My name is Jean Koshy and I arrived in Canada in July 2017. I am a marketing and branding specialist with more than a decade of experience. I have an MBA in Marketing and Communications and in the past, I’ve worked with Commercial Bank in Qatar. Currently, I am employed with United Way Greater Toronto as a Marketing Strategy Manager.

This is my story.

My family and I did our soft landing in Toronto in April 2016, undecided on the timeframe for our permanent move. We were so impressed with the hospitality and kindness in Canada that we decided to move here for good in 2017.

Moving to a new country is challenging and hence, to ensure our success, we researched a lot. While researching, we realized that information pertaining to schools, accommodation, banking etc. was scattered on the internet. In that scenario, we relied on advice from friends who’d already settled in Canada. Our temporary accommodation at the Airbnb was strategically located with easy access to the TTC Subway, shopping malls, restaurants, the public library, and GO Transit. Eventually, we found our permanent accommodation at the same location.

Organizations like ACCES Employment helped us adapt to the Canadian job market with our resume and interview preparation. It took a while to find the right opportunity but staying optimistic helped us through the wait. 

I spent years in banking but was really keen on joining a non-profit. Networking opened doors to the Toronto Foundation, which led me to UNICEF, and eventually, CharityVillage — a Canadian organization that’s focused on jobs in the non-profit sector. I received my first job offer from World Vision Canada in September 2017, almost three months after landing in Toronto! 

My job at World Vision involved frequent travel which wasn’t favourable for my family life so a year later, I turned to CharityVillage once more and found an opportunity with Plan International Canada. It was a short, six-month contractual job after which I landed my current role at United Way Greater Toronto!

Based on my experience, my advice to fellow newcomers is: 

  • Meet people and build not only your professional network but also your personal support group and social circle. 
  • Get a library card as libraries offer different kinds of programs for newcomers.
  • Organizations hire at specific times in the year. For instance, summer is not a very popular time for most companies to hire as people are out on vacation. So depending on when you arrive in Canada, your job search process could take longer. 
  • The recruitment process moves slower than what you would have experienced in countries like India or in the Middle East. The process is long and has different levels because employers prefer to get to know the candidate better. Therefore, be patient! 
  • Adapt your resume to the Canadian format; a short and crisp one or two-pager is preferred.
  • Be aware of what your job role entails; it might not be the same as your home country. For instance, back in Qatar or India, marketing includes branding and media planning and it’s just one person doing the job. But here in Canada, they are two different roles.
  • Networking is key! Connect with professionals in your field to find more opportunities.

Lastly, I’d like to say, just be patient, enjoy the city and the right opportunity will come your way!