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Canada: Career Prospects - Must read

How to find a graduate career in Canada?

For many international students working in Canada after graduation is an attractive option. We guide you through the crucial aspects of finding a career in the country.

Finding a graduate career in Canada

Canada continues to attract the attention of international students with world-renowned institutions, high-quality education, and a great lifestyle. Many students enjoy the experience of studying and living in Canada that they decide to stay on to work in the country. With a strong economy and a multitude of industries, there are good prospects for graduates. We delve into the options available and how you can find a graduate career in Canada.


Understand Canadian visas and work permits 


Working in Canada after graduation means you will need to have all the correct paperwork and documentation. Chief amongst these is a work permit. Canada has two types of work permits:


Open work permits


An open work permit allows you to work for any employer in Canada if they comply with government regulations and do not offer non-authorised types of work. As an international student, you can qualify for an open work permit if you have graduated from an accredited institution and are eligible for the post-graduation work permit programme.


Employer-specific work permits


An employer-specific work permit limits you to working for a single employer, with the conditions of your employment such as your hours and location strictly stipulated.


Post-graduation work permit programme


You could be eligible for the post-graduation work permit if you graduated from a designated learning institution. You must apply within 180 days after graduation and the programme allows you to stay for a period depending on the length of your qualification. For an undergraduate degree, this would equate to three years.


Get more detailed information on Canadian post-study work permits.


Explore your internship and work experience options 


One of the best ways to build up a profile within your chosen field and gain experience is by undertaking internships or work experience opportunities. These opportunities can help your employability once you have graduated and increase your chances of getting a work permit. Internships are also invaluable in giving you an insight into what working in Canada is like.


As an international student, you will need a work permit to undertake an internship. You will likely be eligible for one of two categories via International Experience Canada:


Working holiday permit

This permit is a popular choice for international students and is an open work permit. You can work for as many different employers as you like, and the permit is usually valid for between one and two years.


International co-op permit

The international co-op permit is designed for internships. It is employer-specific and so is not transferable. The permit lasts for the duration of the internship.


Remember to enquire with a university as to whether they have co-op work placements and internship programmes. The international office or career guidance office is always a good place to start. In some cases, a work internship may be part of your course. Other ways of gaining experience include:


  • Joining volunteer programmes
  • Participating in clubs and organisations
  • Attending seminars, fairs and workshops
  • Explore on-campus work (make sure your study permit allows you to)


Explore what makes Canada a unique study destination.


Do your industry research


If you have a study path or degree in mind, consider what the job prospects are. Don’t forget that for some careers in Canada you will need to have both the relevant qualification and accreditation or registration with a regulatory body These include:


  • Healthcare
  • Dentistry
  • Psychology
  • Accounting
  • Architecture
  • Law
  • Teaching
  • Engineering


You can research and verify all regulated professions and industries by using the Canadian government’s immigration website.


The Canadian unemployment rate runs at just over seven per cent, which means that there are many work opportunities for graduates in the market. Some of the professions and sectors that show both growth and demand in Canada include:



Find out more about some of the skills that potential employers look for and how to ace your interview.


Understand Canadian working culture


You need to know what to expect when entering the Canadian workplace. This helps with preparing for interviews and when evaluating your potential job options. Canada is a bilingual country, with English and French both spoken widely. Nine out of 10 provinces conduct business primarily in English, apart from Quebec that is officially French-speaking.


The working week in Canada is similar to that of the UKUSA and Australia. You’ll generally work a 40-hour week from Monday to Friday, with some slight differences depending on your role. We know you’re probably also wondering if you are eligible for leave. The answer is yes. There are nine public holidays over the year and two weeks of annual leave after you have worked for a year.


When it comes to salaries, this will vary depending on the role and your experience. The average salary in Canada ranges from CAD 55,000 to CAD 60,000, which is approximately GBP 31,700 to GBP 34,500. Some professions will net you quite a bit more than the average salary, such as nursing, dentistry, engineering, and medicine. The good thing is that Canada generally has a reasonable cost of living, but this does vary depending on which city you live in.


Explore potential universities in Canada.


Brush up your resume 


When you’re looking for work it’s always a good idea to have the correct documentation in place. Having an updated and professional resume will help you stand out in a competitive market. Try and make it as concise and relevant for the role you’re applying for as possible. Highlight both what you have done and the value you can offer. Start working on your cover letter and contact potential references for letters of recommendation.


If the job you are applying for is regulated ensure that you have the accreditation and permits you need. This includes readily available certified copies of your qualifications. Be ready to produce evidence of your right to work in Canada.  


Make use of networking platforms and job portals to get a sense of what employers look for. Don’t be afraid to contact companies in your sector or field to find out how they operate. You could even set up a meeting to get more information, and it’ll help you prepare well for potential interviews.


Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of how to craft a graduate career in Canada, you could want to explore more about studying in Canada. We’ve got a comprehensive look at Canada’s top universitiesgetting to grips with the Canadian grading system and understanding the Canadian higher education system.