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For Job Seekers

New to Canada and looking for work?

This newcomer shares tips that helped her land a job

Published on

August 12, 2023


With a twinkle in her eye, Anushree Ravindranath sums up her decision to move by herself to Toronto from Bangalore, India last fall, just before the onset of winter: “YOLO!”

Although she had never been to this country before, she decided to time her arrival to “see Canada at its worst,” she laughs. “I thought, let me try to make it through the winter, and then we’ll see.”

Good news: Eight months later, she not only survived the winter but thrived in her newfound home, first landing a spot with the Altis Newcomer Apprenticeship Program, a 10-week, paid placement on our team, and then securing a full-time role as a recruiter when there was an opening on our Altis Technology team.  

Hers is a standout success story among newcomers, many of whom, lacking Canadian experience, spend months looking for a job in their field only to accept a role they’re over-qualified for (immigrants are over-represented in jobs that require high school or less, and their employment rate lags that of the Canadian-born population as a whole).

Kickstart your search before arriving in Canada

To help kickstart the search for a role in her field, Anushree started preparing while still in India, attending free webinars offered through ACCES Employment, an Immigrant Serving Organization (ISO) based in Toronto. Then, once she arrived in Canada, she enrolled in the 7-week HR Connections bridging program offered by ACCES Employment and Sheridan College.  

That program turned out to be a game-changer for her. “It helped me build my local network and collaborate with talented professionals from around the world,” she says. Within days of landing in Toronto, her ACCES mentor helped develop a job search plan for her and recommended she contact local recruitment firms to tell them she was new to the city and looking for work.

Once in Canada, register with recruitment firms

“I wasn’t even thinking about staffing firms,” she says. “I was looking at corporate websites and applying for jobs the same way I've done all my life. But [my mentor] gave me a game plan, and I decided to spend the weekend applying to a bunch of firms.”

Her first call came on Monday morning, from a recruiter at Altis Recruitment looking to fill a role for a client. While Anushree didn’t land that role, she was now in our system and connected to our team—another game-changer for her. Soon another call came, this time about the Altis Newcomer Apprenticeship Program. (And the rest of the story is, as they say, history.)

Be open to contract work

Anushree acknowledges how difficult it is for many newcomers to gain a foothold in the job market here. “I understand the anxiety. I understand the worries. And I know that many would turn down a contract offer in case a permanent role comes up, which can make all the difference in settling in,” she says. “But I still advise the newcomer candidates I meet to accept a contract because it’s a start. And maybe someone you meet at work can tell you about some other opportunity.

“I know of a lot of people who said they started off in a 2- or 3-week contract that became permanent, and I thought, sure, but that’s a one-off,” she says. “And today that's my story. So, I wholeheartedly say please do take up whatever comes your way because at least you're active in the market.”

Embrace uncertainty

She also credits part of her success to embracing the unknown: “Things may not always go as planned; they could go better!”

She speaks from experience. Born and raised in the country’s leading tech hub, aka the “Silicon Valley of India,” both she and her older sister (and only sibling) have engineering degrees because “it's just what you do there” she says. “If you throw a pebble in Bangalore, it’s probably going to land on a house with at least one engineer in it.”  

However, after securing their degrees and working in the field for a bit, both sisters decided to pursue what they truly wanted to do. For her sister, it meant moving to New Zealand to work in adventure tourism, while Anushree headed to France to pursue a master’s degree in human resources, thinking it would help her eventually move into a management role.  

Her first post-grad job, an internship at a global company based in Paris, showed her she was on the right track. “I worked with global teams and leaders, many of whom were women based all over the world who were doing amazing work, which was very inspiring,” she says. “It was the calling I was looking for.”  

After her internship ended, she moved first to the US briefly before moving back to India. Missing France, she decided to look for a place where she could enjoy French culture but also work comfortably in English. That’s when she decided to apply to come to Canada.  

“I have zero regrets,” she says. “I’m grateful for everything working out exactly the way it did because it led me here, to exactly where I am now. And I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here right now.”  

And she’s especially happy to join our team. “This journey is only getting started for me and I’m grateful that I get to call this amazing, talented team mine.”

Register with Altis to kickstart your search

She encourages newcomers who are based and legally entitled to work in Canada to reach out to us. “Canada is a lovely place, with kind people and a lot of good work waiting to be done. Once you have arrived and are settling in, reach out to us. We look forward to partnering with you and supporting you in your career as you build your new life here.”

Register now to kickstart your search. Our services are always FREE of charge for all candidates.

New to Canada and looking for work? Anushree shares these tips

  1. Be proactive and prepared 
    • Research well, build a game plan and have a backup plan.
    • Read all the resources you can and draft a plan that works for you and your unique situation.
    • Identify bridging programs for your field.
    • Bring a growth mindset and be open to upskilling, unlearning and relearning where necessary.

  2. Be patient
    • Managing this kind of change is twofold - managing the transition itself and managing your own expectations through it.
    • Be patient with the learning curve and with yourself as you learn to navigate this change.
    • Become comfortable not having all the answers or having it all figured out right away.
  3. Be open to receiving help
    • Lean on your support systems—peers, colleagues, friends, family, and alumni networks.
    • Whether it’s old friends that you reconnect with or kind members of the community that you meet here or kind strangers who help with directions when you’re lost.
    • Remain open to receiving support from people, organizations and systems to guide you on this journey.
  4. Bring your optimism
    You may be tempted to carry your whole world in your luggage and into your new life. But maybe this move is an opportunity to start fresh and adopt a minimal lifestyle.
One thing I would recommend is bringing your optimism with you. It’s free! You don’t have to pay baggage fees for it, and it will come in handy, so bring as much of it as you can with you—and then bring some more! It will help you pick yourself up on days that may not be the easiest and light your way on the path ahead.”

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