How to look for work in Montreal


Montréal Job Market

Montréal is the economic hub for Québec and its metro area contributes a sizeable portion of the GDP. Important Montréal industries include food-producing sectors, film, banking and finances, nanotechnology sector, environmental technologies, IT, aerospace, and most importantly the services sector.

The CIC's interactive Canadian Job Market tool allows you to explore job market trends for each province and territory in Canada.

Expats in the Job Market

Montréal's variety of industries offer expats many areas to break into the market, but competition is fierce as there is a strong local workforce. It also has many excellent educational institutions allowing for new members to join the workforce everyday. There are also strict requirements foreigners need to meet to earn a work permit.

Fluent language skills in either English or French are essential to finding employment in Canada. Be aware that the language requirements for working in your chosen profession in Canada might be different than those required for immigrating to Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Canada offers a free online self-assessment tool.

Before a Canadian company can hire a foreign worker, they must obtain a labour market opinion from Human Resources and Social Development Canada/Service Canada, which assesses the impact the foreign worker would have on Canada's labour market, or how an offer of employment to a foreign worker would affect Canadian jobs. Once you have secured employment in Canada, and your employer has obtained a labour market opinion allowing them to employ you, you must apply for a work permit from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. (Consult our section on "Passport, Visa & Permits").

Despite these obstacles, they do not apply to all professions and individuals. If you have a special expertise work in an area in which there is a labor shortage (such as the health sector), or are willing and able to be diligent and persistent, you may find the perfect job in Montréal.

Foreign Credentials

Qualifying to immigrate to Canada does not mean that your education, work experience, and professional credentials are automatically recognized in Canada. You must have your qualifications accredited before working in a regulated industry in Canada. About 20% of jobs in Canada are regulated, including jobs in the health care, financial services, and legal sectors. Trades, such as plumbers, carpenters, and hair stylists are also subject to provincial and territorial regulations, and academic and work experience requirements. These jobs are regulated in order to protect public health and safety, and to ensure that professionals meet the required standards of practice and competence.

The Government of Canada's Foreign Credentials Referral Office is responsible for providing information and referral services on foreign credential recognition to help internationally trained workers put their skills to work in Canada. In Québec, The évaluation comparative des études effectuées hors du Québec (comparative evaluation for studies done outside Québec) is a document that draws a correspondence between Québec's educational system, its main diplomas and studies completed outside Québec. The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials provides assessment and recognition of credentials for the purpose of employment, recognition of prior learning, General Guiding Principles for Good Practice in the Assessment of Foreign Credentials. Find more about verifying your credentials on Immigration Québec.

Resume / CV

Resume versus CV

  • Resume- brief overview of work and educational experience. Prominent in North America when applying for employment. Typically one page.
  • CV (curriculum vitae)- more in depth look at work and educational experience. Prominent in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Typically two or more pages.

Most jobs in Canada require a resume, but in Québec the terms CV and resume tend to be used interchangeably. Most positions require a shortened CV in Québec. The extended CV is almost always expected for senior executive, lawyer, professor, physician or scientist positions that require more pages for highly detailed educational and career background information. If you aren't sure what is required - ask.


  • Contact Information: Relevant personal contact information at the top of the page including: name, phone number, fax number, physical address, and email address.
  • Professional Experience: Usually this information is listed chronologically. List your work experience with: your title, the name of the company you worked for, the dates of your employment, and a brief description of your achievements and skills in that job
  • Education: This section should come before work experience if you are in school or have been out of school for one to three years, depending on your level of work experience and how relevant your education is to your career.
  • Certificates & Diplomas: Courses, seminars, congresses or conferences that are relevant in relation to the position. Note if you received any special honors.
  • Languages: This is extremely relevant to an international job. List which languages you speak and your level: advanced, intermediate or beginner. Point out if you can translate, speak, or write in each language and list any associated degrees. If you are submitting your resume in a language that is not your dominant language, be sure to have a native speaker read it first. Punctuation and grammar are extremely important.
  • Computer Skills: Programs, applications, word processing, database, Internet experience, etc.
  • Interests: You may include personal interests such as hobbies, sports, activities.


