1. Do your research
The first thing you must do before you move to Fort McMurray is your research. Can you get a job? What the area is like? How high are housing prices now? What would employers pay you?
- Don't know what the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is? Find out.
- Don't know how wages compare? Find out.
- Don't know where to start when moving to Canada? Find out.
2. Housing is expensive and hard to find
The smartest thing you can do before you move to Fort McMurray is have a job. In the least, have a place to stay before you come. That includes hotel rooms—you must have a reservation before you come because they might be full. Hotel prices range from $140 to $500 per night, and depending on the time of year might be booked up to a month in advance.
House prices here are some of the highest in the country. How much?
3. Even here, it takes time to find a job
Don't expect to get a job the same day you get here. It doesn't happen anymore, if it ever did. The labour market has slowed down and employers are more cautious. They won't hire just anyone. They will interview you, check references, and make sure you're the best person for the job. While you're waiting, go get your safety training. You'll need it. Just make sure you have enough money to last you a few months.
4. Have your job search tools ready
Many employers do not have offices in Fort McMurray, so you might not be able to meet with them in person. There are a few things you will need to make the job search as painless as possible:
- Electronic version of your resumé (e.g. online or on a CD). Need help when you're here?
- Email address (pick one that sounds professional). Most employers require that job seekers apply through their online application process. An email address is needed for this.
- Be ready for an interview. Have appropriate clothes. Know what your strengths are. Have names and contact information of references. Need more help?
If you're new to Canada, you may need extra help with your resumé, cover letter, and interview skills. Find out what's different.
5. Surviving your first three months
- Alberta drivers' licence info
- Alberta Health Care info
- Local community resources info
If you're from outside Canada, read the August 2008 Labour Market News: Services for Immigrants for local services and organizations that can help.
6. Bring your paperwork
Employers may ask for proof of your skills and experience. Bring with you:
- Education/training certification documents/transcripts – see the Skills Required page for more info, especially for trades certification.
- High-school diploma/college or university transcripts
- Safety training paperwork – see the Safety page for more info on what training is needed for many industries and occupations in the area.
7. Pre-employment testing
Pre-employment drug and alcohol testing is a common requirement for most industrial jobs, construction, security—any job that brings you onto an oil sands mine or construction site.
8. Call or email us
If you have any questions about what you should know before you move, general questions about the labour market in Fort McMurray, or want to know how cold it really gets here, contact us.