newcomers: restarting your accounting career in canada

Having newly arrived in your adopted country, you might be asking yourself if it’s possible to pick up your accounting career where you left off. Finding a job in a new country is rarely easy. Luckily, accounting is a profession where immigrants are able to succeed and thrive.

Like the rest of the world, Canada has been feeling the effects of labour shortages in recent years. Several sectors are in dire need of qualified workers—a promising sign of economic growth. Accounting is also one of the 15 most in-demand jobs in Canada in 2019. That could be good news: many companies are looking to attract talent from abroad to fill vacancies. Plus, accountants are recognized under the skilled worker immigration program.

accounting job tips for newcomers to canada

how to land your first job in canada

Despite the current state of the labor market, a lack of work experience in Canada can slow down your job search. Here are some tips to stack the odds in your favor.

  • Get your equivalency. Getting diplomas earned outside of Canada officially recognized is your first step. This is increasingly being done by new Canadian CPAs to speed up the process.
  • Become a CPA. You’ll have to take a few courses and pass an exam, but becoming a CPA will kickstart your career. Many international accounting organizations have reciprocal agreements with Canada.
  • Perfect your French or English. Or even better, both. Accounting requires a high level of fluency in at least one of Canada's official languages. Luckily, you have a number of options to help you along the way, including language courses offered by the government.
  • Network. Attending professional events will help you get familiar with the Canadian market, plus you’ll forge relationships that could lead to your first job. For example, the Interconnection program organizes a number of mentoring and networking activities for newcomers. Volunteering your services is another good way to build your reputation.
  • Tailor your resume to a Canadian audience. If the companies you’ve worked for don’t have an international presence, provide background info on their size and sector and your role at the company. Also be careful not to include information that could facilitate discrimination against you, including your picture, age, nationality, gender, and marital status. Read this article to create a stand-out resume.
  • Be willing to move down a rung. You’ll probably need to be flexible to land your first job. Fixed-term contracts, temporary employment, part-time work, reduced pay, or fewer responsibilities may not sound like your cup of tea, but you should think twice. There are tons of stories about accountants who have taken less-than-appealing jobs, only to see their careers take off.
  • Find out about how the interview process works in Canada. We have lots of articles on this subject to help you out. Certain cultural nuances might trip you up if you’re not aware of them. For example, looking people in the eye and addressing them formally are signs of respect. Remember that accounting environments tend to be conservative, so business dress is the norm.

Last but not least, don’t hesitate to ask for help! The recruiters at Randstad know the accounting world like the back of their hand. With their expert advice, you’ll have no trouble landing a job.

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