Are you an international student trying to find an internship in Canada, but don’t have enough experience? Finding the right internship opportunity can make a big difference to successfully starting your career. But finding your internship can prove difficult when you don’t have much, if any, work experience.
At Stepwest, we have helped interns from all over the world land career-defining roles in their field of study – many who had little or no previous work experience. In this post, we sat down with our lead internship expert to get her five best pieces of advice for successfully landing an internship in Canada in 2023. So, whether you’re an international student looking for a summer internship in Canada or a career-driven student seeking an internship in Canada in the Summer or Fall in 2023, discover our top tips on getting an internship in Canada with no experience.
First things first, why Canada? If you are from a country that holds an active agreement with Canada under International Experience Canada (IEC Canada), then Canada is the perfect place to gain real-world work experience. An internship in Canada will open doors for your future career and be a valuable asset for your CV. Canada is consistently hailed as one of the most liveable countries in the world, which, coupled with an incredible array of internships available across every industry, has all the ingredients for a pretty great work-life balance. If English isn’t your first language, this is also a great opportunity to practice your English.
Stepwest is a Recognized Organization of the Government of Canada. We assist students from around the globe with finding their perfect work experience opportunity and complete career-boosting internships in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal or Calgary. Just ask our intern Christiane from Germany! She completed an internship in Vancouver to support her studies in economics and mechanical engineering before starting her Masters.
Cassandra is our Lead Internship Specialist at Stepwest. She graduated from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C, Canada and has a background in sales, business development, and administration. While previously working for a large Canadian telecommunications company, she sharpened her ability to build connections in her professional network. This experience helps her to identify ideal opportunities for our interns, by determining their key strengths and potential for professional and personal growth. She updated us on what employers are looking for when hiring international students for an internship.
Being an Internship Specialist at Stepwest means she is responsible for the success of your internship experience. This includes:
Cassandra has worked with hundreds of students from all around the world seeking a wide range of professional careers and knows everything you need to find an internship in Canada. Here’s her best advice for landing your dream internship experience in Canada in 2022 or 2023.
Finding an internship in Canada takes time, now more than ever. Not only because of the hiring process, but also to secure your internship work permit in Canada (International Co-Op). Processes for visas and permits after COVID-19 have been affected, so the sooner you start the better.
In order to allow for the extra time needed to organize your international internship, we recommend you start your internship search at least five months in advance of your desired start date. We recommend this because the visa process can take from 6 to 8 weeks, and you can only start your visa application once you have an internship offer from a Canadian company.
Securing an internship as an international student takes time, and even if your school asks you to start your internship in September or October, we recommend you start the process between January and March.
A good CV (known as a resume in Canada) will be your strongest tool in your internship search. From one country to another, the CV format is different. In Canada, there are specific do’s and don’ts that you should keep in mind when putting together your CV.
To adapt your CV to the format used in Canada, we recommend the following:
Are you thinking that you won’t be able to find an internship because you don’t have enough work experience?
You’re wrong. Just because you do not have a lot of work experience, does not necessarily mean that you won’t be able to land an opportunity. It may be a bit more challenging, but it’s not impossible!
Focus on your education, skills, and any past volunteer experience you may have. For the work and/or volunteer experience that you do have, be as detailed as possible about your roles and responsibilities. Even if you’ve only had one job, describe exactly what you did and any accomplishments you had during your time there. This helps give the prospective employer a detailed understanding of your work ethic and most importantly – your potential!
In addition, do not hesitate to include any experience you might have from helping your family business. If you worked during a summer for your parents or uncle’s company; or covered for one of your family members while he or she was away – this is real work and this experience is valuable as well! Canadian companies will value any experience you’ve done!
It is imperative to research the company prior to the interview. It will provide more context about the role you will be doing, what the company does, and also allow you to feel more confident and prepared for the employer’s questions. Make sure you know as much as possible about your potential company before your interview.
If you secure your internship experience through Stepwest, we will guide you through the interview preparation process and give you a heads up about what to expect during the interview and information about the company work structure during COVID-19. Remember that we are facing a new reality so depending on your industry, many companies are allowing employees to work remotely or are combining working at the office and from home.
Also, make sure you prepare questions to ask at the end of the interview. This part is very important as it shows you have initiative and a genuine interest in working for their company.
Some example questions you could prepare ahead of time to ask include:
If you have little or no previous work experience, we recommend not focusing your job search on just one industry. It is important to remember that when you are starting your career, you should seek opportunities to develop your skills. Many skills are transferrable across different industries. It’s better to find an internship that will provide you with the best opportunity to build your skillset. Then you can use these newly developed skills to move into your desired industry when you return home.
The most common industries for internationals in Canada are marketing, finance, and engineering. However, Canada overall is a country with a lot of internships in many different industries.
If you’re a business student, for example, we recommend you focus your research not just on one specific specialization like marketing or finance. Instead, target several areas that could allow you to develop important skills such as problem-solving, communication, teamwork and creative thinking.
Applying to different industries will improve your chance of landing an internship in Canada.
2023 is coming full of opportunities for an internship in Canada, but you will be facing a few challenges. Would you like to avoid the long process of looking for an internship? We have the right solution for you! At Stepwest we can help you secure an unpaid internship in your field of study in one of Canada’s top cities: Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal or Calgary.
In addition to a guaranteed internship placement, we will help you with everything you need to complete an internship in Canada. This includes:
If you are looking for a long-term paid internship, we can help through our Hospitality Internship program. This program is aimed for Hospitality Management and Gastronomy and Culinary Arts students interested in completing their education with international work experience, which is extremely important as it can define your future career!
You will be able to work at a top hotel in the Canadian Rockies in Alberta or in famous destinations such as Whistler in British Columbia! Our Hospitality Internship program, and the experience you will get through it, will give you a competitive advantage in the job market and contribute to faster career progress.
This is one for hospitality students looking for experience in the hospitality industry, with the added bonus that it is paid!
If you are looking for an internship for summer 2023, Fall 2023 or any time in 2023, make sure to connect with us right away, so that you have enough time to organize your internship visa application. Please note that the processing times can be between 8 to 10 weeks, and that’s only after you are already hired for an internship, so we highly recommend you to get in touch with us at least four months before your desired start date!
Getting started is easy. Simply fill out our online application form and our team will get back to you shortly to discuss your internship potential in Canada!
Our Internship programs will give you the opportunity to land your dream internship in Canada. Gain hands-on experience in your field of study, build a professional network and develop the skills to stand-out in a globally competitive job market.
Start now so you can get ahead of the internship visa process on time!
“If you are planning on having a Canadian experience with no hustles, then I can assure you that this is the best investment you will ever make. I would definitely pay again with eyes closed! ”
“My adventure with Stepwest was just perfect! If you want a good experience in Canada you should go with them. They were very helpful in getting me to Whistler. I am very happy and I really thank them!”
“Potentially the nicest people on the planet! I was never left to worry during any step of my progress... You feel like they really genuinely care about you going on your adventures :)”
“If it wasn't for Stepwest I wouldn't be in Canada right now, they helped me with everything from getting my visa application started to getting a job here in Canada...”
“Fantastic experience with Stepwest ... they were extremely friendly, quick to respond and offered very helpful advice throughout the whole process. Thank you!!”
“My experience with Stepwest was amazing... I would recommend Stepwest to anyone that wants to have a great experience in Canada.”
“One of the best decisions of my life. They have made everything easy and clear. I am very grateful to the entire team for their attention and dedication. I would absolutely recommend them!”