Weeks before we left for Vancouver I had already started looking for work out here, I even applied for a few jobs from the UK. I naively thought that once we got here it would be quite easy to get a job. The reality is that it’s become the bane of my life at the moment. For someone who is here on a temporary workers visa it’s nigh on impossible to even get an interview for a job that you want. I think this is the longest I’ve ever spent trying to get a job. Nick and I agreed that before we came out here we would both get jobs working the same hours/days, so we’d get to see each other at the weekends and get out and do things around here. That’s what we came for after all, to experience life in another country, not to completely swap our lives in the UK for the same thing here. As Nick works Monday-Friday, that’s what I’ve been aiming for. I’ve had a couple of offers, but the hours would have meant I’d a) have no life b) never see Nick and c) be on my way back to the UK by the summer. I thought I’d share my experience so far on looking for work.
If you’re not fussy on what type of work you do, or the hours/days you do, there are jobs out there, there’s just so many people applying for them. I’ve unfortunately had to be fussy to try and get a Mon-Fri job. That counts retail out, and any tourism jobs, which is unfortunately where most of my work experience fits in. So I’ve been looking for admin/reception type roles, which I do have some experience in but not a great deal. Therein lies my first problem. Most admin jobs here require a ridiculous amount of experience and qualifications to even be considered by them. For example, ‘Office Junior/Girl Friday required for busy Downtown office, must have 10 years experience’. I’d like to think that if I’d been an Office Junior for 10 years I’d have progressed onto something else! I also saw a job working as a Sales Advisor for a tourist attraction here that required you to be ‘studying towards a degree in marketing’. A bit specific!
The other problem is my immigrant status. It’s not attractive to employers that I only have a 1 year visa. Understandable, yes, but it’s all we can get for just now. We’ll be applying for our second year once the application process opens again, but that’s not until December/January. Only this morning I was rejected for a job because I only have a 1 year visa. I didn’t even mention it on my application, so they have just assumed from my CV that I’m British and here on a working holiday visa. How about asking me? Some people even stipulate ‘absolutely no temporary residents, you must be a Canadian citizen.’
Another issue (there are many) is that a lot of jobs here require you to speak Cantonese, Mandarin or French. I even saw a job that said “You must be Spanish”. Que?
There are many job sites out there, but one of the most popular ones out here is Craigslist. There are a lot of job adverts on there but unfortunately it’s overrun with spam postings and unscrupulous people looking to steal your details and prey on people who are desparate for a job. I’ve had a few dodgy emails as a result of this but thankfully I spotted the warning signs in their emails. One email was from a guy who said he was “very busy and out the country just now” but he wanted me to start the job now (with no interview) and we’d sort out the finer details when he got back. The pay was $2000 per week for 8-10 hours work. A bit too good to be true! I did a bit of digging and it turns out this is a common scam where the scammers get people to deposit a cheque into their own personal bank account and then immediately transfer the same amount to them “to demonstrate trust”. Obviously the cheque doesn’t clear and the poor person is now $1800 out of pocket. Nice, eh?
There are a lot of temp agencies here, but a lot of them post fake job adverts just to get you on their books. There are legit ones out there, but they obviously take a cut of your wages along the way.
I must have sent out over 200 job applications now and have had responses from about 15. I’ve had 4 interviews, 2 of those resulted in job offers, one was the weird interview I mentioned in a previous post, and the other was an interview this morning that went pretty well, but I’m past getting my hopes up now. I’m fine once I get to the interview, it’s just getting there that’s the problem. Someone give me a job!
Anyway, on a positive note (or I’ll crack up), our friends Tom and Sarah have booked flights to come out and see us in a few months which will be awesome! We’re also feeling a little more settled in the apartment and we are getting cable set up next week, and we’re going to a reggae night tomorrow. Yay!