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As a newcomer in Canada looking for a job, you’ve probably already participated in several
formal and informal conversations. Coffee chats are somewhere between the two, and of late
have emerged as a staple in Canadian work culture.

These short one-on-one conversations can give you deep insight into a professional’s career
path, industry trends, mentorship opportunities, and so much more. For instance, my last coffee
chat connection shared her list of favorite cafes in Toronto, made introductions, and even
celebrated my professional achievements!

For immigrants in particular, coffee chats are opportunities to perfect their conversational skills,
and develop a better understanding of Canadian employers. Maybe even get that pre-interview
nervousness out of the way!
However, not all coffee chats are created equal. In fact, some may feel like a burdensome
twenty minutes, others could have you feeling like you’ve known your connection since forever.
Regardless of its fate, it’s always best to go in well-prepared so that you can have an effortless
and lively conversation.
Do them right, and a successful coffee chat can turn out to be your trump card. So let’s find out
how you can make the most of them:

🎯 Approaching the right person the right way
Depending on your objective, make a list of people you find interesting and would like to speak
with. Next, draft a short yet precise message as to why you’d like to have the coffee chat, and
what you’d like to learn from your connection. Include a specific duration between 15 to 30
minutes so that your connection can chalk out the required time. Close with a suggestion of
doing this over video or audio call.
Pro tip: Boost your chances of acceptance by beginning your message with a thoughtful
compliment. This could be about a recent achievement, a well-written article or a relatable
comment that your connection posted. In short – do your research and put it to good use!

🎯 Have an open mind and show genuine interest
A coffee chat isn’t always a gateway to a job, but it can be your chance to broaden your network
and cash in on some precious introductions. At the very least, you will end the call having learnt
more about the industry and work culture in Canada. Keep your mind open to the possibilities at
the other end of the call and maintain steady interest in your connection throughout.

🎯 Research your connection well
When you initiate a coffee chat, do some basic ground work about your connection. This
includes knowing where they work, their university, and some basic work history so you can ask
them relevant questions. Preparing your questions prior to the call can help steer the
conversation according to your objectives. Framing your questions with the right information can put things in perspective for your connection. This simply means – offer reasoning behind your
questions. Some examples are:
“I noticed from your LinkedIn that you made a career change from Finance to Cybersecurity, –
what steps did you take to make that move, and what advice would you give to someone
who is looking to transition to Cybersecurity?”
“As a newcomer, I sometimes struggle with the confidence required to take on leadership roles.
Have you faced this dilemma any time and how did you deal with it?”

🎯 Go off script with personal questions
Wait, did you forget that this was a casual conversation? Go ahead and ask your connection
about what they like to do in their free time, share travel stories, and probably even swap some
Netflix recommendations. Showing your personality in coffee chats is an equally important factor
as sharing your career details, as Canadian companies place a great deal of importance on the
‘cultural fit’ of a potential candidate.
A word of caution – refrain from getting too personal. Family, religion, politics, off-color humor,
and sexuality are generally considered off limits.

🎯 Leave a lasting impression with a follow-up
All’s well that ends well, so remember to send a sweet thank-you note after your coffee chat.
Consider mentioning a topic from your recent conversation, like sharing the name of a book or
asking for details about a café they liked. This thoughtful gesture not only leaves a positive
impression but also provides a conversation starter for future interactions.
Now that you know the secret sauce behind a successful coffee chat, here are some pointers of
what not to do:

  • Don’t make spelling mistakes with your connection’s name when you reach out to them
    over email or text. When you meet them for the first time, always ask if you are
    pronouncing their name correctly.
  • Don’t exceed your stipulated time unless your connection is okay with it. If the
    conversation is going over time, always pause and ask if you could wrap up in an
    additional 5 minutes. Else, ask for another appointment in the following days.
  • Don’t forget to ask for suggestions for your next coffee chat!. Depending on the
    conversation, your connection should be able to suggest some contacts from their
    network that could potentially be helpful in your journey. If they don’t offer any contacts,
    ask if there’s someone they know that you could talk to.
  • Don’t take rejections personally. If you have sent out several invitations and haven’t
    heard back from any, consider tweaking your message for better results. People are
    busy and a follow-up message can remind them of your request.

While these are some pointers to get you started in the right direction, successful coffee chats
can happen under any circumstances. They may occur at a conference you recently attended,
at the park, or even in grocery stores. Have you heard about the broccoli challenge? With fewer
inhibitions and an open mind, every newcomer in Canada can get hired in fulfilling jobs


    Welcome to Canada, the land of diverse opportunities and new beginnings!

