My name is Akshita Handa and I arrived in Toronto, Canada in August 2017 for a one-year Masters program at Schulich School of Business, York University. I graduated in 2018 and currently work as a Manager in Applied Analytics and Partnerships at RBC Ventures. My job is to drive insights, analyze data and help Ventures grow.
This is my story.
As I was a student in a one-year program, getting a job was a time-sensitive matter. We were always under pressure to study as well as find a job at the same time. After landing, I took some time to settle in, understand how the Canadian market works, and how people interact. I started looking for opportunities a couple of months after beginning my course in September 2017.
To further my job search efforts, I started going to networking events and familiarized myself with employers’ expectations. I used those events as an opportunity to perfect my elevator pitch, refine my personal brand, and present myself to various organizations. Schulich had a resume book that contained resumes from all students of our batch; that book was circulated among the partners and partner companies. My resume along with two other people were selected for an internship in marketing analytics at RBC Ventures.
I received the call for an interview at RBC in January 2018, just after I returned from the holidays. The job profile did not say much because it was a very new role. As part of the interview process, I had a telephonic round and a project that had to be presented. It took me 2 weeks from the time of the first interview to receiving the offer.
I started my internship in May. Coincidentally, this is when everyone heads out on summer break. As a result, there weren’t many jobs posted online at the time but plenty of opportunities surfaced during the fall/autumn season when people were back from vacation. Had I known this trend when I was looking out for jobs in January, I would have tried to find a full-time position instead of an internship.
Since I was graduating soon, I had the urgency to find a full-time job. During my internship at RBC, I gained access to internal job postings and other resources available to employees. I reached out to my (now) manager and also networked with some colleagues in the Applied Analytics team to learn of any available opportunities. Eventually, I had a conversation with my manager, he liked my work, and hired me on his team. I joined RBC Ventures as a full-time employee in August 2018—the same month that I graduated!
My journey from a student to a working professional in Canada taught me many things. Here are just a few:
Networking and coffee chats are key. Identify individuals from your existing school or professional networks and reach out to those working in positions that you intend to work in. Attend networking events like TechTO to learn the latest trends in the industry; it will provide potential topics to talk about in your coffee meetings. Get comfortable with small talk as well!
Nurture professional relationships. Once you make a connection with somebody, work towards developing it with thank you notes, timely holiday greetings, or an occasional comment on their LinkedIn posts.
Track your job applications and prepare well for the interview. Online job postings get taken down frequently (even while they’re still interviewing candidates) and you may lose access to the job description. Hence, it’s a good practice to maintain a record of the job details for your reference. Prior to the interview, research the interviewer and familiarize yourself with the people you will be meeting.
As a newcomer in Canada, you are likely to face many situational as well as emotional challenges. Friends and family can be a great source of support in these times. Stay in touch with them and network with people who give you a positive vibe. Staying optimistic will ensure you find what you’re looking for!
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