  • Style should be straightforward. Use standard paper and a simple font, such as Times New Roman (12 font) or Arial (10) font
  • Print original copies on high quality paper - don't send photocopies.
  • Be neat. Take care with the presentation, design, spaces, and spelling of your resume. Don't use abbreviations. Emphasize sections and things that are important with underlines or bold type.
  • Make sure your CV is as organized as possible, so the information can be found easily.
  • You do not need to date or sign your resume.
  • Have a base CV that you can adjust to each job you are applying for.

Immigration-Québec offers a helpful article on preparing a CV.

Cover Letter

A cover letter usually accompanies a CV in a job application. In the format of a letter, it establishes your tone and intent. Also known as a cover letter, covering letter, motivation letter, or letter of motivation. Unlike France, a handwritten letter is not customary in Québec.

  • Header - Standard business letter style, with the sender's address and other information, the recipient's contact information, and the date sent after either the sender's or the recipient's address. The final part of the header is a salutation (e.g., "Dear Hiring Managers").
  • Introduction - The introduction briefly states the specific position desired, and should be designed to catch the employer's immediate interest.
  • Body - Highlights material in the resume or job application, and explains why the job seeker is interested in the job and would be of value to the employer. Also, matters discussed typically include skills, qualifications, and past experience. If there are any special things to note such as availability date, they may be included as well.
  • Closing - Sums up the letter and indicates the next step the applicant expects to take. It may indicate that the applicant intends to contact the employer, although many favor the more indirect approach of simply saying that the applicant will look forward to hearing from or speaking with the employer. After the closing is a valediction ("Sincerely"), and then a signature line. Optionally, the abbreviation "ENCL" may be used to indicate that there are enclosures.

Job Search

    A checklist of what you need to start your career:
  • Write a curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Research potential employers
  • Find job opportunities
  • Write cover letters
  • Complete job applications
  • Interview
  • Follow-Up
  • Get hired!

Search Engines

Search engines allow you to scan a great variety of jobs, and to narrow down your search on certain criteria. It is also a good idea to post your CV online so hiring managers can find you. Many sites also allow you to sign-up for e-mail alerts of when new jobs become available. In addition, there are several Government of Canada services designed to assist you in your job search such as the national Job Bank or the provincial Emploi Québec . Other government agencies that can help you look for work include: Club de recherche d'emploi du Centre-Ville, Carrefour Jeunesse-Emploi, Centre Génération Emploi, Fondation ressources-jeunesse.


Expat and social forums are another resource for job seekers. Easy Expat's job listings for Canada are a great resource. Search by industry and browse the latest jobs.

Newspapers & Local Publications

Classifieds in print or on newspapers online edition can also be a great resource. Look for their employment section for job offers.

You can also put your own ad in the paper. This may lead to more spam than responses, but this option can be effective.

Recruitment Agencies

An employment or recruitment agency is an organization which matches employers to employees. The government agencies Emploi Québec is such an agency, with many private businesses also acting as employment agencies. Most agencies specialize in a particular field, such as computers, nursing, secretarial work, accounting, catering, or construction. There are also "Head hunting" agencies that are hired by large companies to recruit executives, managers or professionals.

  • Adecco
  • - IT recruitment placement firm based in Montréal
  • Hunt Personnel
  • Kelly Services
  • Manpower Professional
  • The People Bank

Temporary Agencies

If you are in need of short term work there are agencies that will find you employment with another company. Jobs may consist of office work, babysitting, gardening, security or other types of work. They will try to fit with occupations that fit your skill set. As an added bonus, sometimes short term work can lead to longer contract. This can be a popular path for foreign workers entering Canada. Foreign workers may be able to address skills shortages, such as live-in care givers, and gain entry to the country.

A work permit is required for most temporary jobs in Canada. If you are a temporary worker from a country that requires a visa to enter Canada, you must also apply for a Temporary Resident visa through Citizenship and Immigration Canada. For more details refer to the guide's section on "Passport, Visa & Permits".

Job Fairs

Job fairs are an excellent way to find out about available jobs and opportunities. There are usually a large variety of employers you can visit in one day and apply for multiple positions. Entrance is usually free, but registering online is often encouraged. Bring your resume and dress to impress as there may be interviews on the spot.

Canadian job fairs are also held overseas to attract workers to migrate to Canada. Many of these international job fairs are industry specific, such as energy, mining, and engineering job fairs.

