Three Essential Job Application Tips for Overseas Skilled Workers applying to Canada
Based on our experiences of working with a number of Canadian employers and international job candidates, we have composed a list of three tips that we have found to be particularly useful when applying for jobs in Canada.
1. Figure out what the core interests of the employer are and cater your application to those interests. In devising their job applications, the vast majority of people follow the same run-of-the-mill routines. Their applications are often also extremely generic. An invaluable way in which you can make your application stand out significantly is by tailoring it in a way which furthers the employer’s core interests. The reality is that companies are highly self-interested. In order to really get the attention of an employer you need to embrace this reality and convince the employer that hiring you will serve to promote the company’s interests.
How do you figure out what the core interests of a company are? Companies are obviously in business in order to maximize their profits. This is their ultimate interest. Profits consist of revenues less costs. As a result, anything which serves to either increase revenues and/or reduce costs will be of serious interest for the company.
So, think about what drives a given company’s revenues. What business is the company in? What products and services does the company offer? Who are the company’s customers? What inputs does the company purchase in order to produce the products and services that it offers? Ask yourself how you can affect any of these factors in order to increase the company’s revenues and/or decrease its costs. For example, maybe you have some contact in your country which you can use to open up new markets for the company. Or, alternatively, maybe you have access to less costly labour in your country that you can help the company utilize in some creative way.
If you figure out a company’s true interests and customize your job application in a way that demonstrates that you can further that company’s interests, then very close attention will be paid to your application.
Do not assume that what you know, the recipient of your application knows as well
When devising their applications, job candidates often fall into the trap of subconsciously presuming that what they know about their experience and skills is also somehow apparent to the person who is reading the application. When writing out a CV, candidates often write something very generic and easily forget that the person reading the application only sees what is written in the CV but does not have the benefit of knowing what the candidate knows about his or her numerous skills and accomplishments.
By subconsciously presuming that the employer knows what you know about your experience and then excluding information in the application, you are leaving the employer in the dark about key info. The risk of leaving the employer in the dark is especially great for international job candidates because much of the experience and knowledge acquired outside Canada might be very different than what Canadian employers are used to hearing about.
For example, you may write into your application that you worked as a business analyst in Singapore without providing many details about your work presuming that the label of business analyst will convey to an employer the precise nature of your experience. This, however, is almost invariably not the case. You need to spell out in some detail what you did. You should highlight important projects and accomplishments in order to paint a true and comprehensive picture of your credentials.
3. Conduct research prior to submitting your application. It is very useful for job candidates to unearth as much information as possible about both the company they are applying to as well the person(s) who will be evaluating their application. As mentioned earlier, in our experience the vast majority of applications are generic and rarely customized to fit the needs of each specific employer. Candidates should research the company to find out, among other things, what projects the company is currently involved in, what problems they face, and what opportunities they are pursuing. Applications should then be custom tailored in way that matches a candidate’s strengths, skills, and experiences, with the company’s actual current needs.
If possible, try to also find out some information about the person evaluating your application. Such personalized knowledge can be invaluable in establishing an immediate positive connection with that person. For example, if you find out that the person assessing your application belongs to a particular social or religious group or organization that you also belong to then you can consider mentioning something about that in your application. People naturally gravitate towards others who are similar to them in some meaningful and emotional way.