Article, Presenting your overseas experience. By Mary Gillespie :

Presenting your overseas experience in the best light.
Mary Gillespie


Looking for work is tough. For everyone. For professionals immigrating to a new country and hoping to find work in their field, it can be even tougher.


Many immigrants find themselves underemployed, wondering if they will ever have the opportunity to use and develop their professional skills in their new country. Very often, out of necessity, immigrants take jobs unrelated to their fields, then find themselves too busy or exhausted for active job search.


It’s not easy – it’s never easy – but here are some tips that can help you navigate some of the challenges of finding a professional position when you are new to a country:


1. Do your homework


Find out what the career options are within your area of expertise. You may not be able to find a position at the same level of pay or responsibility that you are used to, but you may identify areas within your field that will enable you to build your experience within a relevant context.


2. Fill the gaps


What credentials are expected within the field? If you don’t have them, get them. Even if you have not completed the course work towards a specific certificate or credential, employers will view an ‘in-progress’ credential favourably.


3. Get a good resume


Make sure your resume is appropriate to the culture and expectations of your new country. In Canada and the US, for example, resumes should never contain information like your age or marital status.


4. Network


The majority of available jobs are not advertised. If you are not networking within your field, you are missing opportunities. Join a professional organization, take a course, volunteer… Connect with people and share your skills. You will meet people responsible for hiring, or people who know people responsible for hiring.


5. Find a mentor


Many professional organizations offer mentorship programs. Contact the organization in your area and inquire. If they do not have this type of program, they may be able to offer suggestions on where you could find one.


6. Build on your strengths


Remember that your cross-cultural experience or multilingual abilities are assets in countries with diverse and multicultural populations. Highlight these.


7. Assess your English


Do your language skills need a tune-up? Consider enrolling in a language class for professionals. These are usually available in large urban centres.


8. Consider a career coach


A career coach can provide you with valuable information on interviewing skills, the job-market, and career planning in your new country.


9. Be realistic


Understand that job searching is not easy for anyone. Everyone needs a plan, and has to be prepared to wait and experience disappointment. If you are in a situation in which you have to take a job that is below your expectations, you will need to find time to keep building your connections within your field.


10. Consider volunteering


The idea of working for no pay when you are desperate for a job may seem contradictory, but volunteering can open doors to opportunity. It can give you the chance to use your expertise, develop new skills, network, and get local experiences and references. It’s definitely win-win.


It will take time to rise to the same level you had achieved in your home country, but with strategic planning and perseverance, you can get there.


If you need help, we are here for you. Our career coaches, resume writers and job search strategists can ensure that you attack your Canadian job search with the right materials and foundation to get interviews and land offers. Give us a call today and get support with your upward mobility! 1-866-636-9400




Mary Gillespie is's professional writer-in-residence. With a Master’s degree in English, extensive experience teaching at the university level and working internationally, Mary adds valuable insight to our professional services division. She is responsible for editing and content creation and managing our professional resume writers. You can reach Mary at


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