by David Mendoza
Every year, thousands of us, come to Canada from all over the world in pursuit of better life and career opportunities. Some of us come to find ourselves, some to relocate with our families, some to escape from war, and some to study and upgrade our skills. Call us International students, immigrants, newcomers, or refugees; all of us are the new talent in Canada and what we have in common is that we are hungry to contribute to the growth of this thriving society and build Canadian experience.
Meaningful Canadian experience!
Meaningful Canadian experience that challenges us and serves as a strong foundation to support future immigration processes, or meaningful Canadian experience that we can take with us and apply towards the betterment of our countries of origin across the globe.
Getting that experience comes with challenges, of course, and many of us get frustrated when our work prospects delay in materializing, impacting our morale and self-confidence. If we come to this country with so much experience and education, what is the reason for not getting calls from potential employers? why is it taking us so long to get to do work that moves us? are employers blind in this country? aren’t they reading all the accomplishments outlined in the resumes we are submitting?
Some of us were told that jobs were going to fall off the trees; we were told that Canada was a great destination because the ageing population is clearing the path for countless career opportunities. We thought it was going to be so easy!
Well, what no one told us is that Canada is a welcoming nation but is NOT a hand-holding society!
Our frustration becomes evident even though we are failing to evaluate our methods and ask ourselves other important questions: out of those resumes we are sending, how can we measure how many of them actually get to touch human hands? and also, are we really making the most of the experience of being in this country? are we making an effort to understand the dynamics of the Canadian workplace? are we connecting with the right people to get valuable insight into how we can land the jobs we want? or on the contrary, are we limiting ourselves and are only interacting with folks who speak our mother tongue and share our same culture?
There are millions of opportunities indeed but they are not going to chase us. We have to chase them down! Canada does not care that we have two master’s degrees under our belt and the experience that comes with that if we are unable to engage with people to whom we can talk about that. If we decide to play safe and hide behind our laptops, we should not complain or whine about the fact that we are not doing meaningful work.
If we are from China and only hang out with the Chinese, if we are Brazilian and decide to move to an apartment with five other Brazilians knowing for a fact that not a single word in English will be ever spoken, if we are from India and in class we choose to sit only with Indian students, then what was the point of making the investment of moving to a new country? It is not only about changing the geographic location; it is about immersing in the language and the work culture in Canada.
We might be the most qualified on paper, but if we do not talk about those qualifications with the people who matter, then nobody cares! we cannot sugarcoat the reality that many of us face when communication and the lack of contacts are still big barriers that many of us endure.
We must take action and find out what services are available in the city and/or the institutions where we study, so we get the support that eases our transition into life in Canada. Platforms like Linkedin, Glassdoor, and Ten Thousand Coffees, provide the means not only to connect with like-minded individuals who can help us understand the industries we want to be part of, but also to research the market, review companies, and get our foot in the door to seize countless opportunities.
We cannot continue relying solely on online job applications in the hopes of landing our dream jobs because that is simply not an effective strategy; it is actually quite obsolete!
There are numerous chances to join forces not only with folks who are Canadian born and raised, but also with people from all over the world to forge incredible career opportunities, to create, and to innovate.
If we want to thrive in this country, we have to stop waiting for the moment when Canada holds our hand to start walking the path because that moment might never come.
We must avoid resting on our laurels at all costs!