    As a newcomer to this beautiful country, you will get a chance to embrace the warm Canadian hospitality, scenery, global cuisine but while you are enjoying this….don’t forget you need to apply for jobs!

    Ah yes! The job search process.

    Overwhelming, challenging and daunting!

    But don’t worry; you are not alone!

    Many newcomers face similar challenges when seeking employment, but with the right guidance and determination, you can embark on a successful job search journey.

    In this newsletter, we aim to provide you with a treasure trove of tips and tricks to streamline your job application process. While it’s true that seeking advice from your network can be beneficial, this comprehensive newsletter compiles all the main tips and insights you need to stand out in the Canadian job market.

    Whether you’re a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, the key to success lies in adopting a strategic approach to job applications. From creating a job application tracker in Excel to nurturing your physical and mental well-being during the process, we’ll cover everything you need to know.

    Let’s dive into the life a newcomer to Canada on their journey to find employment.

    🎯 Your Morning Routine

    As a newcomer to the diverse land of Canada, your focus should be on conscientiously kicking off your mornings with a refreshing and nutritious fruit-based breakfast, carefully selected to fuel your mind and body for the day ahead. In a thoughtful act of self-care, always keep a trusty water bottle within arm’s reach, a constant reminder to stay hydrated and maintain your focus amidst the challenges of the job application process.

    PS…which is your favourite fruit?

    🎯Setting Daily Application Targets

    Recognize the significance of consistent effort in your job search journey. Take a proactive approach by setting realistic daily application targets. Ensure progress by dedicating a specific amount of time each day to meticulously research potential job opportunities, customize your resumes to align with each role’s requirements, and diligently submit your applications. This disciplined routine will not only keep you motivated but also maximize your chances of landing interviews with employers, demonstrating your commitment and determination to secure a fulfilling career in your new home, Canada.

    🎯Applying to Jobs with Fewer Applications

    While you apply to some popular positions, don’t forget to proactively seek out hidden gems – job postings with a relatively lower number of applications, preferably below 100. Recognize that these less competitive roles could be a golden opportunity for you to stand out. By strategically targeting them, you can increase your chances of getting noticed and avoid getting lost in the vast pool of applicants that often accompanies highly sought-after positions. This approach will allow your resume to receive the attention it deserves from employers who might otherwise overlook it amidst a sea of applicants, ultimately bringing you one step closer to your preferred job.

    🎯Create a Job Tracker

    As you embark on your job search journey, it’s crucial to stay organized throughout the application process. Consider creating a meticulous and efficient job application tracker using Microsoft Excel. Your job application tracker should include columns for the job title, company name, application date, application status, deadline, and follow-up dates. Don’t forget to add notes to each entry, highlighting any specific details about the application or company.

    With this job tracker in place, you’ll be able to manage multiple job applications seamlessly. It will help you avoid the confusion of submitting duplicate applications and allow you to keep track of the various stages of the application process. Remember to regularly update the tracker with new information to ensure you never miss a deadline or overlook an essential follow-up.

    🎯Targeting Recently Posted Jobs

    You need to be proactive in your job search, giving priority to recently posted job listings. By swiftly applying to these openings, you position yourself among the first candidates to be considered by employers. It’s crucial to explore various opportunities and consider extending your search to smaller, less competitive cities. This approach will not only broaden your potential job prospects but also increase the likelihood of your application standing out. By strategically targeting both recently posted positions and opportunities in smaller cities, you maximize your chances of finding the perfect job that aligns with your skills and aspirations as a newcomer.

    🎯Tailoring Resumes for Each Job Application

    Recognizing the significance of presenting yourself as the ideal fit for each job, you diligently highlight the most relevant skills and experiences that perfectly align with the specific job requirements. By customizing your resume in this way, you make it more appealing to hiring managers who can quickly recognize your suitability for the role. Create a separate folder for each job application that comprises the Word and PDF format of your Resume and Cover Letter to stay organized and professional in your job search.

    🎯Having a Plan B

    Always have a Plan B. For instance, you might be an expert in marketing, but you wisely consider alternative options and apply for diverse roles such as administrative, customer service, and even sales positions. Understanding the importance of adaptability and flexibility in the job market, you recognize that having a backup plan is essential. By keeping your options open and embracing versatility, you demonstrate a proactive and pragmatic approach to your job search, which ultimately broadens your possibilities and increases your likelihood of securing employment.

    🎯Networking Events and Job Fairs

    Don’t forget to attend both in-person and virtual networking events and job fairs. These gatherings will serve as essential platforms for you to interact with industry professionals, gain valuable insights into various companies, and explore unadvertised job openings that might not be accessible through regular job search channels. By engaging in these events, you will have the opportunity to build meaningful connections, showcase your skills and experiences, and leave a lasting impression on potential employers.

