How to get a Job with Canadian Tech Companies
I want to address one of biggest concern people have, that is getting a job in Canada. I also want to clear some misconceptions around how its harder to get good jobs in Canada versus say the US.
In the US foreign talent comes in mostly on a work visa (H1B, etc). Additionally most people get their work visa either after completing a US university degree or excelling in their field overseas. Universities for example give people a chance to intern, go though campus recruiting processes, etc as a way of getting face time with potential employers. All this means those in the US already have a job.
In Canada it’s a very different situation. Traditionally the work visa process for Canada has been much longer and more complex than the US. This caused most companies to go a different route and not hire people on work visas. This is even more evident by the fact that most companies don’t have dedicated staff to handle immigration related work. In Silicon Valley it’s the opposite even medium sized companies have people to handle immigration and employees on work visas are everywhere. In my opinion the old immigration process did not match immigrants to the needs of the local job market. And this made it harder for previous generations of immigrants to find the right jobs.
Canada’s tech scene is new and filled with very smart people who understand the value of skilled tech immigration. In fact I could even say that the Shopify IPO a few years ago signalled that Canada Tech is now ready to take on the world. The point I’m trying to make is that it’s all new. The Express Entry process that maps your work experience to Canada’s needs is designed to bring in employable tech talent that can hit the ground running. The latest change of this new age is the much faster work visa’s that allow Canadian companies to bring in foreign employees in less than 2 weeks.
Getting a job in tech is very different from so many other industries. Your capabilities can be judged much more easily. There is much less risk associated with hiring someone. And there is no need for any local experience. I would even say tech is global not local you could transplant tech employees to any tech center in the world and not much would change in terms of the job and work culture. This is massively different from other fields like banking, accounting, teaching, legal, etc where local experience could hold some added value.
Getting a job is a process and people go about it in different ways. I’ll try and define one of the many possible paths you can take to getting a tech job in Canada.
Finding the right company
Its important to have an initial shortlist go after. Find a product that interests you or a company culture that speaks to you. Don’t forget to cross check on Glassdoor to get a good perspective on your shortlist. There are a few options to help you discover tech jobs and companies in Canada.
We have put together a hand picked list of the Top 30 tech companies and startups in Toronto.
Signup with MOV North to get dicovered by Canadian companies looking to hire under the new fast work visa (GTS) program. Signup Here
Linkedin Jobs while this seems obvious many people overlook how insightful job listings on Linkedin are. Follow the job listing back to the company page and factor in data like employee growth, etc that Linkedin surfaces (you might need a premium account)
Applying for Jobs
In short reach out. Use tools like Linkedin InMails or get an introduction to someone working there. I would say its ok to even reach out to the CTO or a director level person especially for engineering positions. Getting your resume referred internally after first getting vetted by an employee is a great way to get your foot in the door. I don’t have to say this but please have a rich and complete Linkedin profile. Try and document the major work and projects that you did at your previous and current job. Also have a customized version of your resume ready to highlight your previous work experience that applies most to this job.
I used Linkedin extensively when I was looking to move to a Canadian company after getting my PR. I finally joined a great company Influitive in a product role. Relationships I had built over my career certainly played a part in getting my foot in the door.