A Mentee Story – Claudio Carvajal

My name is Claudio. I have a bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management and extensive experience working in hotels and in government in Mexico. I moved from Mexico to Canada in May 2014, and I faced some challenges soon after I arrived – my lack of Canadian work experience, lack of understanding of Canadian culture at the workplace, and my credentials were not recognized in Canada. Furthermore, English was my second language, and I didn’t have the right connections that could help me find a job in my field.

I spent my first month applying for different jobs related to administration; however, I was not successful in getting interviews. I was told that it was due to my lack of Canadian experience. So I took a part time server position because I thought it could be a fast way to get a Canadian reference, as well as a good way to improve my English.

While I was working part time, I visited the Catholic Social Services, and completed my English assessment test. According to my level of English and my career goals, they recommended me to contact ERIEC.

When I attended an information session that ERIEC provided, I found out that Canadian Culture at the workplace is very different than back home in so many ways. There are many differences like the way to format a resume and cover letter, how to do an interview, and how to interact with people here at the workplace…I realized that if I wanted to get a professional job, I had to overcome my cultural shock by trying to understand the Canadian culture. I was advised to attend the career development workshops by Bredin Centre. There I learned how to format a Canadian style resume and cover letter, and how to do an interview in Canada.

Also, thanks to the ERIEC staff, I became aware of the International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS) which assesses international educational credentials and compares them to educational standards in Canada. So I could get my bachelor’s degree assessed by IQAS, which would help me increase access and entry to the job market.

Realizing that I need to improve my English skills, I became a full time English as a Second Language (ESL) student at NorQuest College in the fall of 2014. The ESL program helped me improve my English writing and speaking skills, and I became more confident.

During my time in the Mentorship Program, I met with my mentor regularly, and attended many workshops and events provided by ERIEC and other organizations in order to expand my network. By far, the Mentorship Program contributed by helping me land a professional job. The mentor that I was paired up with was excellent. In fact, she was the perfect match for my career goals, and she was extremely helpful. She helped me review my resume and cover letter, and I was able to practise thorough mock interviews not only with my mentor but also with a couple of recruiters in the same company. I received constructive feedback from them. I am very thankful to my mentor because she helped me gain more confidence in my interview performance, which eventually helped me to land a job within my field. I was offered a temporary position at first and have recently become a permanent employee. Now that I have a professional job, I have plans to obtain additional education in Canada in order to learn more and develop my skills.

In the future, I would like to obtain a job with more responsibility within the current organization that I am working for. I really encourage newcomers to apply to this Mentorship Program; it is worth it! Be patient and never give up!