Careers: Same Goal, Different Paths

By Jingling Wang

Jingling Wang is an employment consultant candidate studying Career and Work Counsellor Program at George Brown College

Two years ago, my husband and I came to Toronto as new immigrants. We had quit our jobs, sold our home and left our homeland. As foreign-trained professionals, we started our career hunting in two different ways. My husband wanted to continue his engineering career and I sought a career change. After two years of hard marching, we were each able to get on our way.

Here are some experiences that I want to share with new immigrants.

Do your research

Take your past work experiences and match them with the Canadian job market. By doing this you will be able to assess your skills, abilities and the job market needs of Canada. Many times you may not be able to find the perfect match but you will find something close to your past work experience. Sometimes you may need to reassess and change your career. You still need to research and find something you want to do or enjoy doing.

Set realistic goals

These include career goals and creating a timetable. After my husband did market research, he selected one of the following two options: The first option was to be a draft person or designer, the second was to become a mechanic. When he assessed his skills and qualifications, he chose to be a mechanic. It took him one year to complete the entire process and get a job as a mechanic. I wanted to change my career when I decided to immigrate. I went to career exploration programs and took many interesting tests. And then I explored several career options that appealed to me by volunteering in these different areas as well as taking university courses part time to explore some of these careers. It took me two years to figure out the career that I would really enjoy. Give yourself enough time to make right decision.

Get as much help as possible

There are lots of resource centres and agencies where you can find almost all the information you require. The counsellors who work in these organizations love to help you with more than just revising your résumé. But even when there is so much help available, in the end, you need to make the major decisions on your own.

Four efficient ways to find an entry-level job

  • Target small companies, Research the companies, prepare yourself and contact the companies in person by cold calling and/or face-to-face.
  • Post your résumés on targeted websites
  • Different websites target different fields. Make sure your résumé is posted on the right web sites. A lot of recruiting agencies can connect you with employers if your skills match their needs.
  • Networking. Networking is a very efficient way for everyone to find a job.
  • Co-op and/or Volunteer

Many agencies offer co-op programs. Research this information and then match your background with one of these programs. You can at least get Canadian experience even if you cannot obtain a job immediately. Canadian experience helps one get a job more easily.

Self-confidence

The same confidence that brought you to Canada is needed right now. It can be difficult when you consider language barriers, different cultures and the Canadian labour market. This could create self-doubt. Your attitude is important. You must remain positive as potential employers can see this in interviews. You must believe in yourself.

Keep improving your English language skills

Try to find every opportunity to practice your English language skills. The more efficient your communication skills become, the easier it will be to obtain employment and get on your way to a smoother life. Exposed in a new environment, you will go back and forth between hope and tears. You may feel discouraged and want to stop a short while. You may feel you cannot stand it any longer. All these feelings are understandable and normal. We need to give ourselves time to adjust, to refocus and then continue with what needs to be accomplished. Remember to feel hopeful, as we know the clouds are clearing and the sunshine is coming.

CNM