Does anyone have experience jobhunting as an Anglophone in Montreal? Where should I be looking for English jobs, should I just forget finding one and learn French ASAP, and is this going to be as big a problem as I fear? Et aussi une grand plaque de fèves.
I'm moving to Montreal in September with my girlfriend, who is starting a new job there. I think that finding employment for me, a non-French-speaker with a fairly common skillset, is going to be tough, and I'm looking for advice in figuring out the best job search plan now so I can be as effective as possible once I'm there. I'm also freaking out about this and would appreciate some perspective on how worried I really need to be. Will I ever work again?!
Since university (English lit) I've been working in reception and admin, mostly in a medical clinic but with a variety of temp assignments as well. I think my resume is pretty strong for this type of work, and my last job search went very well. I have good references and score well on temp agency style testing. But the last time I used French was in high school; I have a basic level of reading and listening comprehension, but right now I don't think I would be able to carry on a conversation or read a business letter. I'm a pretty quick study, and think I could get the French I've forgotten back and move on from there at a reasonable pace. I'm looking forward to that, actually. Is working on my French something I should do before I even start looking for a job? I'm not in the best place financially, and it would be much better for me to be employed first and paying for French courses second.
I am already planning to visit the YES
office, apply to admin jobs at Concordia and McGill (though these still require some French), and centre my search in Westmount since English speakers are concentrated there. I don't drive so can't deliver pizzas or courier parcels, and jobs that you can't do with a bad back are also out. I have a TESL certificate, so applying for ESL teaching positions is a possibility, but most of my experience is as a private tutor, which makes me worry that if ESL is a competetive job market in Montreal, I would not be a good candidate. I speak conversational Japanese, but it's not enough to be useful in a work environment and therefore unlikely to be helpful.
If finding an admin job without French is just not going to be possible, what's the best job I can expect to have a chance at? I don't want to lowball myself by applying only to McDonalds when in fact the beautiful locally owned English-only bookstore would have loved to hire me, had I only rocked up with my resume (I wish). I'm willing to do any kind of job, but at the same time I don't want to go through unnecessary hardship because I didn't know where to look. For example, would behind-the-scenes jobs like shipping and receiving be an option? Any other non-bilingual jobs I may just not have thought of?
If French first is really important, I would also appreciate recommendations for good intensive French programs.