If you’re a tech worker living outside of Canada and trying to find a job here, you probably know how hard it is to find a tech job from outside of the country. As a Canadian immigration lawyer who has helped over 100 tech workers relocate to Canada, the most common question I get asked is “how can I find a tech job in Canada if I don’t live there?”
So I decided to make a guide outlining exactly what I would do to find a tech job in Canada:
The first thing I’ll say is that you are in a tough position. Not because you are not qualified for the jobs that are available, but because Canadian companies are very hesitant to sponsor foreign workers (mainly due to the extra time, money and risk that’s required). For this reason, we need to take every advantage possible to give you the best chance at success, because chances aren’t that high.
So keep in mind that this will be difficult, but if you implement steps 2-5, you will boost your chances.
Next, be comfortable and aware of your work experience and education. In other words, have a good sense of your qualifications as a tech worker, and also be realistic with the types of roles you could fit into (this will be important when we get to step #3).
If you’re trying to find a tech job in Canada from abroad, then the company who hires you will have to sponsor you. In most cases, this will be through a program called the Global Talent Stream (GTS). It is an expedited work permit for tech workers only and can take as little as 4-6 weeks.
For this reason, you want to find a list of companies that have already used the GTS program, because these are companies that have shown they have previously sponsored foreign tech workers. Again, it’s all about giving yourself the absolute best chance at success.
Unfortunately, there is no list of companies that have used the GTS program, so you have to make your own. Luckily, there are some great recruitment companies that help Canadian companies with the GTS program specifically, such as Vanhack, Global Skills Hub and Mobsquad. You can start by checking them out and writing down the companies that have used their services.
Another way to find more companies is to Google “global talent stream”, then go under the “News” tab. This will bring up a lot of news articles discussing the GTS program, many of which have quotes from companies who have experience with the program. You should browse through a bunch of these articles and add the companies that are mentioned to your list.
Remember what I said in Step 1 about understanding your qualifications and role? In this step, you’ll want to take your list from Step 2 and look at the website of every company on the list. Go through each one and look up the “Careers” or “Jobs” page on their website, and pick the jobs/roles/companies where you’d be a great fit.
Highlight the companies and jobs that you think you’d be the best fit for, and highlight those as they are going to be your priority. You can keep the remaining companies on the list, especially if they have some roles you might be a good fit for, but definitely prioritize the ones that are better fits (and take those to Step 4).
Also note down any interesting facts, stats or other notes about the companies. This will come in handy in Step 4.
Next, you want to apply for the roles you are most qualified for. However, keep in mind you are likely one of many foreign workers applying for these jobs, so you need to find a way to stand out.
If you followed my exact instructions from Step 3, you should have a list of the companies/roles that you fit best, as well as some notes about each company. Want you want to do is create a custom resume and cover letter for each company/role you apply for.
This does NOT mean you should send the same resume and cover letter to each company, changing the company name. It means you should be customizing the resume and cover letter to each company, using something specific about them. For example, if you love their branding, or one of their core values, or connect with their messaging in a unique way, mention that!
Remember, you are trying to stand out from a lot of other applicants, so start each cover letter with your name, the role you’re applying for and the reason you are interested in that specific company (and type it out by name).
Additionally, I recommend going beyond just applying on their website. Using their website (usually the page called “Team” or “About”), or their LinkedIn account, you can usually find the people responsible for hiring. They usually have titles like Head/VP of Talent/Recruitment/HR, or you can find anyone else that may take part in their hiring process (for example, a recruitment specialist or even VP Engineering if you’re a tech worker).
Next, send them a LinkedIn request with a custom note mentioning that you have applied to their company, why you love their company specifically, and if they have any time to chat about it. Keep it very short and polite – very few people will take this extra step and it could peak their interest so they’ll move your application to the top of the pile.
For more details on this process, check out the video tutorial I did on connecting with Canadian companies below:
Since there will be tons of people applying for a lot of these jobs, you may not hear back from many of the companies you apply to (some are really good at responding even if they reject your application, others are not). But again, you want to give yourself the best chance at success and you never know what can happen if you connect with the right person.
So once you’ve applied to all the primary roles and reached out to the people in charge of hiring, you’ll want to follow-up with those you don’t hear from. Wait 4-5 days (longer if you get an automated message saying it takes them longer than 5 days to respond) then send a polite follow-up email or message on LinkedIn.
Keep it very short and polite, and ask about if they’ve had the opportunity to review your application, if there is anything else needed from you, or if they have any feedback. Because you want to respect their busy schedules, keep it to two or three sentences max.
Again, since this is a difficult task, you need to keep in mind that even with a polite follow-up, you will not hear back from everyone – and that’s okay. But if you put in the extra effort outlined in this post, hopefully you can make a good impression on the right person at the right company, and land yourself a job!
And if you found this post helpful and want more help with Canadian immigration or job search, make sure to sign up for our free platform here.