Common Mistakes International Students Make By Not Preparing Before Arrival in Canada | Parul Yadav

Majority of us research the culture and customs so that we know what is expected; understanding how the education system would work; deciding how to handle finances and payments; getting vaccinations or shots as needed and the list goes on. With all this overwhelming preparation, we still tend to miss the most important aspect of our career development stage and to give a boost to your career/resume before flying.

So why wait? International students don’t have time to wait. Just do it! Move into action the minute you decide to pursue your higher education abroad. Fully leverage the power of the Internet and digital courses available. Keep reading to learn these 5 common mistakes students make by not preparing before arrival in Canada. 

1. Not Analyzing the job market to know the scope of your profession

One of the most common concerns that newcomers have when relocating to Canada is the breadth of their career. While there is no simple or straightforward answer to this issue, there is a procedure you may follow to have a better understanding of the job market in each Canadian location for specific roles. 

More than ever choosing the right major college major matters. There are more employers interested in hiring students with in-demand skills. No matter what you are not studying, you must study industry trends carefully and understand the pros and cons your college major choice may have in terms of employment. The job market analysis will help you in mapping out your professional landscape and give you an idea about the growth opportunities for your profession. Most importantly, identifying the skills and experience needed for you to secure the jobs you want. This is not hard to do. It will not be of much value to spend time working on the wrong stuff. 

2. Not updating and refining your LinkedIn profile

The Canadian job market uses LinkedIn to share job openings and find talent. As a result, maintain your profile up to date and for the role or position you desire.

As you update your profile, keep the following in mind: Your LinkedIn profile should be treated differently than your resume. Resumes are usually tailored to the job you're applying for, whereas LinkedIn isn't. They are more universal in nature and speak to not just one, but all potential employers. Secondly, use a professional headshot. Statistics suggest that members with profile photos receive up to 21 times more views and nine times more connection requests.

3. Not preparing or build your digital portfolio

Starting a blog is a good way to showcase your industry knowledge, subjects or topics you’re passionate about, and communication skills to potential employers. Blogging platforms such as WordPress, Blogger, and Wix let you start blogging for free. All you need is a bit of enthusiasm! 

For those in creative fields such as design or art, having a portfolio is generally a requirement. Building a digital portfolio will go a long way in attracting employer interest. Compiling portfolios, work samples, or starting a self-managed blog are excellent ways to stand out from the crowd. Some popular sites to build digital portfolios are Behance, Dribble, Adobe Portfolio, Crevado, Flickr, Coroflot, and PortfolioBox.

International students are tech-savvy. Don’t worry about perfect English. I bet you can find typos in my posts if you look hard enough. That has never kept me from being hired. Show your distinctive thinking to others and you will get noticed. Trust me!

4. Network with industry professionals virtually

Networking is a way of life in Canada and is crucial to finding a role in your field of work. Canada has a hidden job market. This hidden job market refers to positions that are filled without the employer advertising them publicly. It is said that as much as 65-85 per cent of the jobs are not posted online. This is why building your network is crucial, and LinkedIn is a good starting point for networking. 

In the pre-COVID era, people usually networked over in-person coffee chats or informational interviews. Coffee chats can help you learn about the local job market and get accustomed to Canadian culture. Today, due to the pandemic, networking has gone virtual. So, as a newcomer looking to build your network, it’s easy and convenient to set up virtual coffee chats with industry professionals in Canada while you’re still in your home country.

5. Consider Volunteer Work

Don’t rule out volunteer opportunities as an immediate way to gain experience when you first get here. Pick volunteer opportunities that are relevant to your skill set and career. You don’t need to dedicate the entire work week to doing volunteer work, as you will need to apply your time towards your job-search. But dedicating a few hours a week of volunteer experience can help you understand the Canadian work culture, and practice your technical skills and communication skills (perfect your English).  It’s also a good opportunity to get Canadian references.

You may be already doing 90% of what you need to do and that's amazing! The remaining 10% is hard to figure out but you must understand what that is to live to your fullest potential and gain an edge over other candidates. We want to work even harder in the coming "new normal era" to stand out as international students and secure great jobs. 

I am excited about what’s ahead of you in terms of possibilities. If you are an international student reading this post, don't forget to hit the like button and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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