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Creating Opportunities: Freelancing in Canada as an International Student 🇨🇦



As we often say to Thrivvers, "If you're not getting any opportunities to have some work experience, create some for yourself." drops the mic 🎤 This mantra can quickly become your beacon of hope as you navigate the Canadian job market for the first time. The challenge? The elusive "Canadian work experience" requirement which seems to be the golden ticket to employment. However, strangely enough, that paradoxically requires having been employed in Canada. It's the classic chicken and egg dilemma.


"But, Thrivve, how can I get Canadian work experience if I don’t have Canadian work experience!?" Excellent question! While volunteering is a popular route many international students take to sprinkle some Canadian flavor into their resumes, freelancing emerges as a compelling alternative. 🥁


Why Freelance? 🤔


Freelancing isn't just a side hustle; it's a strategic move towards gaining that much-needed Canadian work experience, furthermore, it’s a move to direct your professional path to wherever you actually want to go. Here are four reasons why diving into the freelance world could be your next best step:


  1. Skill Showcase: Put your talents on full display. Whether you’re a coding wizard, design guru, or a wordsmith, freelancing allows you to showcase and refine your skills.

  2. Flexibility: Work around your study schedule. Late-night coding session or early morning client calls—your call.

  3. Networking: Connect with local professionals and businesses. Each project is a potential reference or door to a future opportunity.

  4. Entrepreneurial Spirit: Demonstrate your initiative and ability to work independently—a trait highly admired by Canadian employers.


How To Get Started 🚀

So, you're sold on the idea but wondering where to begin. Here’s a quick guide to kick off your freelancing journey:



  • Identify Your Offer: Pinpoint the skills you can offer and who might need them. Start with what you know and love.

  • Build a Portfolio: Use platforms like Behance, GitHub, or even a simple WordPress site to showcase your work. No projects yet? Consider personal projects or volunteering your skills to gain initial experience.

  • Market Yourself: Create a LinkedIn profile highlighting your freelance services, engage in relevant social media groups, and consider platforms like Upwork or Fiverr to find your first gigs. (A good starting point is to ask your friends and family to be your first clients)

  • Set Realistic Goals: Start small with manageable projects that allow you to balance school and work. Remember, quality over quantity.


Embrace the Freelance Mindset 

Thriving as a freelancer in Canada is about more than just landing gigs. It's about embracing challenges, constantly learning, and building relationships (we can’t emphasize enough how important this is).


Each project, no matter how small, is a step towards understanding the Canadian work culture, enhancing your skills, and, most importantly, accumulating that coveted Canadian work experience.


Wrapping things up 🎁

Navigating the job market as a newcomer in Canada can be daunting, but remember, where there's a will, there's a way—freelancing is one shining path to gaining valuable Canadian work experience. It’s about creating opportunities for yourself and proving that you have what it takes to succeed in the Canadian workforce.


And hey, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, curious, or just need a friendly chat about kickstarting your freelance journey, navigating study options, or finding a job in Canada, the Thrivve team is here for you! 💌💬 Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for personalized advice and support. We’re all about empowering you to thrive in Canada, from your studies to your career and beyond.


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