What every Chef must know in order to get a Job in Canada
Every year, chefs from all over the world come to Canada to work and start a new life. In fact, given the cultural diversity and thus incredible variety of restaurant cuisines found in Canada, there are ongoing employment opportunities for almost every type of Chef looking to find work in Canada.
However, just being talented or having lots of experience as a chef is not the key to landing a job in Canada. Of course, having a desirable CV is an important part of the equation. But what many people don’t realize is that how you put together your CV or job application may be even more important, and in fact could be the reason why you never successfully get a chef job in Canada.
That is why every chef looking to get a job and start a new life in Canada must know about something in Canada called the NOC, or the ‘National Occupation Code’. The NOC in Canada is a concept made up by the Government to classify occupations and more importantly to define the type of work, skills, education and duties attached to each profession.
The NOC is extremely important for two reasons. First, in order for an employer to convince the government that it has a need to hire a temporary foreign worker, it must clearly define the occupation for which it needs a foreign worker and then demonstrate that no available domestic worker is suitable for the position. For example, an employer will not be able to say ‘we need restaurant people’ and then claim that they could not find anyone good.
Typically, an employer will select a NOC in order to avoid the government from selecting one for them. This is important because once a NOC has been selected, companies will often craft their job requirements around the definitions for that NOC set by the government. Just like the employer, if you are applying for a chef job in Canada, it is critical up front to know what a chef is and what it chef isn’t according to the government of Canada.
The second important reason why every chef looking to immigrate to Canada must know about NOC’s is that if there are specific minimum requirements set out in a NOC, the employer will not be allowed to accept candidates who do not meet these requirements. In other words, the employer may be authorized to hire an international worker but based on your CV or application they will not be able to hire you.
Think about this for a second. Imagine you are an amazing executive chef with a fabulous reputation and extensive experience. You send in an application to an employer in Canada who at first glance falls in love with your CV. However, you failed to mention on your CV that you spent two years in a supervisory capacity, which is an employment requirement set under the NOC. Instead of calling you for an interview the employer simply moves on to the next applicant who wisely read the NOC requirements and has included this information on his or her CV.
The same issue holds true for the chef duties listed in your CV. It is much easier for the potential Canadian employer to see that you actually qualify as a chef under the NOC requirements if the duties outlined by the government for a chef are in some way included in your application.
For example, as an executive chef, have you mentioned that you ‘plan menus and ensure food meets quality standards’? Did you ‘ arrange for equipment purchases and repairs?’ Do you have experience ‘recruiting and hiring staff?’ Of course, there is no hard and fast requirement that your application demonstrate that all duties, skills and requirements outlined in the NOC are present. Additionally, no one should ever just verbatim copy the NOC requirements. But you can imagine, how extremely difficult it is for the employer to give you an interview if it does not look like you will qualify under the Canadian governments definition of a chef.
So, where do you find the NOC code definition? Easy, the government of Canada has a website that provides information on every NOC. The link for chefs can be found below:
Additionally, you will see that many other job titles are also covered under the NOC for chefs. Simply click on the ‘View all titles’ link on the chef NOC page to see the complete list. Further, at the bottom of the page, you will find other occupations related to chefs such as cooks and restaurant and food service managers.
Looking at these other related professions is extremely helpful, as it will help you understand how the government might look at your CV and decide that your experience and skills better defines you as a cook instead of a chef, thus making you ineligible to fill an open chef position.
Sometimes, getting a job in Canada is not about who you are but rather how you apply. Starting a new life in Canada as a chef is no exception, and knowing your NOC and being aware of the specific requirements for chefs in Canada may be the most important thing you can do to successfully immigrate to Canada.