Difference between entry-level and entry-point jobs

Credit to Author: Margaret Jetelina| Date: Fri, 07 Dec 2018 17:36:24 +0000

Four steps to help newcomers look for entry-point jobs with potential

 After years of assisting newcomers find work in Canada, I noticed a common question they would ask is: “I met some longtime permanent residents to Canada and they told me that although I had a very high position before moving here, my only chance for work is to get an entry-level job like customer service, retail, food service or administration — is that true?” This was often accompanied with a horrified look on their face.

My answer was always and still is “No.”

Entry-level jobs for newcomers to Canada

Entry-level jobs are often the first job for students or new graduates, as they often require less work experience, education or knowledge of the field upon entry. Many of these entry-level positions allow people to develop workplace skills and also gain work experience while on the job. After seeing how most newcomers immigrate to Canada with years of pre-existing work experience and skills, I don’t believe that all newcomers need to start with entry-level jobs to further learn or develop workplace skills.

Often, newcomers will have already developed some level of experience or workplace skills/abilities in their chosen field overseas when they first entered the job market. Here in Canada, I feel newcomers’ foremost need is to learn Canadian workplace expectations and culture; laws and regulations as well as relevant local skills for their field of choice. Although possible, I do not think it is essential that these items must be learned while working in an entry-level position like retail or food service.

An entry-point job has potential

An entry-point job is basically a person’s starting point position into a chosen field. For a newcomer who already possesses work experience, they are often already able to apply for professional positions that require more work experience and skills, than the needs of an entry-level job. This is especially true if they already have the intermediate English language skills required for the position in Canada.

I believe newcomers can choose to look for their entry-point job instead of pursuing an entry-level job. That said, every newcomer’s entry-point position will be different, as no two people have the exact same types of experience and skills. Therefore, it may take some time to identify a person’s individual entry-point job. However, I believe the additional research, hard work and patience is worth it if it helps a newcomer obtain a higher skilled and higher paid job in Canada.

Here are four basic steps to help you identify your entry-point job:

  1. Conduct labour market research

Research the labour market by analyzing local job postings for the last job or occupation you had before moving to Canada. Search specifically for jobs in your area, as you are trying to establish what your local labour market needs are. Information from a different city or province may skew the information. Try to find three to five job postings with detailed job descriptions.

  1. Analyze the job postings

Review each of the job postings thoroughly by reading the job specifications and duties line-by-line. If you come across anything that you cannot do, do not have or do not know, make a note of it. This list of items will become your knowledge or skills gap list. 

  1. Review the data

After you have gone through each of the job postings, it’s time to review the data. If you have up to 70-80 per cent of what they’re asking for, feel free to apply. That said, if there is something prominent you are missing, such as licensing, knowledge of Canadian regulations that apply to your targeted occupation, or important skills required for the job in Canada that you have never done before — these items may be deal breakers. This is where I recommend you move to the next step.

  1. Restart the exercise with a lower-level job

Move on to research the job just below the one you had. If you were a marketing manager, then now look at marketing coordinator or marketing assistant jobs. Same exercise as before, going back to steps 1 to 3. This time though, you discover that you have 70-80 per cent of what they want, including the prominent points.

Congratulations — you have just found your entry-point job! Go ahead and apply!

Hopefully the steps outlined above will help you to find your individual entry-point job here in Canada!