International Students

All you need to know about finding a job in Canada:

Getting Started

What you need to know before you begin your job search in Canada

What skills do Canadian employers look for?

Canadian employers look for employees who have both transferable (soft) skills and technical (hard) skills. For Canadian employers, transferable skills are as important as technical skills.

  1. Transferable skills include skills like communication, problem-solving, teamwork, leadership, organization, adaptability and working with others (to name a few).
  2. Technical skills are specific to a certain job, such as coding, measuring and calculation, analyzing data, speaking a language and operating a machine.

Have you heard of the hidden job market? 

Did you know that 70% of jobs are not advertised and that 85% of positions are filled through networking? This is what we call the “hidden job market.” Many hiring managers prefer to hire someone they know or somebody who has been referred to them from a trusted source. You can increase your chance of finding a job through networking. Learn more about networking through booking an appointment with a Career Advisor or learning about strategies through CareerHub. For more information, please see how to Develop and enhance your Canadian job search strategy.


Do you have questions about the Canadian workplace culture?

The workplace culture in Canada might be different from your home country. Learning about the Canadian workplace culture can equip you with essential knowledge and understanding of working in Canada. To learn more, please see the Canadian workplace culture section on CareerHub.


How do you find work in Canada?

Are you wondering how to conduct a successful job search without previous Canadian work experience?

When employers speak of Canadian experience, they refer to your knowledge, skills and experience that will enable you to work effectively in a Canadian workplace. These can come from a variety of experiences including class, clubs, volunteer work, extracurricular activities and social interactions. Book an appointment to learn how to communicate your experiences to attract Canadian employers.

Career Services and Resources

Essential services and resources for your career success in Canada

The Centre for Career Action helps students, postdocs, alumni and employees explore essential skillsets valued in Canada to find a job. We offer one-on-one supports and workshops to educate the UWaterloo community in all aspects of their career including the following key job search areas:

Determine your career goal

The Centre for Career Action offers one-on-one supports, workshops and resources to help all of our clients explore potential career paths by figuring out their personality, interests, skills and values for the job search.

  1. Appointments: Career Planning.
  2. Workshops: Exploring Career Pathways; Career Interest Assessment; Exploring Your Personality Type (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator).
  3. Resources:
    1. CareerHub: Please review the “My Degree & Skills” and/or “Decision-Making” sections for career planning related information.
    2. Centre for Career Action library: The Centre for Career Action collection contains print and online resources for career planning.
    3. National Occupational Classification.
    4. Assessments: The Centre for Career Action offers personality and skills assessments (e.g., Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Strong Interest Inventory) that you can take to help you on your career path. Please book a Career Planning appointment with one of our Career Advisors to discuss which assessment would be the most beneficial for you.

Develop and enhance your Canadian job search strategy

Here are a number of services and resources available to support your work search in Canada:

  1. Work Search Appointments: This includes searching for work inside and outside of Canada, building your LinkedIn profile, researching, networking, and creating your individualized work search strategy.
  2. Workshops and Events: Master your Job Search; Get a Job Using LinkedIn; Working in Canada as an International Student Panel; Make Networking Count; Volunteer Fair; Career Fair and Job Fair.
  3. Resources:
    1. CareerHub: See the “Find Work” section for job search related information.
    2. Centre for Career Action library: The Centre for Career Action collection contains print and online resources for your job search.
    3. Employer Information Session: Attend employer information sessions (info sessions) to connect with potential employers. Info sessions are open to all UWaterloo undergraduate and graduate students.
  4. Job boards:
    1. For co-op, internship, summer, part-time, full-time or volunteer positions:
      1. WaterlooWorks
    2. For part-time or volunteer positions on campus:
      1. LEADS
      2. Work-study program
      3. Federation of Students (Feds)
      4. On-campus libraries
      5. UWaterloo Athletics
      6. UWaterloo Food Services
      7. UWaterloo Human Resources

Prepare your job application documents

The Centre for Career Action provides support for all documents relevant to your job application (e.g., Résumé, Curriculum Vitae).

  1. Appointments: Résumé, Cover Letter, ePortfolio, Curriculum Vitae (note: CV appointments are for senior students applying for academic and/or research and development positions).
  2. Workshops: Résumé Tips: Think Like an Employer; Résumés, Careers and Personal Branding; Writing CVs and Cover Letters for Academic Job Applications
  3. Drop-ins: 20-minute résumé and cover letter drop-ins are available for all current UWaterloo students and postdocs.
  4. Resources:
    1. CareerHub: Please see the “Apply/Interview” section for information on how to write great career related documents.
    2. Centre for Career Action library: The Centre for Career Action collection contains print, video and computer-based resources available for job application documents.

Enhance your interview skills

Develop your interview skills through a variety of resources and practice with a Career Advisor during an appointment.

