Finding Work in B.C.

Topics on this page:


What you need to work in B.C.

In addition to your Social Insurance Number and work permit (if required), here are some other items that you may need to get a job in BC:
  • a résume
  • work references
  • education and professional credentials (translated into English if the originals are in another language)
  • professional certification from a B.C. regulatory authority
Some items can only be completed once you are in B.C., but many can be prepared before you arrive. The more you have done before you arrive, the more likely you are to get a job in your field.
 

Where to look for a job

The WorkBC website is operated by the government of B.C. You can use it to search for jobs and learn about different careers. You can also learn about B.C.’s economy, industries, and job market. You can get information about employment services and job training programs available to you. The majority of employers do not advertise their job vacancies. Growing your network can help you find job opportunities and connect with employers in the “hidden” job market. Your current social circle is a good place to start, but you can find other ways to grow your network on the WorkBC website.
 

How To Apply For A Job

Applications

Most companies expect you to complete an application. You will need to give your address, phone number, work history, and references (contact information of people you worked for). Make sure you have all the information you need before you fill in an application form. Some companies will take your application in person. Others will only accept applications online.

The WorkBC website has information about job applications. You can learn about writing a resumé, getting ready for an interview, networking (getting to know people who can help you find work), and using social media to find jobs.
 

Resumés

Many companies ask for a resumé and cover letter when you apply for a job. A resumé describes your work experience and education. It says when you had a job and what you did. A cover letter is a short letter to the employer. You should write why you want the job and why you will be good at it. The cover letter is very important. It lets the employer know you better. It also shows how well you communicate. Find out how the company would like to receive your resumé and cover letter – by email, through a website, or printed on paper.

References

Before you start looking for a job, find some references. References are people who know you and can recommend you for a job. Employers may contact your references to ask about your qualifications. You will need to give their names and contact information (phone number and email address) when you apply for a job. Ask former employers and landlords if they can be your reference.

If you are new to Canada, you may not have any references here. Volunteering can help you get local work experience and meet people who will be a reference for you.  A WorkBC Centre may be able to help you find volunteer experience.
 

Criminal record checks

Some employers may ask for a criminal record check. A criminal record check is an official report from the police. It shows if you have been convicted (found guilty) of a criminal act (breaking the law). If you have a criminal record, you can still find work. However, some employers will not hire people with criminal records – for example, schools and child care companies.

You can apply for a criminal record check online
 

Job interviews

If you are qualified and the employer likes your resumé and cover letter, they may invite you to an interview. This is a meeting for the employer to learn more about you. Interviews are usually at the employer’s location, but they can also be over the phone or online. The employer will ask questions about your education, skills, and work experience. They might ask things like:
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Why do you think you are the best person for the job?
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Tell me about other jobs you’ve had.
Employers want you to explain your skills. Practise answering questions before the interview. Employers also want you to care about their business. Learn about the company before your interview. At the interview, you can also ask the employer questions. Ask about job duties, wages, work hours, benefits, and vacation time.

Learn more about resumés, cover letters, and job interviews on the WorkBC website.

There is also information on Canada’s Job Bank website.

Professional certification from a B.C. regulatory authority

Some jobs in B.C. are regulated. This means people need special education and experience to do these jobs, and they need to prove that they have the required skills and training. Many people who were trained outside of Canada will be asked to have their credentials assessed to determine how they compare to Canadian credentials. There are different types of credential assessment depending on what the assessment will be used for.
 

Different types of credential assessments

Two common reasons that newcomers are asked to complete a credential assessment are:
  1. Immigration - most individuals immigrating to Canada for work (economic immigration) need to have an educational credential assessment (ECA). An ECA is used to verify that a foreign degree, diploma, or certificate (or other proof of your credential) is valid and equal to a Canadian one.
  2. Professional certification – credential assessments for professional certification often look at more than education. It may also be necessary to provide information about work experience, licenses or other official certifications from outside of Canada. In addition, it may be necessary to pass some tests related to the job.
It is very important to understand what type of assessment it is. A credential assessment that was completed for immigration purposes usually cannot be used for professional certification.
 
Visit the getting certified to work in B.C. page to learn more about credential assessment if you:
  • went to university
  • went to college
  • had an apprenticeship
  • completed a certificate, diploma, or degree related to your work
  • registered to use a title (for example, Doctor or Professor)
  • needed a license, registration or certification for your past work

How to get help finding a job

The Career Paths for Skilled Immigrants program helps immigrants find skilled jobs in B.C. that use the education and experience you bring to Canada. Career Paths can help you get jobs that match your experience and background.
 
The Skilled Immigrant InfoCentre can give you information about specific jobs and career opportunities. They can also help you start a business. Find information on the website.
 
WorkBC has information about employment and upgrading programs.
 
You can also connect with your local WorkBC Centre to get help with your job search. WorkBC Centre staff help people find and apply for jobs. They have free resources you can use to find work.
 
WorkBC Centres provide:
  • planning, support, and workshops to help you find a job
  • training to build your skills
  • work experience
  • services for people who want to work for themselves
  • help searching for jobs, preparing a resumé, contacting employers, and getting ready for a job interview
  • assistive technology and other supports for people with disabilities
  • financial support to participate in services and to start a job, including child care, transportation, essential work clothes and tools, and language interpretation

Learn English

English language skills will help you work in your profession, take care of daily activities and find success in B.C. The Daily Life page has information about where you can take English language classes.