2020-12-17T14:07:42-05:00Aug 30, 2019|

Decoding the ‘Canadian experience’: Priyanka and Prateek’s story

My name is Priyanka Bansod and I moved to Toronto in April 2019 with my husband, Prateek Sule. We’re originally from India, moved to Dubai a few years ago and have now moved to Canada. We are engineers with MBAs and both of us have approximately seven years of work experience in our respective fields. Currently, I am working with Stackpole International as a Human Resources Generalist and my husband is employed with Parmalat Canada as an Account Manager. 

A fun fact about us — two and a half months after moving to Canada, we received our respective offer letters on the same day, just fifteen minutes apart!  

This is our story.

We chose to move to Canada for the weather and the opportunity to settle-in as Permanent Residents (PRs). Selecting Toronto as the destination city was easy since we have friends and family here.

Based on our own research as well as guidance from friends, we decided to bank with RBC. The process of moving our funds was seamless; with banker’s cheques, the entire amount was transferred within four days! One of our friends from Dubai owns a house in Toronto, so luckily, we didn’t have to worry about finding a place to rent for the year. However, there were other areas where we struggled.  

Our path to finding employment was a learning curve and it took us about two and a half months to find a job in our respective fields. Additionally, considering our lifestyle in Dubai, moving from Dubai to Toronto was a huge transition for us.  

Here’s how we found jobs after moving to Canada:

During my job search phase, I was very aware of how important it is to network. Some people suggested that I should consider starting with junior-level positions in HR and build my way up but I didn’t want to dismiss my previous experience and hence, continued networking. My husband and I would attend networking events and connect with at least five people from our fields on LinkedIn every week. We would focus on job search from nine to five daily on weekdays and yet we didn’t have any response for at least a month! 

Interestingly, while attending a job fair, I happened to meet an individual who wasn’t actually looking to hire at the time. Our conversation revolved around his organization and my experience which eventually led to him asking me if I would be interested in working with his company in a role that was in line with my experience. That meeting led to an interview, which eventually led to the job! 

It was a slightly different experience for my husband — he was looking for an opportunity in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, which is difficult to break into without ‘Canadian experience’. He primarily applied through LinkedIn, was shortlisted for interviews, and thus managed to secure a job offer. In the process of preparing for the interview, he gathered industry insights through networking and did a mini market research project to learn about the products of the company that he was interviewing with. This, coupled with his international experience, helped him stand out from the competition and get the job. 

Our thoughts on ‘Canadian Experience’:

  • ‘Canadian experience’ is equal to cultural fit — it’s all about how well you understand the market and are able to apply your skills and experience to local scenarios. If you have the right skill set and are a good fit to the company culture, there is no reason why they won’t hire you. You’ve already won the first twenty percent of the battle when they invite you for an interview; the remaining eighty percent is all about cultural fit.  
  • Know the local terms used in your field of work and include those on your resume for a more accurate match. For instance, the consumer packaged goods industry is called FMCG in Dubai and India but in Canada, it’s referred to as CPG.
  • Exploring the city by public transit is a good way to get to know the local culture. Topics related to sports, weather and travel experiences on the TTC serve as good conversation starters and also help you build your Canadian experience. 

Lastly, we would like to say that it’s an overwhelming experience to move out of your home country, so believe in yourself and your capabilities. Utilize the services offered by government-funded settlement agencies like JobSkills and ACCES Employment; they have various career-related resources to assist you. 

For us, our Canadian dream is made up of little things like achieving greater heights in our respective careers, owning a home, enjoying the work-life balance that Canada has to offer and celebrating small victories as they come along the way! What’s your Canadian dream?