7 Tips to Get your Dream Job as an Immigrant

Ezinne 'Zinny' Obayagbona
7 min readJun 20, 2017

It’s so much of a serious decision, but I think that many people don’t know the proper ways to go about delicate things or what to expect. Also, they probably become frustrated at some point because everything seems different and not everyone has a great coping mechanism.

In this post, I’ll be sharing several tips to help you get a job as an immigrant because I had to go through a similar phase and I’ve been receiving so many questions on this. This post applies to any immigrant in any country, but please bear in mind that I am speaking from my experience in Canada, so you may need to tweak here and there as it applies to you. Also, this post is for any person who immigrated legally.

First off, I doff my hat to you because it’s no joke to decide to leave your home country where you possibly had it figured and relocate to an entirely different place. Now that you’ve made this huge decision, let’s ride along, shall we?!

Deciding to relocate to another country is one thing, and finding a job that matches your goals and aspirations is another point entirely.

1. Have a Unique Resume

One thing I had to learn the hard way was that, as an immigrant, your resume should speak volumes. Your resume can’t be the same like every other applicant. Let’s be honest, you can’t expect everything to be rosy for you as an immigrant because you are coming into a different place where everything is different from what you are used to.

Your resume has to be explicitly clear and concise on what you can do. You barely have experience in this new country, so you are here to prove to your prospective employer that he/she won’t be making a mistake by deciding to hire you. You just can’t play around with your resume as an immigrant else it will be tossed into the bin sadly.

To have a killer resume, conduct extensive research on what should be contained in your resume, depending on the country you immigrated to.

For example, I didn’t have to include my date of birth/ age, nationality, or reference on my resume once I relocated to Ontario, Canada. It wasn’t necessary and was against the law. For references, this could be printed on a separate page and given to the employer only when it was requested from me.

Tip: To know what should be included in your resume, you can check labour regulations specific to your immigrant country. You also don’t need only one resume for every job you apply for. You can have over 10 resumes and keep tweaking it to every new job application.

2. Change your mindset

Getting a great job as an immigrant

One thing I have learned time and over again as an immigrant is that your expertise in your home country may not be an expertise in the country of immigration. You need to be certain whether you require additional skills to find a job of your interest and know if you fit a position.

People immigrate in different ways. For me, I came in as a student so things were quite different because I already had a field of choice. The case may be different for you and you may be coming in as someone with a work permit.

In this case, it will be a bad idea to compare your previous jobs in your home country with that of the immigrant country. Look at things differently because it’s never the same. Be ready and willing to adapt to change.

Tip: Consider if an education in the immigrant country will be wise for you.

3. Network

I’ve heard a lot about how networking can be so important to get a job as an immigrant. I have a friend who got a job through a networking event. I can’t say that this has worked for me because I’ve only been to two networking events in my life! (I hope this changes).

The good news is that networking events are not the only mediums to meet people in your industry. Make use of Linkedin and connect with everyone in your industry of choice. There’s always this tripling effect that Linkedin brings and I’ve seen people get great offers. Send cold emails or messages and keep your fingers crossed for a positive response.

Don’t be afraid to walk into agencies and offices with a hard copy of your resume, you have nothing to loose. Keep in contact with personnel and keep their business cards handy.

4. Volunteer

Volunteering is such a good thing to be involved in as an immigrant searching for a good job. Most times, your immigrant country wants you to have experience from within the country which may be difficult. I recommend that you volunteer in a reputable company so that it helps stand out your resume.

If you are having difficulties with getting a place to volunteer, it’s really easy to discover volunteer opportunities through google. Also, you can make a list of companies close to you and give them a call. Just let them know that you are willing to work for free.

This sounds like so much work, but my advice is to have a backup plan and some money saved that you can rely on. Otherwise, consider taking a casual job during evenings, so that you can support yourself while volunteering.

If you are willing to sacrifice to reach your dream industry as an immigrant, working to improve your experience in your dream industry will be a top priority.

Read: 5 Tips for a Successful Career Change or Transition

5. Don’t be afraid to start from the beginning

To be frank, volunteering is not for everyone especially because you’d need some money to survive in the country. I was fortunate to volunteer while I was still studying. I had some savings, fund from my parents (God bless them), and I was equally working a part-time job. But, this can’t be the same for everyone.

If you have so much experience from your home country, don’t be ashamed to start from the bottom in a foreign country. You can’t convince companies of your worth; rather, your work at other companies and your references would.

Tip: If you are a new immigrant, you may have to give reference from people in your home country. Be sure to give your references heads up!

Don’t be ashamed to get an entry-level job if that’s what you’d need to climb up the ladder. Also, consider applying for jobs at smaller companies or start-ups in your new country. This is because the competition may not be as tough as trying to get a job in larger companies.

6. The interview goes a long way

I have learned that face to face interviews go a long way. Employers want to be certain that your personality is one that can be worked with. Don’t be a robot at your interview! Be friendly and polite. Start up small talk once you meet your interviewer. Talk about the weather, commute, etc. They should be able to relate to you.

Interviewers are human beings and want to know if you are a cheerful person that will blend into the team. Please, be friendly and dress professionally. Smile. Be sure to arrive at your interview early. First impressions go a long way.

Finally, show confidence at the interview. I can’t overemphasize this. You need to show that you can do the job for which you are being interviewed for because there are other people who are willing to take the job. Speak clearly with a strong tone, maintain eye contact, and sit straight.

7. Job websites

Job websites or banks are very handy as an immigrant. Regularly check these sites and be sure to upload your resume so that interviewers/ employers can easily access them. Apply to jobs regularly and never relent because there is so much competition in the job market.

To mention a few, visit Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, Career Builder, Workopolis, Job.com, Linkedin, etc. Don’t forget to try out human resources agencies/ companies; they usually have jobs updated on their websites as well and you can apply to as many.

The more interviews you are able to get, the more your chances of landing your dream job. Don’t get worried. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the number of interviews you’ve failed, remember that the fact that you’ve had interviews to attend to in itself is a good sign.

No amount of application to jobs is ever enough. I lost count of the number of jobs I was applying to at some point, but it’s good that you can always refer to them in your inbox. Keep your head high and you’ll find your dream job.

Also, you may have to consider relocating to a larger city within the immigrant country. This is because there will be a high influx of jobs compared to if you live in a smaller town. This is not compulsory, though, it just helps with getting more job opportunities.

Are you an immigrant? Please share other ways you were able to find a job in your current country. Are you considering relocating to a new country? What are your plans to get a new job in your intended country? Please share below, I love to hear from you.

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Ezinne 'Zinny' Obayagbona

There are many things I love to do, I don’t think I’m that simple to sum up. All the same, I work as a Senior Customer Success Manager and enjoy writing.