Finding a Job in Toronto: Tips for Standing Out

The Canadian economy is booming. According to recent reports, Canada has posted record job gains this year, an increase in wages, and a decrease in the country’s jobless rate.

That’s good news for professionals looking to find a job in Toronto. The city, which has long been considered the country’s economic center, reports unemployment rates for mid-career professionals are now in the low single digits.

Dominating the Toronto job market is technology industry, says Avnish Patel, marketing manager for Northeastern University’s Toronto campus. “A lot of the country’s funding has gone to the technology and innovation sector,” he says. “That’s by far the biggest industry. There’s also been a huge demand for talent in design, marketing, and product sales. This shifts month-to-month based on trends, but that’s what we’re seeing right now.”

In the technology sector, he says, behemoths including Google, Facebook, and Amazon are hiring an array of technology professionals. Some of the common job titles include:

  • Front-end, back-end, and full-stack developers
  • Engineering project managers
  • Systems analysts
  • User interface and user experience designers
  • Crisis management analysts

Demand for cybersecurity and artificial intelligence professionals are increasing, too, based on industry needs, Patel says.

While the big tech companies have a commanding presence in the area and make a number of hires, Patel says it’s actually technology startups that are hiring the most aggressively. “These early-stage businesses are scaling really fast because there’s such an abundance of talent here in Toronto,” he says.

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Because technology has become such a big product in Toronto, a number of new tech agencies are sprouting up, too, he says. These include incubators and accelerators, in addition to agencies like Magnet, a Toronto-based company that supplies talent across the jobs ecosystem, from technology to innovation and retail.

Outside of technology, Patel points to hiring booms in B2B sales, specifically in medicine, in addition to marketing, retail, fashion, and education nonprofits. Job titles in these top industries in Toronto might include sales representatives, account managers, management consultants, financial analysts, administration managers, and account executives.

How to Stand Out in the Toronto Job Market

Because hiring is fierce—and because there’s a demand for professionals with specialized skills—Patel says it’s important for job seekers to hone and highlight those qualities when applying for jobs. He suggests the following tips to help job seekers stand out from the pack.

1. Gain Specialized Knowledge

“The interesting part is that all the titles [employers are looking for] are getting more specific to the industry. Businesses are seeking a ‘front-end developer’ instead of just ‘developer,’ for example,” Patel says. “They’re more specific because there’s a higher demand for experienced professionals. They don’t just want people with degrees in business management. They want you to have specializations.”

2. Highlight Why You’re a Culture Fit

The number one quality that companies are looking for is culture fit, he says. “Companies want people who are agile and who have the drive and experience to actually work above and beyond what’s expected. Ninety percent of employers are looking past the degree—they’re interested in the network, your experience, and your ability to learn.”

3. Build a Diverse, Global Network

Businesses in Toronto also values international talent, and talent with a global network, Patel says. Companies want candidates who are experienced in multiple industries; they will typically hire these people before others who have only worked in finance, for example, because they bring with them a breadth of knowledge and experience.

Northeastern University Toronto prioritizes both the global network and an array of experience, he adds. “As a student, you come into our program with the ability to pivot industries or interests or experiences and specialize in what interests you,” he says. Students also have access to Northeastern’s global network of business leaders, alumni, and students in thousands of organizations and in more than 150 countries.

4. Attend Industry Events and Take Initiative

Beyond the benefits of polishing your skills and acquiring new experiences, Patel suggests that job seekers attend relevant industry conferences to make the right connections and network. “Your network is so incredibly important to getting your foot in the door and securing an interview. Just meeting the right person can open doors and help you do those things,” he says.

Patel also suggests taking the initiative to reach out directly to hiring managers and industry experts you meet—whether you’re applying for a job or not. This helps to build report and be recognized beyond a name on a resume.

5. Develop an Online Portfolio

In addition, he suggests building a portfolio to showcase your work—something many job seekers don’t take the time to do. Portfolios for some careers may be more robust than others, but the idea is to have something tangible that illustrates your work and your achievements so hiring managers see beyond your degree and your 9-to-5 job, he says. Highlighting that hands-on experience and the outcomes are valuable.

“That’s where programs like Northeastern’s really come into effect because you can always take part-time courses on the side to improve your skills or experience in one area. These accreditations really help you stand out in an applicant pool,” Patel says.

Differentiating yourself in the competitive job market is necessary for every job seeker in Toronto. Fill gaps in your skillset by gaining new experience, improving the scope of your network, and showcasing your work.

Explore the ways Northeastern University Toronto can help you set yourself apart. 

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