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November 8, 2021

What is the Best Way to Prepare for an Accounting Career in Canada?

Newcomers to Canada often discover that they struggle to find work in their chosen profession after they arrive.  This is also true for accountants looking to get their accounting qualifications recognized and gain Canadian work experience.

Canada offers many life and career opportunities for immigrants. While most people are familiar with having a Canadian-style resume as an essential tool in seeking employment, “Canadian experience” is a lesser-known term that newcomers encounter on their path to finding a job in their field of choice. In this article, we will explain what exactly is Canadian experience is and how you can start building it.  

What is the Canadian experience?

Firstly, know that there is no single answer to this question; different people would define it differently. Let’s start with what Canadian experience isn’t – Canadian experience does not mean having actual work experience in Canada. 

Instead, the Canadian experience is a combination of – 

Soft skills (most of which are learned through various life experiences rather than academic or classroom training/instruction) and 

The ability to showcase local experiences that may include volunteering with a Canadian organization, completing education or bridging programs in Canada, or taking up a temporary, part-time, or survival job. 

Some of the soft skills that constitute Canadian experience are:

  • Understanding Canadian workplace culture – including skills such as conflict resolution, problem-solving, leadership, giving and receiving feedback, and interpersonal skills 
  • Communication – English and/or French language fluency and Canadian slang and occupation-specific jargon
  • Understanding of local industry and market trends
  • A commitment to embracing diversity, multiculturalism, and cultural sensitivity
  • Having a service-oriented attitude and giving back to the community
  • Team fitment – being adaptable and flexible, positive, going the extra mile to help others
  • Ability to build and maintain strong workplace relationships – including behavioral traits such as eye contact, friendly smile, handshake, use of personal space, small talk
  • Knowledge of Canadian rules and regulations applicable to your occupational field

In a nutshell, to be a newcomer with Canadian experience, you have to be adept at understanding the social cues and nuances of Canadian life and workplace culture.

 Canadian experience is equal to cultural fit — it’s all about how well you understand the market and can apply your skills and experience to local scenarios. If you have the right skill set and are a good fit for the company culture, there is no reason why they won’t hire you. Additionally, know the local terms used in your field of work and include those on your resume for a more accurate match. 

How to acquire Canadian experience?

While you may not have a deep understanding of Canadian culture from the get-go, there are a few things you can do to start building your Canadian experience. Here are some ways how you can go about it:

1. Volunteering

This is a good forum to meet and network with other individuals from all walks of life, learn about different cultures and traditions, brush up on your language skills, and embrace diversity. Depending on the type of volunteering position you choose, it can be an opportunity for you to use key skills relevant to your occupation. Reference letters provided by the organizations where you volunteer can also be helpful in job applications. 

2. Networking

To build your understanding of local culture and market trends, use networking apps like LinkedIn to meet people who are born and raised in Canada or have been in the country for many years. Chat with professionals in your industry to understand if obtaining any certifications or licenses are essential for your occupation. Attend conferences, networking events, and workshops to improve your knowledge of local best practices

3. Virtual learning

Read newspapers, blogs, and online forums to know the latest news and trends in your industry in Canada. Watching the daily news on television is also a good way to learn pronunciations, refine your language skills, and learn about the most recent happenings in politics, sports, etc. – this helps make small talk while networking.

4. Bridging programs

Bridging programs, as the name suggests, enable newcomers to “bridge” their international training and experience by helping them connect with local professional peers and industry experts to receive career guidance. These sessions are either virtual or in-person and are organized by many government-sponsored settlement agencies as well as educational institutions across Canada. Each organization will usually have a variety of programs, the details of which can be found directly on their website.

5. Seeking temporary or part-time employment in your field

Taking a step-down from your previously held position in your home country and finding temporary or part-time opportunities is another way to gain Canadian experience. This will allow you to practice your skills on the job, show your abilities, close the gap in your resume, and learn local best practices, slang, and jargon, while leaving you with enough time to look for your desired role.

“You have to be flexible and be able to adapt at work”

Newcomers bring strong technical competencies and rich work experiences from their home countries. When employers or recruiters seek candidates with Canadian experience, they are looking for individuals who can demonstrate the ability to adapt and blend in with their teams while being familiar with the social cues and nuances of Canadian life and culture. 

Finding and securing a well-paying job in Canada may take time, and it might seem slightly challenging, but it will get easier, and you’ll feel more confident as you equip yourself with various resources and Canadian experience.

Reach out to Gettrainedgethired.com to book a free 30-Minute career counseling meeting. At Gettrainedgethired.com we provide you with the necessary training to learn practical skills to settle in Canada as a newcomer accountant. Our training is based on practical real-life cases.  After the training, we work on your resume and try to place you in accounting firms through our network. You will also get access to like-minded individuals who are looking for jobs through our WhatsApp group. Our mentors will guide you make the process far simpler than you can imagine and we will be there with you every step of the way, securing your entry into this beautiful country and community. Please feel free to contact us at [email protected]. Or call us at 647-275-7150.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is intended to provide general information. The information does not consider your situation and is not intended to be used without consultation from professionals. Salman Rundhawa and Gettrainedgethired.com will not be held liable for any problems arising from using the information provided on this page.


Salman Rundhawa

Salman has a strong desire to help others succeed and believe in passing on the knowledge. He likes to mentor others and wish to play part in other people success.
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