In this new series of posts, we will look at success stories of three newcomers who found employment in the field of their choice.  Our hope is that these stories will inspire, motivate, and help you build a positive outlook towards your job search.

The first success story will focus on Mr. Kapil Sharma who currently works as a Marketing Technology Manager at BMO Financial Group. Kapil is a new immigrant from India. He has an Engineering degree and an MBA from Mumbai University. In his role at BMO, Kapil is responsible for managing marketing technology stack, innovating revenue generation capabilities, and personalizing their online marketing space.

Note: The responses have been shortened and, in some instances, paraphrased.

Nerissa Fernandes : Can you tell us a little about the steps you took to prepare for your job search prior to landing?

Kapil Sharma : Almost all efforts and preparation for the job search were back in India. The only thing I’ve done after arriving in Canada is actually going on interviews. I started conceptualizing the idea of moving to Canada in April 2017 and that’s when I began the job search because I wanted to really understand if it was worth moving.

To start, I browsed through job postings on Indeed, LinkedIn, and Monster to see if there were any relevant jobs for me and if my skills were in-demand in Canada. That was just a preliminary, “testing the waters” kind of thing.

Next, I started working on my skills by taking online certification courses, those that were required for my field and some free ones. I also completed some courses through Lynda.com. In the end, I accumulated close to 18 certifications in my field (digital marketing) while I was still in India.

Lastly, I started my own marketing blog. I was always passionate about marketing-related content, design, and its practical applications. The knowledge gained through online courses gave me the confidence to start blogging. I always listed the blog on my resume so that recruiters and potential employers could go online and see what I already know about the subject.

NF : When did you land and how was your job search experience after landing?

KS : I arrived in Canada in April 2018. I immigrated in the hope of finding a better standard of living and better life. Since all the latest developments in marketing and technology begin in North America, I wanted to find good (professional) opportunities in my domain. Once I began my job search, I received 2 offers within 25 days – both were from leading financial institutions in Canada, one of them being BMO. Although it looks like I got a job in 25 days, this was a result of almost a year worth of preparation and research.

NF : Which sites did you take advantage of for certifications?

KS : Though I used Lynda, the certificates given by them are only course completion certificates, not assessment certificates. I learned from the material provided on Lynda but took certification exams offered by Google, Microsoft, and Hubspot. If I consider all the courses/certifications that I did, there would be more than 30 but not all of them were relevant – 18 were the ones that were most valuable and showed that I had the required skills in marketing. The certifications helped me prepare myself for the Canadian job market, made me more confident and helped me excel during interviews.   

NF : Which job sites did you refer to during your search phase?

KS : First, LinkedIn was the most critical tool of all — if you’re going to get a job here, it’s difficult to do it without LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile is a good medium to showcase your skills and help you find relevant jobs and I noticed the interviewers visit my profile often.

Second, Indeed provided better insight into the ‘visible’ job market in Canada, especially since most of the job market is ‘hidden’ or unadvertised. It’s a good starting point to gauge the kind of jobs that are available and the requirements for them.

Third, Monster was not as good but there are certain job openings that are only available on Monster. So, it’s good to use all platforms.

Apart from exploring these sites, one of the most effective activities is networking. I received both of my job offers through recruiters who were my contacts on LinkedIn. It’s important to be present where the recruiters and organizations are looking and actively market yourself.

The surprising part was the trust that the employers and people, in general, put in other people while hiring. Even while talking to them, I’ve noticed that they trust a lot.

NF : Can you describe your interview experience?

KS : Five days before flying to Canada, I got a call from a recruitment firm offering a contract position in a financial institution in Canada. There were a couple of screening rounds over the phone and Whatsapp video. In the screening rounds they assessed if I was a good fit for the role, whether I’d worked with their technologies, and if I had any experience which will be applicable to the job.

The in-person interview was scheduled at the company’s office in Toronto but since I wasn’t in Canada at that time, I had to provide a copy of my flight ticket to show definitive proof that I was going to be in the city in 5 days. The interview felt exhausting for me because it took a lot of effort to constantly deliver my best.

They ask you a lot of things in the interview and it’s okay to not know everything, just be honest about it. It’s also good to support your statements with examples from past experience to prove that you can learn and adapt. For the job, organizations often consider your attitude more than your skills – you have to fit into the culture as well as be good at a task. Overall, the interview involved a lot of technical things related to marketing products and some situation-based questions.

NF : How did the recruiters find you?

KS : I was in touch with 8 or 9 recruiters from different agencies. They originally found my resume on Indeed and then reached out to me on LinkedIn — this is why it’s important to keep your contact information updated on your resume.

In my case, I got a connection request from an unknown person on LinkedIn. After accepting it within an hour, I received a message about a suitable position. Once I acknowledge and agreed to move forward, it led to the screening process which converted to an interview and then the job.

NF : What was the most surprising to you about or during the interview process?

KS : The fact that I was a 50% match to the job description. After looking at my resume, anyone would say that my skills are at the most 50% relevant to the job and that I shouldn’t be hired for it. But I was! So, the surprising part was the trust that the employers and people, in general, put in other people while hiring. Even while talking to them, I’ve noticed that they trust a lot. Here, what you say has more value than what’s written on paper. So, this was really surprising in a very pleasant way.

NF : What were some of your key takeaways from your job search experience?

KS : It was three things really:

  • Finding employment after landing could take a while so start searching for jobs and upgrading your skills while you’re still in your home country
  • Be patient and stay calm; don’t get tensed and anxious. It’s best to handle your job search as a 9 to 5 job. Your job search should be your job till you don’t have a job
  • Take breaks, go meet some friends, and relax on weekends. If you’re skilled enough, and if you have a positive attitude, then you’re going to get a job

The conversation with Kapil was very insightful and the top three important learnings are:  

  1. Do research on  the job market (pertaining to your field) on various Canadian job sites prior to moving, and
  2. Identify key skills that will strengthen your prospects of finding employment in Canada and work towards obtaining relevant certifications for them.
  3. Be patient with the interview process and put your best foot forward.

I hope you found this story motivating. In our next blog, I will be interviewing a newcomer who came to Canada to pursue his studies and then settled in with a permanent full-time job.

In the meanwhile, check out our latest webinar on How to write a winning resume and get hired.

About the Author:

Nerissa is a business research and management consulting professional with over a decade of experience working with clients in IT, Telecom, Retail, Banking/Finance, Retail, Pharmaceuticals, and Healthcare across global geographies. In her current role at Arrive, she works as a content specialist leveraging her first-hand experience as a newcomer in Canada to write relevant blogs and assist other immigrants to ease their transition into the Canadian life.