My name is Rohit Dandona and I’m originally from India. I moved to Toronto, Canada in March 2019 with my family. I have over 11 years of experience in international trade with expertise in trade finance, commercial lending structures, shipping, logistics, and foreign exchange management. Back in India, I have worked with organizations such as Maersk, Yes Bank, Kotak Mahindra, Standard Chartered, and HDFC. I graduated in Marketing, have an MBA in finance, and also completed a management development program in leadership and team Management from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta.

This is my story.

My journey to settling in Canada began much before I actually landed here. Like most other newcomers, I wanted to move to Canada for a better work-life balance, access to better facilities, and to provide a better future for my child. Finding a job was a top priority for me and for that, I was committed to the idea of building my professional network on sites such as LinkedIn. To accelerate my job search, I reached out to relevant individuals from my domain who had successfully established themselves in Canada — their insights were integral in helping me decide on the next steps.   

I soon learned that the Canadian Security Course offered by the Canadian Security Institute was a stepping stone towards finding a job in the banking industry.  I completed the preliminary certification while I was still in India. Since trade finance is a very niche area of work, there are not many jobs posted online. Having a certification that is recognized by the banking industry in Canada gave me the confidence and hope to find a job in my desired field.   

For my initial days in Canada, I decided to book my temporary stay in downtown Toronto as most of the leading financial institutions are located in and around downtown. Living in the heart of the city also made it easier for me to meet people for coffee chats and informational interviews. I also attended a few networking events such as the one organized by RBC. I prepared a list of people (from my contacts on LinkedIn and Facebook) that I wanted to meet and reached out to them; these were individuals from a similar industry as mine. Overall, the response was encouraging, and I found the people I met to be practical and supportive.

It’s still early days for me in Canada and everything feels very new. Given that I will be settling here and making Canada my home, I am prepared to discount the initial struggles of the first 3-6 months in exchange for the long-term benefit the country has to offer. Networking and support from various settlement agencies and organizations like Arrive have helped me stay optimistic and motivated.

My advice to fellow newcomers is to:

Start early.  Build your professional network and have as many informational interviews as possible; it helps with understanding the work culture, setting realistic expectations for your job search, and most importantly — accessing the hidden job market.

Enrol with at least a couple of settlement agencies. They help you with refining your communication, resume, and overall grooming for the job market in Canada. Most of the sessions are held online so it’s easier to attend.

Get a library card. A membership to the local library offers many benefits such as free printouts and informative sessions for newcomers. All you need is an ID and an address proof!

Meet with communities of people from your home country. They will help you acclimatize to the local culture and provide moral support as you start your life far away from home.

Find an employment counsellor registered with Employment Ontario. They assist with customizing your resume and provide sessions to improve your skills.

Get vaccination details for kids from a doctor back home. Bring official documents that clearly state the vaccinations your child has already had. Vaccination/immunization records are essential for school admissions.

Starting life in a new country is difficult, especially when you’re far away from friends and family. However, it’s important to stay positive, have faith, and prepare well. Small wins like call-backs from recruiters will give you the momentum to keep going and ultimately land the job of your choice!