Who am I and why did I come to Canada?
My name is Nozima and here is my story. I have come from Tajikistan. I had a great job, 2 masters degree, a great house, family and an extended network. But I was not afraid to give up my “comfort zone” and move to Canada.
So no matter what is said – I always remembered that I am one of few who make this life changing decision and consider myself a hero! And I knew that this country is one of the best in providing me with an opportunity to reach higher.
Contrary to the common myth that immigrants lack certain technical and soft skills, we all do but as all humans who start life in a new place we start to question everything and we begin to lose the most precious things we have – confidence and hope.
Coming with big dreams, being hit by hard realities and learning to take baby steps?
With an advanced degree, I have worked in various international settings and big projects. I thought that finding a job would be easy here in Canada but this was not the case.
Lack of Canadian experience, Canadian certification and accreditation processes, a new work culture… you name it…these were my new realities…
Building a Network?
My first step was to reach out to my “community” to connect and network with people. This was difficult as I just became even more home sick. I think that feeling is very familiar to most of you, especially when you feel like you are losing your confidence after 6 months of job searching!
But my remedy was to work harder and not give up. I began to work hard on my own to:
- establish my new networks
- be open to meet people
- not to be afraid to ask for ‘informational interviews’ – on-line job hunting is not effective!
Now – this term of “Canadian experience” – is a critical factor when looking for work here in Canada. Isn’t it something we all hear when we apply for jobs? And where can we get this Canadian experience?
So, I started to look around for help. I began to realize that there is not much for us – when I say “us”, I mean internationally trained professionals, who require more than just English skills and general help in job searching.
I was lucky to find the ERIEC Career Mentorship Program and to be introduced to my mentor Karen Link who, one even can say, had a great influence on my life.
To me, mentorship is a partnership where both sides play a role in achieving results. Karen and I both worked very hard to achieve our goals. Sometimes I am not sure who worked harder!
She helped me to believe in myself, restore my confidence, and stay persistent. We really worked hard during the 4 months of the program. Karen introduced me to many people, she taught me how to introduce myself professionally. We worked hard on mock interviews and reviewing each job I have applied. She also taught me how to write strong cover letters and how to follow up. It was really 4 month of hard work and everyday conversations with Karen (I learned more than I could imagine).
I would also like to highlight the Intercultural Workshops that were provided during the program that were very beneficial to me.
Did I get interviews? Yes I got 5 interviews during the program. One week I got 3 interviews! Did I get a job in my field? Yes, I did. I started the Career Mentorship program in August 2013, and in December I was offered a position with Alberta Infrastructure.
What impressed me the most during the program?
I am thankful to ERIEC as this program helped me to believe in myself and not to give up. It is crucial for newly arrived professionals in a new environment to have real “human touch” – Mentors – who care about your life and who help you to go through different steps in life and succeed.
To conclude, what are the ingredients for success?
From my experience, I think the following characteristics are the most important:
- Believe in yourself!
- Work hard and even harder and success will come to you. As it had been said by Pablo Picasso “Action is the foundational key to all success”.
- For the rest, ERIEC is doing a great job by matching great people with each other; I mean real professionals and great personalities. That’s why it took me 4 months to find my dream job; by the way, my husband spent over 15 months!So I would like to thank my mentor Karen for providing such an exceptional support. I thank ERIEC for doing such an awesome job. I hope your program will expand and more professionals will receive benefit from it as well as the Province of Alberta. And I am very thankful to Canada for giving us this opportunity and embracing diversity like no other country in the world.