    🎯Skill Enhancement through Short Courses

    As you eagerly await responses from potential employers, you must understand the value of utilizing your time effectively. Enrol yourself in various short online courses that align with your career goals. These courses will not only allow you to acquire new skills but also provide you with valuable certifications to bolster your resume. By posting these certifications on LinkedIn, you position yourself as a well-rounded professional, ready to take on new challenges and opportunities.

    🎯Informational Interviews and Networking

    Utilize LinkedIn to reach out to professionals in your field, requesting brief conversations to gain valuable insights into the Canadian job market and specific industries. By emphasizing the importance of networking, this strategic effort leads to a significant expansion of your professional connections and opens doors to exciting opportunities you might not have otherwise discovered. Through these informative exchanges, you enrich your understanding of the local work landscape, hone your job search strategy, and lay a solid foundation for building a successful career.

    🎯Leveraging Volunteering Opportunities

    To gain invaluable Canadian work experience and expand your professional network, you should proactively seek out volunteering opportunities in your field of interest. By dedicating your time and skills to these roles, you will demonstrate your genuine commitment to the local community and its causes. Through volunteering, you can not only contribute meaningfully but also acquire relevant hands-on experience that you can proudly showcase on your resume. The connections you make during these endeavours can open doors to potential job opportunities and help you forge strong relationships with industry professionals.

    🎯Leveraging Professional Social Media Platforms

    With meticulous attention to detail, fine-tune your LinkedIn profile to highlight your diverse skill set, relevant experiences, and notable accomplishments. By curating a compelling and well-crafted online presence, you significantly boost your visibility to potential employers and recruiters alike. Through active networking and engagement within industry groups, you position yourself as a proactive and knowledgeable professional, leaving a lasting impression on those who come across your profile. If you want to learn effective tips and tricks on how to optimize your LinkedIn: check out our exclusive Newsletter.

    In conclusion, as you embark on your journey to find success in the Canadian job market, remember: You’re not just seeking employment; you’re crafting a new chapter filled with growth and achievement. With each tailored resume, networking event, and skill-enhancing course, you’re shaping a narrative of resilience and determination

    If you are still wondering how do I take my first step in this direction, then we will be glad to assist you. As a community of immigrants created to assist immigrants, we focus on providing a safe space for professionals to connect with one another.

    By registering with us at, we endeavour to provide you an opportunity to connect with professionals working in your desired field.

    Go ahead! Give it a try!

    Networking to get working! 💪

    You’re sitting in front of your computer screen, dressed to impress, waiting for the Zoom call to begin.

    The anticipation builds, and you feel a mix of nerves and excitement.

    It’s your time to shine and land that dream job!

    But wait… you need the ultimate interview tips to ace this crucial moment.

    Are you a newcomer to Canada, ready to embark on a successful professional journey?

    Have you googled all the important questions that you might get asked?

    Have you taken mental notes on how to speak?

    Have you meticulously memorized all the ‘right’ answers?


    Now it’s time to take your interviews skills to the next level.

    When starting your journey to find employment in Canada, it’s crucial to equip yourself with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in job interviews. Whether you are a recent immigrant, a refugee, or an international student, we have tailored this resource to address the unique needs and challenges faced by newcomers.

    Our newsletter aims to provide you with valuable insights, tips, and strategies to enhance your interview performance, boost your confidence, and increase your chances of landing a job.

    And the exciting news?

    As promised, we have partnered with the renowned Youssef SKALLI, the Interview expert, who has got 2K+ followers on LinkedIn and is considered as OG in the game of job search!

    Let’s get ready to pave our way to a truly eh’-mazing interview!

    🎯 Nick: Youssef, please tell us a bit about yourself.

    Youssef: I am a Human, a smile instigator, a multilingual Certified Professional Empowerment Coach and Mental Health Advocate with 20+ years of international corporate experience in finance and Human Resources leadership roles.

    I have lived and worked in different countries across the globe before landing in Ottawa, Canada in 2021.

    I am passionate about helping people to unlock their resourcefulness and bridge gaps towards their intentional and fulfilling living with a focus on career and life transitions.

    My coaching practice is centred around S.K.A.L.L.I. Self-Knowledge-And-Living-Life-Intentionally along with practicing being G.R.E.A.T. Grounded, Resilient, Empathetic, Aware and Thankful.

    🎯 Nick: What are Top 2 tips you would like to give to job seekers?

