The Ultimate Guide to Getting a Job: Quebec City and Montreal
Going job-hunting and want to work in Quebec? Keep reading.
If you want to work in Quebec (particularly in Quebec City or Montreal), then it’s important that you learn to get your facts straight. Passion is good, but you’ll need something better than passion to strike gold in Quebec. It may sound obvious but It would be a BIG plus if you learn French to work in Quebec!
Hence, to help you out, here’s my quick-but-ultimate guide to your journey of job-hunting in the Quebec province. Get to know Quebec City and Montreal, before anything else. Who knows, as you discover more about the French culture that is definitely alive in Quebec, you just might find the job of your dreams?
After all, these are all the things I had to do in order for me to get a job in Quebec, too. First, let’s compare the two main cities in Québec:
Quick Facts: Montreal
While Quebec City is the capital city of the Quebec province, it is certainly not the province’s most populous city, and it is Montreal that brings home this bacon. Home to a population of 1,704,694 (at least that was the number in 2016), Montreal can easily be imagined as busy and brimming with life. It also happens to be the second most populous city in Canada, after Greater Toronto. (It is also home to great feats of engineering and architecture, such as Habitat 67 above.)
Get this: Montreal does not just have a lot of people. It is also one of the largest French-speaking city in the world, second only to Paris. While most of the Montrealers are bilingual (and quite a number even know a third language), this still does not excuse you from not learning French. As I myself discovered, just a few hours into my first day in Montreal, knowing how to speak French was actually a huge advantage, especially since I wished to be hired in the Quebec province of Canada. (Good thing I was listening to all my teachers in all the French language classes I took!)
For Montreal’s major industries, try looking up the IT sector, as well as construction and infrastructure maintenance. Business is also booming for the transportation and wholesale trade industries. As for myself, I patiently did my research (more on this later), hoping to find something that truly matched my abilities.
But of course, I had to check out Quebec City, too, before making any final decisions.
Quick Facts: Québec City
Quebec City, or otherwise known in French as the Ville de Québec, is the capital of the Quebec Province. It is also the second most populous city in the entire province, and, in entire Canada, it is the eleventh most populous. In 2016, Quebec City had a recorded population of 531, 902.
The one thing that I find most awe-inspiring about Quebec City is that I immediately get the European vibe. As a French-speaking city, this city was, therefore, a great way for me to immerse in French culture. Moreover, Quebec City opened up limitless opportunities for me to mix business with pleasure, primarily because this city is home to numerous annual festivals that I truly enjoyed, as well as several feats of architecture that I willingly gaped at. (Tip: Of all festivals, The Winter Carnival is my absolute favorite.).
And yes, as per experience, I found that major job opportunities were waiting for me at Quebec City. The most common and the biggest industries to work in Quebec are the following: ICT and electronics, food and nutrition, life sciences, and insurance and financial services. Also making a significant mark in the industry is Green technology. These are the sectors that I passionately checked out, mainly because I had become particularly drawn to Quebec City for my next employment aspirations.
Now that we’ve pretty much covered some important facts about Quebec City and Montreal, I guess it’s time to share with you the nitty-gritty of the actual job application process.
At first, I do admit, of course, that I was pretty worried. How was I supposed to get a job in a city that was new to me? To that, I had to answer, but I found that there were some steps that definitely helped to make it a more manageable (and eventually, fruitful) experience for me.
Tip 1: Learn the French language
Now, allow me to state the obvious. Way at the top of the list of requirements to work in Quebec is to learn French, of course. This is something that will be necessary not just for landing a job, but precisely to live well in Quebec. As a predominantly French-speaking province, Quebec will practically require you to learn the language, before you even think of doing anything else. (Don’t worry, I did just that – took lessons, paid attention, participated and practiced, and I didn’t regret any moment of it. Pas de regrets.)
Tip 2: (Re) Write your Resumé
First off, learn the art of making the resumè of a go-getter. My resumè was my most important weapon. I realized this the moment I started working on it; it was really the only resource that offered to provide my prospective employer with a quick and general idea of who I am and what sort of worker I am. I also had to learn that there was something special about North American terminology when writing up a resumè. There was stuff I was supposed to say, and stuff I was supposed to leave out. Hence, if you’re going to have a go at it, you’re going to need a lot of resumè writing advice (oh, and be sure you apply the advice, too).
This tip truly made me brush up on my job hunting preparation in Quebec, and I even discovered the website Emploi Quebec. Here, you’ll find doable yet effective tips for local employment, perfect for someone like you.
Tip 3: Prepare your Portfolio
Third, you’ll need to put together your portfolio. Yep, I was like that, too. I asked: “What’s a portfolio?” Soon enough I got my answer. A portfolio is basically a documented collection of all my achievements as a worker. I had to choose and decide which ones were the most relevant to the job I was aspiring for.
IMPORTANT: In making your portfolio, you need to have documentation of these achievements: posters, diplomas, reference letters, certificates, pictures, and the like, to back you up.
Tip 4: Shine for your Interview
Because I had put together a stellar portfolio, I was able to walk into the interview room, confident that I was an asset to the company. Needless to say, doing well on a job interview deserves its own article, so check out these tips for acing your job interview.
Tip 5: Gain experiences
Fifth, it’s best to have work experience to back you up. Here’s the thing: I was not a fresh graduate with zero experience. I’ve tried volunteer work (more on that later), and employers in Quebec love that about applicants. While other employers are likely to look for educational background and intelligence, employers in Quebec will be on the lookout for know-how and work experience. You will be very lucky to find your Dream Job at first.
Tip 6: Meet People in Networking Events
Be sure to expand your network. As for me, I discovered early on that one great way do this would be to do volunteer work. Employers will be more than happy to hire someone who is equipped with the spirit of initiative and volunteerism, of making things happen rather than simply watching them happen. To help you out, here are the best volunteer jobs that might interest you.
One thing I did was to look up job markets and other career-related events that are taking place in Quebec. Here are some great links to websites that cover these events:
Tip 7: Work Online
Still, I know that all this might feel a little too intimidating for someone who’s just starting out. No worries, though, because another good idea I learned was the option to work online while in Quebec. There are various work-from-home options. Try checking out the following links if you’re looking for some ideas.
With the experience that you can hope to gain from your online or work-from-home job, you can then look forward to beefing up your experience, enough to wow your next employer.
Tip 8: The Question of Salary
Here’s another elephant in the room: what about salary? This is usually something others would shy away from discussing, but I say no. It’s better to be more upfront about your rates and to be confident in your requirements. (But then again, in my experience, I found it particularly helpful that I could communicate well in French. Hence, I was able to negotiate well, too.)
For a general idea of some common jobs in Quebec and their respective salary ranges, take a look at this list.
- Administrative Assistant: C$30K – C$53K
- Mechanical Engineer: C$45K – C$85K
- General Project Manager: C$45K – C$96K
- Software Developer: C$45K – C$84K
- Operations Manager: C$42K – C$91K
Needless to say, to look for a job in Quebec is definitely not a walk in the park. But if it happened to me, it can happen to you, too. All you have to do is to believe, take charge, and take your tips from someone who has been there and done that.
In the meantime, don’t forget to check out other interesting Blog posts like:
Best of luck!