A Mentee Story – Sarah Tangan

I arrived in Canada and received the “warmest” of welcomes. I came from the Philippines and arrived at Fort McMurray eight days before the wildfire. This was the reason why my family and I evacuated to Edmonton. We eventually decided to stay in Edmonton as my husband and I agreed that Edmonton is a great place to raise our five-year old son.

I worked for more than 10 years as a Hiring Manager for the Maritime industry. I was working to provide jobs to multi-national seafarers and when I arrived in Canada, the tables had been turned on me. After many years of looking at other people’s resume and interviewing candidates, I needed to be the one to write my own resume, be interviewed and be rejected by hiring managers.

Prior leaving the Philippines, I attended the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program. I always believed that planning and preparation is the armour you need for every journey. I visited a couple of Integration Program service providers and had later on been connected to ERIEC. ERIEC connected me to an amazing HR mentor.

My mentor had been very supportive in providing feedbacks about my resume and formats for cover letters. After two meetings with my mentor, I received a call for interview for an HR scheduling job. I informed my mentor about my interview and asked him for some guidance on how to prepare for the interview. He provided practical and useful techniques to improve my interview skills even on very short notice. I followed his advice and eventually landed the job! I continued the mentorship program while working full time as I felt I still needed to learn more from the program.

After two months of working as a Scheduler, I was laid off due to the financial condition of the company I was working for. ERIEC and my mentor had been very supportive during these challenging times. My mentor provided encouragement and reminded me of all the achievements that I have accomplished so far. He believed in me and reminded me that there will be something better coming my way.

I returned to work in a transitional job that I previously had and continued to look for better opportunities. I juggled working at my transitional job, an online Maritime job, attended the ERIEC workshops, and involved myself in networking everywhere. My mentor made introductions for me and even joined me at an HR mixer as well. I focused my energies in finding other options to help replace my despair from losing a professional job that I was passionate about. I volunteered with a Settlement and Integration Program Service provider that I regularly visited for job fairs. After a couple of weeks working as a volunteer, I found about an opportunity within the organization. I targeted my resume and cover letter. I was invited for an interview and got the job!

I am very thankful to ERIEC, my mentor and all the settlement agencies who helped me towards and through my transition. A decade working for the Maritime Industry taught me that a “Smooth sea never made a skillful sailor”. Challenges are prevalent and inevitable. Focus on targeting specific action steps to reach your goal. Take advantage of the free resources that are given but be prepared to make an effort to steer in the direction where you want to go.  After all we are the “Masters of our own Fate!”