There are lots of stories from the newcomers in Canada who recently arrived from their country although they are not qualified to fill a position without a “Canadian Experience.” My mom told me four years ago when she was working as an accountant at the semi-government mining firm and as an Executive Vice President/General Manager of the Japanese telecom company for more than 30 years ago but she was not qualified to get the higher position here in Canada from her previous jobs in the Philippines. So, she worked first at the garment store then studied “Simply Accounting” through online (until now). Thank God she obtained a job from a non-profit organization three years ago.
What does “Canadian Experience” really mean? Why is it important to the newcomers?
When I read an article called “Canadian Experience Required” on the Workplace section (from the May 2012 edition of Canadian Immigrant Magazine, pp. 18-20) Noa Glouberman told the report: In a study conducted by researchers from the University of Toronto’s faculty of social work, one immigrant engineer lamented, “You are stung with the word because … you have 25 years of experience, you have been all over the world, but you don’t have Canadian experience … they say you don’t know how to do this the Canadian way.” The same study reveals that, “In working with skilled immigrants, service providers use the language of ‘hard skills’ which describe technical abilities that can be quantified and enumerated on a resumé, and ‘soft skills’ … that are culturally embedded — such as communication skills, working with others (team work) and conflict resolution — and are demonstrated through interviews and other interactions.”
The soft skills, according to Glouberman, that help define the term “Canadian experience” include: language/communication skills; knowledge of Canadian practices/standards; ability to fit into the Canadian workplace culture; and, more generally, doing things the “Canadian way.”
“Mastering the national language is really crucial to obtaining work in Canada — but it doesn’t mean you need to speak perfect, accent-free English,” said Glouberman. He added: “Rather your goal is to be easily understood. The best way to develop this soft skill is to speak English with as many people as possible, as much as possible. While it’s easy to spend your free time conversing with family and friends in your native tongue, this won’t help you to develop communication skills you need to land a job in Canada.”
I have some practical recommendations to my fellow new immigrants such as watching local and cable televisions, listening to the radio, and reading newspapers, publications and internet blogs in English. Or attend the free English seminar from the non-profit organization which is sponsored by the Canadian government and private companies nearest you. Always practice writing and speaking orally and fluently in English.
“Canadian Experience” gives a deeper impact for the new immigrants. They are still struggling and rushing themselves to get the job with higher salaries but they will be easily rejected by the employers without it. For me, I’m currently working as a volunteer pianist at the retirement homes in Bayview and at the Seven Oaks to gain my actual experience and communicate with the seniors here in Canada.
Gokul Jayapal said in his blog about “being a volunteer” (from http://canadianimmigrant.ca/community/finding-community/volunteering-a-way-of-giving-back-and-getting-back):
“As volunteering is a two-way street, it will certainly give you and your family new friends, expand your network and improve your social skills.
It also has health benefits. Volunteering certainly improves your physical and mental health. It will drastically improve your self-confidence and give you a sense of accomplishment. It will keep you away from social isolation and decreases your chance of suffering from depression.
It can also help you to acquire a new skill. Say if you volunteer for a charity fundraiser, you might get an opportunity to speak to a large group, which may improve your public speaking skills. You might also get a chance to train and mentor new volunteers, which will develop your managerial and supervisory skills.”
It’s not too late for the Canadian newcomers. They will spend more days, months and years to come either volunteer or study in different Universities or Schools to upgrade their skills. Before applying job, all you need to do is to study the whole concepts of resumé building. That’s the secret of a “genuine” Canadian experience.