My name is Sandeep Kaher and I’m from New Delhi, India. I landed in Canada with my wife in August 2015 for studies at the University of British Columbia (UBC). I’m a graduate in biomedical engineering and have completed an executive course in sales and marketing from the Indian Institute of Management Studies, Calcutta (IIM-C). Back in India, I worked with GE Healthcare for approximately 6 years in a sales role. I was fortunate enough to find employment again with GE Healthcare in Toronto, Canada, where I currently work as an Account Manager.

This is my story.

My Canadian dream began with the thought of doing an international MBA. I applied to Rotman School of Management and UBC and got through both; I chose UBC because it offered a scholarship.

During my MBA, I actively networked with industry professionals to learn more about potential roles I could take on after graduating, as well as to find out more about the healthcare industry in Canada. Networking helped me enhance my industry knowledge, build my personal brand, and effectively contribute to coffee chats.

Since most of the headquarters of the organizations where I desired to work were in Ontario, I briefly visited Toronto in the summer of 2016 for networking. I met people from IBM, GE, Loblaws, and a few other companies to gain an understanding about the work environment and employers’ expectations in Toronto. This was when I met with one of my seniors from UBC. There were no immediate results from those meetings but after I went back to Vancouver in October 2016, the senior I’d met for a coffee chat reached out to me asking if I was still looking for a job. I responded in the affirmative and she connected me with her manager at GE Healthcare. After an initial telephonic interview, they asked if I could visit their office in Toronto for the following rounds of interview.

I finished my masters program in the second week of December and flew to Toronto the very next day. The day after, I had 5 rounds of interview and finally ended up with the job offer! Networking and a positive referral from my senior (now, friend and colleague) led me to this job.

In my quest to finding employment in Canada, here’s what I learned along the way:

  1. One page resumes are very popular, and Canadians use LinkedIn a lot. Hence, devote considerable effort to ‘marry’ your LinkedIn profile and resume.
  2. Reaching out to people on LinkedIn and asking them for coffee chats is the norm. Most people are open to conversations and learning more about your background. They are also mindful of different ethnicities. Provide a brief introduction about yourself when you send a connection request and remember to respect their time!
  3. Embrace the Canadian culture and educate yourself on the three popular topics that serve as icebreakers and conversation starters — sports, weather, and food. If you’re meeting someone for half an hour, talk about your job for only 10 minutes!
  4. You have to be open to feedback during networking and coffee chats. Don’t expect people to only praise you or your skills.
  5. To get a job, you have to be a good fit rather than just a good candidate. If you’re a good fit for the role, then organizations are usually willing to train you and give you more time to adapt to the role. This is why companies have multiple rounds of interviews with many stakeholders involved. This is why the hiring process takes longer.

Today, I can confidently say that my wife and I are living our Canadian dream—and a very happy one at that! We are working in jobs that resonate with our respective careers, we feel safe and secure in a peace-loving country, and now we’re finally putting down roots by buying a house that we can hopefully make our home!