Immigrant professionals success stories

February 28, 2014
Delegates to the fourth annual BC Immigrant Professionals Conference heard directly from those who have successfully established themselves in Canada in their chosen fields. Their common message was that with clear goals, hard work and support from immigrant serving organizations, it is possible to get the job you want in Canada.1 AhsrafAshraf Mohammed, who now works as an adjunct professor at a private university, said he applied for hundreds of jobs before he found the job he wanted on the hidden job market. He’d been told that 80% of the jobs in Canada are found through the hidden job market but he didn’t believe it until his mentor told him about an opportunity that led to an information interview and the position he currently holds.He told more than 400 delegates to the 2014 Conference that he was inspired to continue his job search when he attended the 2013 Conference and was eager to come back and share his positive experience.Abinder Sharma is an electrical engineer who now works as a Construction Manager at BC Hydro. He came to Canada from India in 2010. His advice to delegates was to “never say no to additional qualifications or certifications.” He called Canada “a country of certifications.” Sharma got his Red Seal certification shortly after he came to Canada and while he never applied for a job that required it, it helped him satisfactorily answer the question what do you know about the Canadian system.3 JorgeJorge Lujan, a Sales manager who came to Canada from Mexico in 2010, encouraged the audience to learn from and laugh at your mistakes. He said that he made a lot of mistakes along the way, but they all helped him adapt to his new life in Canada. He told delegates to have fun and “hang in there – you’ll all get there.”Caro4- caroll Ozar, a web designer, talked about the value of having a good mentor. Carol was a software engineer in the Philippines and knew when she came to Canada that she wanted to become a web developer, but she didn’t know where to start. Through Workplace Connections and Skills Connect at MOSAIC, she learned how to do an effective job search. As part of that, she volunteered, attended workshops, went to meet-offs. She said she came to understand that she had to “network because that is Canada.” Carol attended a web design course at BCIT and was matched with a mentor from the DARE advertising agency. Through the mentor, she learned about an internship at DARE. She got the internship and then a full-time job as a web developer at the same company. She encouraged delegates not to lose hope and stay focused on their goals.