My name is Dhruve Khanna and I arrived in Canada in 2008 to study at the University of Toronto. I graduated in 2013 and have been working ever since. I am a business and analytics strategy professional and I currently work at Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC), where I’m building a team to lead CTC’s multi-year Customer Experience (CX) strategy and Net Promoter Score (NPS) mandate.  

This is my story.

My story is a bit different compared to other newcomers. I didn’t invest enough time looking for a job while studying, so I faced some struggles after graduation. I relied heavily on networking—sometimes waking up at 6 am and travelling on the subway for an hour just to grab coffee with people, not knowing if it was going to lead to a job. 

My approach was to lookup relevant professionals on LinkedIn and ask them for coffee chats. The response rate was limited: based on my experience, if you reach out to ten people, two or three will respond, and among them, one or two might agree to meet. It’s important to not get discouraged by these numbers because that’s how networking works. During the meetings, I shared my interests and inquired about the path they took to get to their respective positions. Apart from LinkedIn, I leveraged websites like Meetup and EventBrite for networking events and also asked friends if they could introduce me to their contacts. 

I got my first job offer thanks to networking—a person I met for coffee introduced me to one of his contacts, who was actually not hiring at the time. Nothing came of it right away but two to three months later the same person reached out to me about a new position. I applied and after a few rounds of interviews spanning three weeks, I got my first job! When I interviewed for my second job, the entire process took close to two months and involved four different interview rounds. I’m in my third role now, and this was the quickest — it took approximately ten days from interview to offer. So, the timeline really varies and is highly dependent on how soon the position needs to be filled. Therefore, patience is key! 

Some advice that I’d like to share with other newcomers:

Networking is crucial

Explore various forums to network with professionals — LinkedIn, websites like Meetup and EventBrite, and networking events such as TechTO, FintechTO, SalesTO, RetailTO etc. 

Invest time in finding relevant professionals to meet 

Find people in similar roles and industry as yours — helps you stay focused on asking the right questions and seeking relevant advice. Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and be clear in your introductory messages to new contacts. When you reach out for coffees, introduce yourself, and state your intention for the meeting in a concise message. The more people you meet with, the more comfortable and confident you’ll feel with these interactions. 

Be patient and prepare well for the interview 

Be patient and don’t expect quick turnaround with applications. Inquire about the type of interview (fit/behavioural, technical, case etc.), to better prepare for it. Be presentable, carry a copy of your resume, and have a notepad and pen handy. During the interview, be poised and calm; don’t rush things. If you don’t know something, admit that you don’t know it or that you’re unsure (don’t lie), and ask if you can get back to them on the topic later. Finally, a short thank you note to the interviewer can go a long way. 

Finding a job in a new country can be challenging but with the right approach, mindset, and attitude, you’ll be sure to find something worth pursuing!