    Youssef: The number one tip I would like to share is to ensure that you position yourself as a “service and solution provider” rather than a “job beggar.”

    When approaching the job search process, it’s crucial to shift your mindset and showcase the value you can bring to a potential employer. Instead of focusing solely on your needs, emphasize how you can contribute to the organization’s goals and address their challenges.

    By positioning yourself as a service and solution provider, you convey your ability to deliver tangible results and make a positive impact. This mindset shift will not only make you stand out from other job seekers but also resonate with employers who are seeking candidates who can actively contribute to their success.

    Secondly, during the interview, it’s important to actively listen to the questions being asked. If you encounter a question that you’re unsure about or don’t fully understand, don’t hesitate to feel comfortable asking for clarification. This demonstrates your attentiveness and ensures that you provide thoughtful and relevant responses.

    🎯 Nick: What does a job interview entail? Is it primarily about giving verbatim answers or is there more to it?

    Youssef: A job interview encompasses much more than providing scripted responses. While it is important to answer questions effectively, a successful interview goes beyond that.

    Understanding that job interview is more about communicating your value and what you bring to the organization.This is a chance to convey your personality, demonstrate your fit with the company culture, and leave a lasting impression that sets you apart from other candidates. Therefore, it is essential to prepare not just to provide scripted answers but also to convey your value proposition authentically and effectively.


    Q: “Tell us about your experience with developing marketing campaigns.”

    A: Understanding that a job interview is about communicating your value and what you bring to the organization, you must highlight your past accomplishments, link them directly to the job requirements, and convey your ability to deliver tangible results.

    “In my previous role as a marketing coordinator at Company ABC, I successfully conceptualized and executed multiple marketing campaigns that resulted in a 30% increase in customer engagement and a 20% boost in sales. By leveraging my strategic thinking, creativity, and strong analytical skills, I was able to identify target audience segments, develop compelling messaging, and utilize various digital platforms to maximize campaign reach and impact…..””In my previous role as a marketing coordinator at Company ABC, I successfully conceptualized and executed multiple marketing campaigns that resulted in a 30% increase in customer engagement and a 20% boost in sales. By leveraging my strategic thinking, creativity, and strong analytical skills, I was able to identify target audience segments, develop compelling messaging, and utilize various digital platforms to maximize campaign reach and impact…..”

    🎯 Nick: Then shouldn’t we just focus on stating out facts from our resume?

    Youssef: Absolutely not, job interview is not about reading your resume in detail. The interviewer has likely reviewed your resume beforehand and is familiar with its content. Instead, the interview provides an opportunity for you to elaborate on the experiences and skills highlighted in your resume.


    Q: “You have mentioned in your resume that you successfully led a cross-functional team to implement a new software system. Please elaborate on this.”

    A: During this interview, the interviewer is asking you to elaborate on this accomplishment and is seeking specific details such as the challenges you faced, the strategies you employed, and the outcomes you achieved. It’s your chance to showcase your problem-solving abilities, leadership skills, and the impact you made within your previous organization.

    “In my previous role as a Project Manager at XYZ Company, we recognized the need to streamline our internal processes by implementing a state-of-the-art software system.

    To begin with, I collaborated with stakeholders from various departments, including IT, operations, and finance, to understand their unique requirements and ensure that the new system would effectively address their needs. This involved conducting comprehensive meetings, gathering feedback, and aligning everyone’s expectations.

    One of the significant challenges we encountered during the implementation was integrating the new software seamlessly with our existing systems. This required meticulous planning, rigorous testing, and effective communication with our IT team and external vendors.

    Furthermore, I implemented a phased approach to the implementation, breaking down the project into manageable milestones and assigning specific tasks to team members based on their expertise. This fostered a sense of ownership and accountability among the team and kept everyone motivated throughout the process.

    As a result of our collective efforts, the new software system was successfully implemented within the planned timeline, leading to 50% cost savings for the company.”

    🎯 Nick: How do you approach a job interview to effectively showcase the alignment between your skills with the job requirements and organization culture?

    Youssef: Indeed, job interview is about showcasing a summary how your skills, professional and personal values and experiences match the job requirement and the organization culture.


    Q: “Why do you think you are a perfect match for this role?”

    A: I developed strong leadership skills, which I believe are essential for this position. I successfully led cross-functional teams to complete complex projects within strict deadlines, demonstrating my ability to effectively coordinate and motivate team members. Additionally, I’m highly skilled in problem-solving and critical thinking, qualities that I believe would be valuable in tackling the challenges this role may present.

