Today, I’m working at my dream job as a senior software engineer in Toronto. It’s all thanks to VanHack Premium. Let me tell you my story of how I got a job in Canada!

How I knew I needed VanHack Premium to succeed

Like most VanHackers, I joined because I wanted to work abroad. It’s an exciting prospect, working in Canada, putting my technical skills to work.

But I had a problem: my English interview skills weren’t going to get me the job I wanted. I didn’t have confidence. I learned that the hard way, when I came to VanHack’s recruiting mission in São Paulo. I didn’t get selected to go to meet with Canadian companies because my English just wasn’t at a level where an employer could communicate well with me.

But I didn’t give up. In fact, I moved to Toronto to get comfortable in the place I really wanted to call home. Most candidates won’t do that before they get the job they want, but I was highly motivated. But even more important to my tech job search, I joined VanHack Premium. That gave me the skills I need.

How VanHack Premium helped me prepare to get hired

I participated in VanHack classes every day, along with my English classes in Toronto. Through VanHack Premium, I had daily interview practice classes in English, focused on different kinds of interviews as well as less formal communication.

All classes are online, so people from all over the world participate. It was a great opportunity to practice my pronunciation and grammar with other Premium members. The classes also helped me to prepare for particular roles in the tech sector. I got incredible value from those classes. Well, clearly — since I’m now telling you how I got a job in Canada!

How I got the chance to talk to companies at VanHack Leap

VanHack Leap events connect tech professionals from abroad with Canadian companies looking for their skills. But to participate, you need to complete the application steps:

  • Complete your VanHack profile;
  • Do your English verification. You need to get advanced or fluent to increase your chances;
  • Do your code verification. It’s done with HackerRank code challenges to check your technical knowledge in the skill you have experience with.

To be honest, I had to apply for Leap a few times. The first time, as I mentioned, my English just wasn’t good enough. But after weeks of intense studying, I did the test again… and my rating was advanced! That was a big improvement for me.

I also did my code verification again and got a higher score. So I was feeling pretty confident.

So, I participated in VanHack classes and told some VanHackers I was in Toronto.  Thanks to my improvement and enthusiasm, I got my chance to talk to companies at Leap!

Even better, after getting selected, companies started contacting me ahead of the event. That’s the way it works. You’ll start the interview process remotely, before you even get to the Leap event!

Preparing for the Leap event

After being selected for Leap, I got special classes from VanHack to help me give the best possible impression.

I learned everything there was to know about the companies. Their values, culture, products, and challenges. With that, I could see which companies and job opportunities were the best match for my profile.

I was also learning how to recognize and better describe my non-technical skills: for instance, my body language and ability to communicate and collaborate in a Canadian tech workplace.

Finally, we did mock interviews to practice my pitch.

Before the event, I got a list with all the companies participating in the event with their respective job vacancies. I had all the information I needed to be my best in front of employers.

Day 1. Meeting with companies at the VanHack Leap event

I was nervous when the big day arrived, but I felt like the whole VanHack team was there with me. There were about 30 companies looking to hire!

The founder of VanHack, Ilya Brotzky, briefly introduced each candidate to the companies at the beginning of the event. With that, the 2-day event kicked off with networking. This was my chance to meet the recruiters and pitch myself to the companies – and of course, give them my business card.


Day 2. Meeting with companies at Leap

The next day, the companies which liked my profile sent emails inviting me to more formal interviews. Depending on the company, the interview was a technical interview, measuring pair programming, code analysis, or a conversation to check cultural fit. All that preparation I did through VanHack Premium really paid off on this day.

The interviews happened at the WeWork office in Toronto. Interviews took around 30 minutes to 1 hour. After each interview, I waited for the next one. It was a marathon to do so many interviews in English, but it was also exciting to see all of the opportunities out there.

Day 3. Getting a job offer through VanHack Leap!

The third day was the happiest one for me. I got the job offer! And I wasn’t the only one. After that, we just had to celebrate.

Why VanHack Premium was so valuable to me

So, now you know how I got a job in Canada. There were so many ways that VanHack Premium helped me to succeed, it’s hard to list them all. But here goes!

  • I improved my LinkedIn profile and resume.
  • I learned how to communicate in English, but also how to communicate in the workplace.
  • I learned about Canadian culture and what that meant in terms of being a professional (and showing it).

VanHack motivated me to be my best. All candidates, some who went through VanHack Premium like me, were helpful to each other all the time. That really helped me to be my best and get my dream job!

If you have the dream to work abroad, try VanHack. And that, my friends, is how I got a job in Canada.

This is a guest blog post from Cândido Sales Gomes, a VanHack Premium member who got hired at a VanHack Leap event.

Sign up for VanHack Premium today and improve your chances of getting hired in Canada!