Olivia Bauer | Manitoba Start
An employment challenge that many skilled and educated newcomers to Manitoba face is how to respond to a potential employer’s request for “Canadian work experience.” This can be especially difficult when you are still looking for your first quality job in Manitoba. Here are five ways to gain experience in the Canadian workplace, put your skills out there, and get your foot in the door, even while looking for full-time relevant employment.
1. Volunteer. One of the best ways to get work experience is through volunteering. Be strategic about your career plans and look for volunteer opportunities that align with your short and long-term employment goals. In addition to staying active and meeting new people, volunteer experience can also help you to get valuable employer references. Plus, because you are actually in the workplace, you are more likely to hear about job openings that you can apply for.
2. Intern. Consider applying for internships that are relevant to your professional experience and long-term plans. Be aware that many internships are unpaid and require significant time commitments from the intern. However, the benefits are similar to those of volunteering: interacting with other professionals in the workplace, gaining hands-on experience, and making new contacts.
3. Freelance. Look for freelance opportunities within your field of expertise or that fit your career goals. While freelance work may not be long-term or high pay, it can help you to make new contacts, stay current in your field, and get referrals. It may also lead to longer-term contracting work or even full-time employment.
4. Promote. Consider creating a blog or personal website where you can discuss developments in your field and showcase your expertise—for example, articles that you write or samples of your work. Share links to your work on social media, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and other platforms potential employers or clients may visit.—Or find relevant industry blogs or online forums you can participate in. An online portfolio or skills-based website is a great way to demonstrate your talent and show current field knowledge.
5. Network. Stay active in your community as much as you can. Potential network contacts, employers, referrals, and clients are all around you. Take time to reach out and introduce yourself and what you have to offer. Networking can lead to opportunities that you wouldn’t have heard about any other way and help you to make new friends. Networking is also an opportunity to practice communication skills, which are highly valued in the Canadian workplace.
Once you’ve reached your first employment goal, it may still take time to establish yourself as an expert in your field in Manitoba or to achieve your long-term career goals. Networking, self-promotion, volunteering, and staying up to date in your field are tools that will be useful to you at every stage of your career growth. The amount and quality of your efforts today will contribute to your long-term success and satisfaction.
Are you a new immigrant looking for a job or planning your career in Manitoba? Visit Manitoba Start at 271 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, for free career development and job matching services to help you achieve your professional goals in Canada. www.ManitobaStart.com