  1. Appointments: Job Mock Interview, Academic Interview (for PhDs and postdocs only).
  2. Workshops: Interviews: Preparing for Questions; Interviews: Proving Your Skills; Successfully Negotiating Job Offers.
  3. Drop-ins: 20-minute Job Mock Interview drop-ins are available for all current UWaterloo students and postdocs.
  4. Resources:
    1. CareerHub: See the interview section under “Apply/Interview” for interview etiquette and practice questions
    2. Centre for Career Action library: The Centre for Career Action collection contains print, and online resources available to help you with your interview skills.

Succeed at your job in Canada

Learn key strategies for success in a Canadian workplace.

  1. Workshops: How to be an Exceptional Employee; Business Etiquette and Professionalism.
  2. Resources:
    1. CareerHub: Please see the “Success at Work” tab for workplace tips.
    2. Centre for Career Action library: The Centre for Career Action collection contains print and online resources available to help you succeed on the job

Co-op at UWaterloo 

  1. Co-op Consults:
    1. In addition to providing career services for all students and alumni related to career planning, post-degree professional and graduate applications, and finding work, the Centre for Career Action provides co-op specific drop-ins for pre-first work term co-op students about the rank/match process, how to navigate co-op overall and how to be strategic with finding a co-op job..
    2. Work Term Support (WTS): Once hired for your first work term, students are assigned a WTS who will support them through their co-op experience (in the workplace and on future recruitment terms).
  2. Workshops: Challenge Yourself: International Co-op Work Term Opportunities; Getting a US Work Permit.
  3. Resources:
    1. Visit the Co-operative Education & Career Action website for more information.
    2. WaterlooWorks: WaterlooWorks is an employment administration system that supports students’ job applications, interview schedules, along with hundreds of other features.

Additional Resources

Other services and resources to help you with your job search:

Professional skills development programs

  1. Undergraduate co-op students complete the Waterloo Professional Development Program as part of their degree requirements.
  2. Undergraduate students in the regular (non-co-op) system of study can opt into EDGE, the University's experiential education certificate program.
  3. courses for all UWaterloo students, faculty and staff.
  4. Centre for Teaching Excellence[FS1]  for services, workshops, and programs to inspire teaching excellence, innovation, and inquiry in your graduate studies.
  5. GRADventure for a hub of information on professional development resources designed specifically for graduate students.
  6. Centre for Teaching Excellence for services and courses to inspire teaching excellence, innovation and inquiry.
  7. GRADventure for a hub of information on professional development resources designed specifically for graduate students.

English language programs

  1. English programs and courses at Renison English Language Institute
  2. English speaking and writing practice, 1-on-1 support programs (Appointments or Drop-ins) and workshops at the Writing and Communication Centre

Cross-cultural involvement opportunities 

  1. Conversation Café at the Student Success Office
  2. Conversation Circles at the Student Success Office
  3. International Peer Community at the Student Success Office
  4. UWaterloo Holiday Care Packages at the Student Success Office
  5. Conversation Partner Program at Renison University College
  6. International Social Volunteer Program at Renison University College
  7. General English Peer Helper Program at the Renison English Language Institute
  8. Babble Café by UW International and Canadian Student Network (ICSN), an avenue for international students to practice conversational English
  9. Feds Clubs which includes individual cultural clubs across campus.

Immigration consulting

The Immigration Consultants at the Student Success Office are licensed with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) and are happy to assist you during your time at the University of Waterloo. All consultations are free and confidential.

Online Resources

  1. CareerHub: Online career planning guide
  2. Online career planning tools
  3. Centre for Career Action Library
  4. Career-related workshops and events
  5. Canada’s Best Diversity Employers competition

Graduate or Professional Application

Thinking about graduate or professional school programs?

The Centre for Career Action provides workshops and one-on-one supports for current students and alumni who are interested in graduate, post-graduate and professional school programs.

How do I pick a program?

There are a number of services and resources available to support your search for a graduate or professional program:

  • Workshops: If you are considering graduate school, start by attending the Centre for Career Action’s “Is Grad School Right for Me?” workshop. Additionally, look for specialized workshop offerings for different professions including medicine, pharmacy and optometry and head to the Further Education Fair or the Health Careers Conference to connect with representatives from many different graduate and professional programs.
  • CareerHub: Please review the information provided under the “Further Education - Planning” section for an overview of some things you could consider when deciding on a graduate or professional program.
  • Centre for Career Action library: The Centre for Career Action collection contains print and online resources regarding Canadian university and college calendars, subject and geographic-specific directories, professional test applications.
  • Program search websites: You can use these online search engines to find programs that suit your needs and educational goals:
    • UniversityStudy offers a large database of study program across Canadian universities
    • Peterson’s serves as a rbust source of information about colleges and universities in the United States.
    • Prospects is a search tol for postgraduate courses in the United Kingdom.

