People: Do you want to leave everything and move to Canada? Really?
People: And why the heck Canada?
Me: Dunno, a gut feeling.
The conversations looked like this whenever I mentioned I am going to move to Canada. Some people were fans of my decision. Some couldn’t understand.
And here I am, almost three years later, all settled. I have a job I love, I live in one of the most beautiful cities I saw and I can go sailing after work.
This time it’ll be a story about my personal journey.
I didn’t have troubles getting Permanent Residency in Canada. I got the right age, education, experience, English level and sufficient funds. I filled in an online form at the beginning of February and in the next draw got an invitation to apply for permanent residency. Took me about 2 months to get all the required documents ready but I did it. I followed info provided on CIC website. No consultants, no lawyers. That’s pretty much it. By the end of September, I was in Vancouver without any idea of how different it is to look for a job here.
Looking for a job in Vancouver
Before I got to Canada I was browsing the job offers here. I knew I got the skills and the perfect “5-years of experience”, that almost every job posting in my field was asking for. I researched how to write a Canadian resume. And a cover letter. So I started applying for jobs.
And I didn’t hear back at all.
So I went for more direct approach and went for a job fair.
When you go for a job fair in Poland, you meet a company representative, talk with them for a few minutes and then leave your resume if you liked what you’ve learned about a company and a position. A few days later the company’s recruiter will get in touch with you to set up the first interview (or sometimes to let you know they’re not interested at the given point of time). If the company didn’t get back to the candidate it makes the company look bad in front of potential candidates.
And in an employee market, no company wants to look bad.
(ups, I meant networking fair)
I knew it’s an employee market here. But little did I know that a “job fair” is more of networking fair. You don’t really leave your resume. You learn about a company and you are encouraged to apply online. But if you apply online no one ever gets back to you.
So this job fair, as a job fair, was a failure. But then it wasn’t. It’s where I’ve met Natalie and Henry from S.U.C.C.E.S.S. for the first time.
Job search support
Natalie and Henry were facilitating a job search program meant for people in tech who are new to job market in Vancouver. They’ve been looking into our tech skills and if we’ve met the technical criteria we’d get a a training on how to get a job in Vancouver. Purely soft-skill training on how to write local resume, improve your interviewing skills etc. It helped me get an understanding of the local hiring culture is. And it scrared the shit out of me when I’ve learned the amount of networking required to get the job.
So I started going to the meetups. Job fairs. And as true introvert – I got so exhausted I almost gave up.
Not give up on a dev job, but on job I’m going to enjoy. I realized that if I need a job, I can find a dev job that I wont be happy at, that will give me the salary and “Canadian” work experience (as if you write Java differently in Polish than in English). But I didn’t want that.
And that’s when going to job fairs finally paid off. Sometime mid January I ended up meeting a Talent Acquisition specialist from PayByPhone. I never heard about the company before. I mean… It’s a parking app and I don’t drive so that’s a given. That’s the total anti-pattern when you’re looking for the job though. (The general advice is to research the company before you apply. And I second that) The reason why I connected with a TA Specialist was because of my drive towards not using cash and PbP app allowing it. So we had the goal alignment.
New company, totally different (plus pretty modern) technology stack in a lot of ways (I’ve been doing Java for years and they were using C#). But I had a lot of transferable knowledge and company was very open to people with different backgrounds. So I applied.
Got three interviews. First a phone screening. Second was virtual coding (TDD) exercise (a la pair programming with the interviewer on the other side of the screen) + basic QA around my technical practices and skills.
Last interview was more of a team/company fit + a bit of architecture knowledge check. I had a chance to ask questions in the areas I was interested in. Coz I really needed to validate if I wanna work in that company.
I guess I did well coz I got a response pretty quickly and started my job within few weeks. And still here I am. Proving my choice right and enjoying the job at PayByPhone 😉