    Moreover, I resonate with the values and culture of your organization. In my research, I discovered that your company prioritizes innovation, collaboration, and a customer-centric approach, which are all values I hold dear. I consistently strive for innovative solutions, and I greatly enjoy collaborating with colleagues to achieve shared goals. Furthermore, I strongly believe in putting the customer at the center of everything we do, as it fosters long-term relationships and drives business success.

    Overall, my skills, professional values, and experiences align perfectly with the job requirements and your company culture. I’m confident that I can contribute positively to the team and help achieve the company’s objectives.”

    🎯 Nick: Can you please shed some light on ice breaker question.

    Youssef: When preparing a 45 to 60-second speech for the ice breaker question, it’s important to focus on sharing key highlights about yourself rather than diving into your entire life story. The goal is to spark the interviewer’s interest and curiosity, encouraging further conversation. Additionally, remember to practice your answer authentically, allowing your personality to shine through rather than delivering it mechanically.


    Q: “Tell me a bit about yourself?”

    A: Hello! My name is XYZ I am a highly motivated professional with a strong track record in leadership and project management. Throughout my career, I’ve led cross-functional teams to successfully complete complex projects within strict deadlines. One notable example was when I coordinated a team of diverse professionals to implement a new system, resulting in a 30% increase in operational efficiency.

    In addition to my leadership abilities, I’m highly skilled in problem-solving and critical thinking. I thrive in challenging environments and have a proven track record of finding innovative solutions. For instance, I recently spearheaded a cost-saving initiative that resulted in a 20% reduction in expenses while maintaining quality standards.

    What truly excites me about your organization is its commitment to innovation, collaboration, and a customer-centric approach. I’ve done my research, and I genuinely resonate with these values. I believe in putting the customer at the center of everything we do, as it fosters long-term relationships and drives business success.”

    🎯 Nick: Can you provide us some tips on the two most common questions asked in an interview?

    Youssef: One of the most commonly asked question is “Why should we hire you?” Here is my take on this: it’s important to remember that it’s not solely about you as an individual, but rather about how you can benefit the organization. To effectively answer this question, it’s crucial to showcase how your qualifications align with the specific requirements outlined in the job posting. Once you’ve demonstrated your suitability for the role, it’s essential to pivot and highlight how your skills, experience, and unique perspective will contribute to the organization’s mission and goals


    Q: “Why should we hire you?”

    A: “Thank you for the question. Based on the job description and my qualifications, I believe I am an excellent fit for this role. I have a strong background in project management, and my experience aligns closely with the requirements outlined in the job posting. For example, I successfully led a team in implementing a similar project that resulted in a 20% increase in efficiency and cost savings.

    However, what sets me apart is not only my ability to meet the specific job requirements but also the unique perspective I bring. I have a proven track record of identifying innovative solutions and fostering collaboration across diverse teams. With my background in both technology and marketing, I can bridge the gap between departments and ensure our strategies align with the organization’s overall mission and goals.

    Moreover, my adaptability and willingness to embrace new challenges will enable me to quickly integrate into the team and make a positive impact from day one. I am confident that my skills, experience, and passion for driving results make me the ideal candidate to contribute to the success of this organization.”

    Youssef: The other import question is “What are your weaknesses?” For this question, I would suggest you to embrace honesty and self-awareness. Instead of sugar coating it, showcase your willingness to acknowledge and address your weaknesses. Share a genuine weakness that you are aware of, but also emphasize the steps you are actively taking to work on it. This highlights your growth mindset and commitment to personal development. Also, avoid cliché answers for such generic questions.


    Q: “What are your weaknesses?”

    A: I tend to take on too many responsibilities at once, which can sometimes lead to burnout. To address this, I have been working on delegating tasks more effectively. I have learned to trust and empower my team members by assigning them tasks that match their strengths. This not only relieves some of my workload but also fosters a sense of collaboration and growth within the team.

    🎯 Nick: Can you please suggest some questions that a candidate can ask at the end of an interview?

    Youssef: Asking questions during the final stages of the interview demonstrates your interest in not only fitting into the job but also determining if the position is a good fit for you. These inquiries can revolve around the specific role or the organization as a whole. For instance,

    • What does success look like in this position?
    • What is your vision for this role?
    • What are the main areas of improvement for the department, and how can this role contribute to that?
    • What would you say is the main leadership style in the organization?

    In summary, the interview process is an opportunity to authentically showcase your value, align your skills with the job and company requirements, and demonstrate your interest and curiosity about the role and the organization.

    If you wish to learn more, you can always connect with us. Our team at Immigrant Networks is here to listen and provide support. Register with us and tell us about your journey!

    Networking to get working! 💪

    9 Steps + 90 Days = Employment

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