Immigration Québec offers information on job fairs abroad and regulations:


Due to the time and costs associated with advertising a job, many job vacancies are filled informally. This means that sometimes it is more who you know, then what you know. Known as the "hidden job" market information about available work is often circulated through managers, employees, business acquaintances, friends and family. Networking is the best way to search for jobs in the hidden job market. Talk to friends, family, and business contacts to see if they have connections in the area you would like to work. Raise your profile in social networks and spread the word about what you are looking for. There are also professional social networks like Linkedin which allows for people to make business contacts.


Interviews are a chance for a company to get to know you before hiring you. Interviews can be simple, informal meetings between you and the potential employer, or formal interviews between you and a group of people with set questions. It is not uncommon for there to be a series of interviews, especially for managing positions. Research the company before the interview to discover their missions and direction. with the first lasting 30-60 min, and further meetings possibly taking an entire day.

  • Dress neatly and conservatively.
  • Arrive a little early to the interview, at least by 15 minutes. It is taboo to be late, even by a minute.
  • Bring your CV, business card, and copies of the certificates.
  • Ask questions. Demonstrate your knowledge and interest.
  • Thank the interviewer for their time.

It is customary to follow up an interview with a phone call to thank your interviewer(s) and/or inquire about the status of the hiring process. This can be done several days to a couple of weeks after your interview, depending on the closing date of the application process.


Most jobs rely on an employment contract. The contract should be in writing and include details:

  • Duration of contract
  • Employee's place of work
  • Description of the residence and its occupants
  • Job description
  • Work schedule
  • Wages and other conditions
  • Living conditions (if applicable)
  • Transportation costs (if applicable)
  • Recruitment fees (if applicable)
  • Obligations of the employer

It is common to have a probational period at a new job. The probation is a trial period ensuring which the employer will assess and evaluate the employee to determine if he or she is suitable for long term employment with the organization. The length and requirements of this period should be detailed within the contract and is usually between 60-90 days.

For more information on work standards, refer to our section on "Work Usage".

Work Visas

If you want to work in Canada, you must apply for a work permit, either as a skilled worker, a Temporary Worker or a Provincial Nominee. In most cases, you will need to submit your application before you arrive in Canada. You have a much shorter wait if you can qualify as a sponsored applicant, or have a job offer that you have obtained from your own efforts or through the provincial nominee program. Work permit generally cost $150 per person, but the total amount will not exceed $450 in the case of a group of three or more performing artists and their staff who apply at the same time and place.

Under the Canada-Québec Accord, Québec establishes its own immigration requirements. Québec selects its skilled workers in two stages.

  1. You must first apply to the Québec government.
  2. Then, applicants must make a separate application to CIC for permanent residence.

Currently, paper applications for new employer take about 75 days and online applications take about 74 days; paper applications for the same employer take about 80 days and online applications take about 74 days. Processing times are subject to change and are updated weekly on the CIC site.

For more information on work permits, refer to our section on "Passport, Visa & Permits".

Language Teacher

Teaching is a common "starter" or temporary job. Since Montréal is bilingual, this could be in English, French, or even another language you are fluent in. Teachers usually work for a language school where they are given a schedule of classes. While this is rarely full-time or offering benefits, it may be enough to live on. The best candidates are college-educated, have earned a teaching certificate (such as a TEFL), and have experience teaching or coaching.

To find work, most people contact language schools directly. This is most effectively done in person where on the spot interviews are frequently held. Always bring a resume and be prepared to interview. You may also contact schools from overseas. Some schools are wary to hire until a candidate is in country.

It is also an option to work for yourself. Private Lessons are usually more profitable per hour, but mean a lot of hard work to find your own customers. The best way to get private students is to post advertisements in business newspapers, on bulletin boards, or offer your resume on our expat job listings in Canada.

For more information on work teaching, read "Tips & Stories from Teaching Abroad".


Most teachers arrive in Canada by arranging their own transport, accommodation, and visas. There are some programs that will arrange these practical details, but most hire a teacher once they have arrived. However, if you have not secured a visa but have gained a teaching position, most schools will supply you the intent to employ so you can secure a appropriate visa. For more details refer to the guide's section on "Passport, Visa & Permits".

Update 19/10/2020


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IT jobs
Maybe this information will be helpful for some people looking for technical jobs. Kovasys Inc., is an IT recruitment placement firm based in Montreal, QC.

 Fabien Navet


Jobs in Customer Contact Centers

We are a job fair specialized for Customer Contact Centers. This may interest immigrants.

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Find more definitions and general answers on expatriation issues in the Expat FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).

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