How do I apply to my program(s) of interest?

  • Program website: It is important to remember that the website for your program of interest will have the most up to date information about the required application documents and admission requirements and that no two graduate or professional schools are exactly the same. Feel free to either email or call your program office to clarify any program-specific questions or concerns that you might have.
  •  CareerHub: The “Further Education - Applying” section on CareerHub reviews many of the different types of application documents required for graduate or professional programs with templates, examples, checklist, strategies and tips to guide you when preparing your CV/resume and personal statement/letter of intent.
  • Workshops: The Further Ed Advisors host Personal Statement/Letter of Intent writing workshops where you can work on your application document and receive immediate feedback as you write.
  • Appointments: You can book a 60-minute appointment with a Further Ed Advisor to review your application documents or plan for professional school.
  • Drop-ins: 20-minute professional or graduate school document review drop-ins are available to all current UWaterloo students. You can also drop in to talk to a Further Ed Advisor to clarify general questions you might have about your application.

How do I prepare for my program interview?

  • Interview invitation email: The interview invitation email sent out to applicants tends to highlight what you can expect on the interview day and this is your first go-to resource when preparing for your standard or MMI interview. Also, feel free to email or call your program office if you have any questions or concerns that have not been addressed in the email.
  • Program website: Program websites typically have general information and guidelines for student interviewees which can answer some of the questions you might have, particularly for professional programs that have multiple-mini interviews (MMI).
  •  CareerHub: Please review the information provided under the “Further Education - Interviewing” section for an overview of what you might expect in a professional school interview as well as tips, guidance and resources for multiple-mini interviews (MMI), admission interviews and standard panel interviews.
  • Workshops: The Further Ed Advisors host interactive workshops to prepare students for professional school interviews (standard and MMI), dental school admissions interviews and UWaterloo pharmacy admissions interviews. To get the most out of the workshops, it is recommended that you complete these Careerhub modules in advance.
  • Appointments: You can book a 60-minute appointment to prepare and strategize for multiple-mini interviews (MMI) or admission/standard panel interview questions with our Further Ed Advisors.
  • Drop-ins: 15-minute professional/graduate school interview drop-ins are available to all current UWaterloo students.

What do I need to do for a study permit or visa?

The Immigration Consultants at the Student Success Office can assist you through the process of applying and renewing your Canadian documents as well as understanding the international student regulations of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

For programs outside Canada, please contact the issuing authority, which is the local embassy, consulate or application centre for your country of interest as they will have current and accurate information about getting the necessary legal authorization (visa/permit). You can also reach out to your program coordinator or institution with immigration-related questions as they will have some experience with this from dealing with other international students.

Campus Services

On-campus services for your academic and career success

Writing and Communication Centre

The Writing and Communication Centre offers communication and writing practice, support and research on campus. They work with students designing presentations, building ePortfolio, writing reports, or presenting at a conference.

While the Centre for Career Action works with clients on the content and best practices for employment and further education application documents, you can book an appointment or attend a drop-in session with the Writing and Communication Centre to get feedback and advice on writing and organizing your résumé, cover letter, or and other career-related application documents

Student Success Office

Supporting you from Orientation right through to convocation, the Student Success Office will help you with academics and with developing as a person. Services include workshops, peer success coaching, leadership development, classroom learning services, and study abroad and exchange programs. International student resources include immigration consulting, an International Peer Community, and more!

AccessAbility Services

AccessAbility Services provides accommodation and support for all students with disabilities, including permanent, temporary, and even suspected disabilities. They offer a variety of services and supports, including: academic accommodations, alternative testing, learning strategy support, assistive technology supports and workshops, alternate formats of course materials, and more.

Counselling Services

Counselling Services is a safe support system that provides resources regarding mental and physical well-being. They offer services to help students learn different ways to manage and overcome personal obstacles. Services include academic and personal coping skills seminars, workshops, group therapy, and one on one appointments with clinicians.

Faculty advisors

Faculty academic undergraduate and graduate advisors and coordinators provide support that includes academic information and advising on topics like choosing programs and graduation requirements. Contact an advisor from any program for academic concerns and questions.

Federation of Students

The Federation of Students (Feds) co-ordinates a diverse range of over 200 student societies, clubs and commercial services. Feds provides several volunteer and job opportunities for you to get involved and give back to the University of Waterloo community while gaining significant experience for your résumé.

Graduate Student Association

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is a student-run not-for-profit organization focused on enhancing the academic and social experience of graduate students on campus. They provide a number of services for graduate students including income tax aid, legal aid clinic, supplementary health and dental plans, GRT bus pass, representation, advocacy and advising on graduate student issues.

Health Services

University of Waterloo’s Health Services provides primary medical care for all registered University of Waterloo students. All students have access to both pre-booked and walk-in appointments for a range of health services including immunizations, prescription renewals, and laboratory tests.