A Journey from El Salvador to Alberta

ERIEC Mentee Iris Moreno, far right, Jill Chesley (ERIEC Project Coordinator), Norma Schneider (NorQuest College) and a chance meeting with Premier Alison Redford at a YWCA Speaker Series Event

From left to right: Jill Chesley (ERIEC Project Coordinator), Norma Schneider (NorQuest College), The Honourable Alison Redford, Premier of Alberta and ERIEC Mentee Iris Moreno at a YWCA Speaker Series Event.

A quick glance at Iris Moreno’s resume shows she is a very well-qualified professional with more than 15 years’ experience in project management within the non-profit and government sectors.

While Iris earned her impressive qualifications in El Salvador, she worked with mentor Doug Piquette, ERIEC Executive Director, to learn how to format her resume so Canadian employers could quickly scan the essence of her qualifications.

She says resumes in her native El Salvador include much of the same information, but Canadian resumes are formatted very differently. “Individuals use different styles for resumes, but Doug showed me how to highlight my skills in the first part of the resume because that’s where employers will look first to see whether I can offer them the skills and experience they need. He showed me that I have to sell my skills.”

Iris says resumes in El Salvador stay the same no matter what position you are applying for. “Here in Canada, you fit your resume according to the position you want. Here, you have to describe your hard and soft skills first, then your knowledge and experience, followed by your education.”

Iris’ education includes a Masters Degree in International Relations and a Certificate in Project Management (International Cooperation or International Development). She has years of experience working with the International Cooperation Program of Spain as the El Salvador Coordinator with the El Salvador Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Iris, her husband and three daughters, all young adults, came to Canada – to Edmonton – in 2010. When they made the decision to emigrate, they considered Vancouver or Edmonton. Iris says her former boss in El Salvador encouraged them to consider Vancouver. When they researched both cities and their labour markets, however, Edmonton came out on top. “My husband is a machinist. Alberta is an industrial province and needs more machinists than does British Columbia.”

“We all love Edmonton. I love the different seasons. In summer, I like the different greens. In fall, I love watching the trees turn to orange. In winter, I love to see the white snow particularly on a day like today when the sun shines off the snow.”