Thursday, September 8, 2011

Getting Work in Nova Scotia

Hi! Sorry for not posting yesterday...the day just sort of got away from me. Today is going to be busy too with meetings, shopping, meeting the kids new riding instructor (more on that later) and getting more cleaning done. I have a meeting with the area director for the Welcome Wagon. I'm going to be doing the baby welcome in my community which will be great, meeting new mums and babies. Oh, and Steve finally heard back from the appliance repair company he'd called previously. Just when we'd given up and decided to go in another direction. He's not too sure exactly what the plan is but he and the appliance guy are doing a ride along on Monday. SO I'll let you know how that pans out.

This is an area of Canada with about 10% unemployment. Some portion of that is seasonal workers like teachers and fishermen but some are active job seekers. There are also underemployed people working menial or part-time jobs who want better ones. But despite that there is still a lot of work to be had. Depending on your skills and what you're willing to do. If you will pick apples then you'll be guaranteed work for September and October, at last count I found a dozen farms advertising and lots more that just have signs up and spread the information by word of mouth. That's how lots of things work in smaller towns...word of mouth. So it can be hard for a newcomer to get the 'in'. But here it's easy to just be upfront with everyone and let them know what you need. You'll be surprised at how often people will tell their friends that that nice new couple down the road need such and such. You'll get calls out of the blue, we certainly have, from the friend of an acquaintance etc etc.

Other places to look for work in Nova Scotia are of course the local newspapers, bulletin boards, business windows, and the easiest way is online. Here are some links:

Nova Scotia Job Shop is here. This one is Annapolis Valley specific.

To work in Nova Scotia you must generally be over 15 years old unless working on a farm and you must have a valid SIN or Social Insurance Number to work in Canada or to receive benefits like the Child Tax Credit or a Pension. Here's the application to get your SIN or replace a card. Getting your first card is free but there's a $10 fee to get a replacement. I know that for myself I have to get my immigration docs first before I can replace my SIN card. I lost my card years ago and I need to replace it as of course my name changed once I got married.

The current minimum wage is $9.35 as a training wage and $9.65 is the standard minimum wage. If you are a farm worker though and doing piece work you could make less, as Chris and Dave found out last week.

Other ways to get a job are to go to companies in your area of expertise and ask if they are now or will be hiring in the future. Just because they don't need you right now doesn't mean that someone might not leave next week and your resume will be fresh in their minds and on the top of the pile. You should devote as much time looking for a job as you would do working. So be prepared. Comfy shoes, neat appearance, lots of resumes, cover letters and reference letters. Whatever is relevant to your job. Think ahead, customize your cover letter for each individual job and consider having a professional read over your resume and give you advice. Remember, you should point out your experience, skills and qualifications. Be concise, get to the point, and make them want to meet you in person. A resume and cover letter are tools you use to sell yourself and get the interview. The interview is where you can expand on why the employer should choose you over other candidates. What makes you the best employee? Think about the questions you'll be asked and prepare mentally.

Goodness, it's time to get ready for work. TTYL.


  1. One of the most common pieces of advice I hear in the Valley is to dumb down your resume. Employers are looking for reliable (not necessarily skilled) workers which apparently are hard to come by here.

  2. Yes, we've heard that too. Stress your common sense and willingness to be on time, work hard, and be totally dependable. However, if you are a skilled worker make sure you have your Red Seal so you can work inter-provincially, and you're set! There's a lack of skilled tradesmen on Atlantic Canada such as Electricians, Plumbers, HVAC etc.