to position yourself as the Marketer they need. Study the job description and re-write your skills to answer each particular requirement, even if you have to improvise. I am not saying you should lie in your resume, just be creative.
If you are looking for a job in Canada, below are some resource pages you might find useful:
Finding a Job: Explore All Options
There is no universal recipe for finding a job. If you talk to ten peolple you will hear ten different stories about how they found their jobs. Most common methods include:
- job sites (such as workopolis.com, moster.ca for Canada)
- newspaper ads
- recruitment agencies
- free internship
- social media
These methods are valid for finding any job, and I am not going to review all of them. My only advice: don’t focus on a single method, try them all if you can. You never know what works for you.
Back in the days when I was looking for a job social media was non-existent. I found my first marketing job through Workopolis, the second one through Monster, and the third through a recruitment agency. As you can see, I used three different tools to land a job.
Social Media Helps
Searching for a marketing job in the social media era is easier. Make a list of companies you want to work for, and follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Engage in conversation, make yourself noticed.
You can leverage the explosion of social media in a few ways:
- offer companies free Marketing advice (even constructive criticism) on their Marketing materials and strategy. The good thing about social media is you don’t need any formal invitation to express your opinion.
- Start a Marketing blog (in your adoptive country’s language) is a great way to build credibility and network with potential employers.
- Ask for an informal interview through Twitter. Make it clear that only purpose of this interview is to learn more about the company, from the company itself. In some cases, this strategy might land you the job you want.
I will leave you with a funny video showing a Canadian employee’s first day at the new USA office:
I will continue to write about what it takes to have a successful Marketing career. Join the e-mail lists at the bottom of this post to receive the updates.