Over the years I have seen a lot of college students committing career suicide and putting their immigration at risk. Some of the students just get taken advantage off as they are too naïve and some think that they can con the system, but at the end they lose every thing.
I am hoping that this article will help potential and current college students avoid the pit falls and make their transition in to Canada less painful.
College=University: Big Mistake
No matter what College recruitment team tells you, please be aware that college degree is inferior to a university degree. Every firm would prefer a university graduate over a college graduate any day. So why do students join college instead of a university
College is easy to get into: So it seems. But in reality most of the universities have same admission criteria as the colleges. You might not be able to get in to the top universities but a university is still better than a college.
College is cheaper than University: Wrong again. College are very sophisticated when it comes to tuition fees. They will keep their tuition fee less than university but once you enroll they will add exam fee, notes fee, supplies and miscellaneous other fees through out the duration of your studies. You will end up either paying the same fee as in a University or in some cases even more.
Why Choose University
Professional Education: CPA Professional bodies like CPA give exemptions to university students when the time comes to start your CPA. You need CPA designation to make it big in your accounting career and a university education is the only way.
Strong CO-OP Department: Securing a CO-OP can be your life line as an international student as it give you the chance to get the much needed Canadian experience. The experience gained during CO-OP will open the next door for you. A lot of companies actually hire the CO-OP students as full time employee. I got a job offer of $60,000 based on my CO-OP with hydro one. A college CO-OP department just does not have the industry contacts to place you and companies prefer to hire university graduates.
Conning the Immigration System: Self Sabotage
Manager at a Gas Station or Macs Store: Owners of gas stations and Macs store know that you need to have managerial level experience in order to secure your immigration. They use this to lure naïve students to work in their company in a hope that after 02 years you will get the experience letter of working as a manager in their business. They will exploit this weakness and will make you work extra hours and will not even pay the minimum wage. Welcome to modern day slavery!
The problem is CIC knows this and will reject your immigration application stating that the company you work for can not support the type of managerial experience you are claiming. CIC is not a fool, they understand what your duties are at a franchise store. I have seen this happening too many times.
You have wasted 02 years out of 03 years of your post graduate work permit and now you are royally screwed. You have sabotaged your immigration chances and you do not have any valuable skills to find a managerial role. Its time to pack up and go back to your home country. This is also the time when you will further be exploited by Immigration lawyers who will charge you $$$ to fix your case which is already a lost cause.
Circle of Influence: My Friend said so
You will be recommended by your friends to join the college that they are studying and they will also help you in filling the application. They will hold your hand through out the admission process. The agents in your home country will go out of their way to convince you to chose college over university.
But please remember that all of them, including your friend, is getting commission to induct you, so be very careful. Do not take the easy way, do the right thing. Research universities and apply in both colleges as well as universities.
Do it the right way
The million dollar question is: what to do if you are a college graduate. Well, read on:
We need to secure a job that will support your immigration application with CIC and accounting field is ideal for it. If you can secure a staff accountant job in a public accounting firm then CIC will accept it.
In order to get hired as a staff accountant or any job acceptable to CIC you need to have
Canadian Education: Have Canadian education which you secured from your college
Job related Skills: You need to have the right skill sets. For staff accountant you need to know Personal Tax, Corporate Tax, Bookkeeping and Year End.
Proper Resume: You need to have the right keywords on your resume. For staff accountant you need to have Taxprep, Caseware, Caseveiw and QuickBooks on your resume
Volunteer or enroll in a training course: We might think that a college diploma or degree should teach us the skills we need to get hired. But the sad reality is that our colleges only teaches us the theory and the companies will not hire you unless you can do the job, which requires skills. In order to get skills you might have to volunteer in accounting firms or take up a professional training course that can teach you these skills. Once you learn the skills then you can put them on your resume which will increase your chances of getting the job.
Consider yourself still in College: You spend last 02 to 03 years in college and now you have a post graduate work permit for 03 years. You are thinking that you are done with education and it is time to get a good paying job. Well, I am sorry to burst your bubble, but your education is just starting. You need to learn the job skills now. You have got the education but not the skill. Now you work on getting the skills. Its your education + skills that will secure your future. Just like you invested on your education be ready to invest on your skills.
Be aware of the time and reach out: Time is of essence in your immigration process. Please do not waste it by doing odd jobs. These odd jobs add no value to your resume and are detrimental to your career and immigration. You might think that you need money and it is fine to work an odd job but the time flies. Please invest this time in learning skills that you can put on your resume. Before you know it, 01 year has passed and you are still stuck with that odd job and there is nothing that you can put on your resume. Do not shoot yourself in the foot! Do the right thing. If you can survive the college with out a job then you can do it for a few more months. Do not be a victim of your limited vision and seek professional help. Ask other successful immigrants how they did it and try to replicate it.
Be Positive: Its not going to be easy, but it is going to be worth it. Once you have the right education and skills the Canadian job market will reward you. I am a living example of it. The Canadian job market is highly specialized and reward specialization. If you got your education, skills and the right resume then the job hunting will be fruitful. You will get a career and the Canadian passport. There are plenty of jobs and the companies are struggling to find the right fit. Do not let negative thoughts take over. The job market will respond once you are ready.