Sagar Shah, a marketing professional with more than a decade of experience in India, moved to Canada in January 2019. He joined TRIEC Mentoring Partnership after hearing about the program and on the recommendation of his coach at ACCES Employment. He is now working as a marketing project manager.
Let’s start our interview by hearing more about your professional background.
I’m a marketing professional with 10+ years of experience in financial services, real estate, automotive, and consumer packaged goods. I work on targeted integrated marketing strategies for acquiring new customers, building brand excitement and increasing sales.
When and how did you become involved in TRIEC Mentoring Partnership as a mentee? Which agency did you work with?
I first heard about TRIEC Mentoring Partnership through a friend who had moved to Canada before me last year. He found a great mentor through this program who supported him throughout his job search.
When I landed here in January 2019, one of the first things I did was to visit ACCES Employment to sign up for this program. My coach at ACCES was extremely helpful. She looked at my profile and told me that I’ll be a good fit for the program. I attended the information session and within three weeks of registration, I was matched with a mentor.
What kind of challenges did you face when looking for a job as a newcomer?
As a newcomer, you realize that the job search strategies that worked in your home country may not lead to the same results in another country. I had heard that networking is one of the top ways to find a job in Canada, but only after coming here I discovered how important it is to network and learn the art of networking.
The other key challenge was to get a response from recruiters and hiring managers. Initially, I applied to tons of jobs but did not get any traction. It kept me guessing, was something wrong with my resume? Or was it lack of ‘Canadian experience’? I reached out to a few recruiters and marketing professionals for their feedback on my resume, and I signed up with LatAm Startups as a marketing associate to gain local experience.
How did mentoring help you with finding your first job in Canada?
I had a great mentor. She was invested in my success from day one and was committed to helping me in every possible way to secure my first job in the Canadian market. In our first meeting, we identified the areas where we would work together – resume, cover letter, interview preparation, and networking. We met regularly for the next two months to track progress and share updates.
My mentor gave her feedback on my resume and cover letter, which helped me gain more visibility among potential employers. She also introduced me to senior marketing professionals from her organization to have coffee chats and practice mock interviews.
A job search can be stressful. In times like these, if you have someone who backs you up and has faith in you, it can give you the strength to keep going. That’s what my mentor did for me and I’m truly grateful to her for this.
Can you give an example of how you’ve put your learning from the program into practice?
One of the key learnings from this program was that networking is not just about a one-time coffee chat but more about building and nurturing relationships – by staying in touch and giving back. Now, whenever I meet someone for networking, I’m not looking at it as a one-time meeting but a longer-term commitment.
What advice would you give to a new mentee about how to make the most of the mentoring relationship?
Be open and honest about yourself, develop clear goals and expectations with the mentor in the initial meeting. Don’t go with the expectation that the mentor will give you a job – instead, focus on developing a long-term relationship that can help you in your career in the longer run. And don’t forget that they have your best interest in mind!
Any last words?
This is a great program for a newcomer, and can help in your job search in more ways than one. I’d recommend every newcomer to join this program.
I’m happy to pay it forward myself too. If you are seeking any support in your job search, feel free to reach out to me through Linkedin.
Interested in changing the lives of immigrant professionals like Sagar? Apply to become a mentor now: http://www.mentoringpartnership.ca/join-us/become-a-mentor/