Meet George and Marie

Disclaimer:The names, country of origin and pictures of these two people have been changed to protect confidentiality.

meet george-prepcan

Meet George

Professional Profile

  • Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and postgraduate studies in Design Creativity
  • 15+ years of experience in Graphic Design and Project Management

Job Search Strategies

  • Skills Upgrading: College Diploma in Project Management with a Co-op component
  • Job Board, Job Engine Search and companies’ websites. Government of Canada Job Bank, Indeed, Glassdoor, Shoppers Drugmart, Banks Canadian Tire, Charity Village.
  • LinkedIn. All-star profile created after finishing College certificate.


  • Website Development Project (4 months) while completing college diploma
  • Co-op position
  • Full-time job as a Webmaster

His Story

Credentials Upgrade
Before coming to Canada, he was leading his own design studio. During those entrepreneurship years, he acquired hands-on experience in project management. With the goal of increasing his chances to secure employment in Canada, he decided he wanted to upgrade his credentials while job searching. Then, in collaboration with his Employment Consultant, he conducted some research about project management courses offered in Ontario. He was so happy he did some research: he discovered he could get a certificate in Project Management from a University or a College, the latter one being less costly. After selecting a college, he called the registration office and was informed he could take a couple of courses online and then take the rest through in-person classes. When he landed in Ontario, he had already completed 2 courses. The in-person classes helped him to develop his network and learn about the Canadian culture. One of his teachers referred him for a short-term contract where he designed and implemented a website and CMS; including branding and social media marketing materials development.
Co-op Experience & Networking
Did I mention George’s college diploma had a Co-op component? For those who are not familiar with this educational method, a Co-operative Education (Co-Op) combines classroom-based education with practical work experience.
Let’s continue with the story.
As a college student, George had access to an internal Co-op job posting board. This benefit helped him secure a Marketing & Event Coordinator Co-op position. He didn’t miss any opportunity to meet people and grow his network; he would engage people through small talk during the events he was organizing at work. One of the people he met through these events was Henri.
Henri and George clicked right away. George mentioned his current job was a Co-Op and that he was actively job searching. Henri was eager to help; he told George his organisation was looking for a Digital Marketing Coordinator, asked him to send him a copy of his resume so Henri could pass it along. Henri approached the hiring manager and referred George for the position.
Interview & Professional References Preparation
George was invited to an interview. In preparation for it, he conducted some research about the organization and met with Henri to get more insights about it; he visited their website, reviewed the organization’s social media activity and practiced for the interview. He also contacted a couple of college teachers and his two previous supervisors and politely asked them to be his professional references. They were happy to be George’s references. He went through two panel interviews and a knowledge test. One week later, he was asked to provide references.
George was ready to nail the reference checking process. Before emailing the references to the potential employer, he called his former teacher and supervisors and gave them a heads-up that they were going to be contacted for a reference check. He provided them with a copy of his updated resume, the job description and a brief summary of what the potential employer was looking for. His former teacher was very pleased; George was doing everything he could to facilitate the reference checking process. Unsurprisingly, he got the job! After accepting the offer, he sent a thank you note to his three references and gave them the good news.

meet marie-prepcan

Meet Marie

Professional Profile

  • Master’s degree in Computer Sciences
  • 10+ years of experience in QA Automation
  • Certified in Java and Scrum

Job Search Strategies

  • Job Board & Job Engine Search. Workopolis, Eluta, Glassdoor.
  • Networking. Employment Consultant, former colleagues, Meetups.
  • LinkedIn. All-star profile, conversations with hiring managers and HR personnel, online job applications.
  • Employment agencies workshops. Professional Branding, Building an all-star profile with LinkedIn, Networking Strategies, Salary Negotiation
  • Other Tools:; Skype.


Three job offers in two months.

Her Story

Born and raised in Singapore, Marie holds a Master’s degree in Computer Sciences. Before coming to Canada, she has been working as a QA Automation Engineer for ten years. She landed in Canada as an applicant dependant in January 2016. She spent the first month settling in Toronto while her husband started her first job in Canada: She found an apartment, setup a hydro account, got some pieces of furniture and started her job search. This is how she owned her job search:

  • Job Search Support. Once she landed, she contacted one of the organizations her Employment Consultant referred her to and met with another Employment Consultant who started helping her to tailor her resume and cover letter, prepare her for interviews, interviews follow-ups and salary negotiation.
  • Networking. She went through her network and found out a former colleague had immigrated to Canada about a year ago. She met with her and asked her how she had found a job. Her friend found a job through networking. So, Marie googled events that were aligned with her career goals and found a few meetups, one of them being TechToronto. During the event, attendees got name tags that identified them as either employers, job seekers or attendees just enjoying the event. The event included an announcement section where an employer mentioned he was looking for QA automation professionals. During the break, Marie approached the employer and talked to him about the position requirements. He invited her to a recruitment event happening at her company’s headquarters.
  • Online Job Search. Marie was getting up early every day. She was starting her day with a bowl of oatmeal and job board search. She setup job alerts that matched her career goals. Then, for every job ad she was interested in, she conducted a company research, wrote a tailored resume and cover letter and applied online. Some of the job ads were posted by recruiters. For those, she also connected with the recruiter through LinkedIn and asked him/her for a meeting regarding the job ad. From this activity, she landed two interviews.

Her job search was not as smooth as it may seem. She encountered several recruiters who tried to convince her to take jobs that weren’t aligned with her career goals. They insisted she had to lower her salary expectations arguing that the job market was very competitive and that her lack of “Canadian Experience” was a big turn-off for potential employers. Others said she was not a good fit for the positions she was interested in because she didn’t have all the requirements listed in the ad. She knew some of those requirements were nice-to-have and she had a good shot at getting an interview. Marie had a big advantage: she conducted a thorough job market research, she knew her value in the market, and she is a self-confident, resilient professional. What did she do? She passed by some of these recruiters by finding the ad at the company website or LinkedIn and contacted the HR Manager or the Hiring Manager directly.
Her efforts were rewarded with three interviews. The hiring process included a screening phone call, a couple of Skype interviews, a technical test and a panel interview. She was right about the nice-to-have job requirements; she lacked some jargon knowledge for the industry, but she convinced the interviewer that was something she could learn on the job. She received three offers, and she chose the biggest, most established company. She joined a company specialized in Retail Wealth Management Solutions as a Senior Automation Engineer. Six months into the job, she became a Team Leader and six months later, she was promoted again. Today, she supervises 12 staff members; she is accountable for several concurrent projects and she is working towards her professional IT certification.

They are now prepared for the Canadian labour market

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