Ghazi Huraira has some advice for new immigrants – come prepared to learn how job hunting works in Canada, and mentoring is an effective way to get ahead of the curve.
Ghazi’s story is a familiar one to many immigrants – after working in the banking industry in Bangladesh for 15 years, he decided to move to Canada to give his daughter greater opportunity for a better future. However, before landing his current position with CIBC, Ghazi faced challenges that can also be all too familiar to skilled newcomers when looking for a job. Ghazi’s experience got him in the door for a few interviews but without “Canadian experience” or an established network, he didn’t have the competitive advantage to secure an offer. That’s when he turned to The Mentoring Partnership.
Ghazi accessed The Mentoring Partnership through ACCES Employment which matched him with his mentor, Kumaran. He explains that his mentor coached him to adapt his approach to the Canadian context, which would have taken much longer to learn without the guidance of an experienced professional in his field. “In Bangladesh, people usually don’t take it positively if you keep knocking at their door, but in Canada it’s not unusual. You can keep reaching out to people to develop a connection. Networking is very important in Canada and you need to put greater emphasis on building your network. Mentoring helped me understand how the culture works.”
Ghazi’s mentor also helped him broaden the scope of his job search. “My mentor encouraged me to think outside of the box about the types of jobs I could apply to with my skills. I think it’s important for newcomers to see this as a new start. It can take time to realize this but a good mentor helps you learn this earlier so you can adjust your strategy effectively.”
Because The Mentoring Partnership facilitates occupation-specific matches, mentors can also share their experiences and valuable insights into the professional standards needed to practice their profession in the GTA or to gain a competitive advantage. Ghazi’s mentor suggested he peruse his IFIC certification which helped him land his job at CIBC as a Financial Services Representative. He now has a clear understanding of where he wants to go in his career in Canada and how to get there.
Most of all Ghazi says, “my mentor’s encouragement to keep on reaching out, keep on knocking, is what kept me going.” One day, he hopes to pay it forward. He also hopes that more Canadian employers will recognize the value of international experience and that mentoring can help us change attitudes. He shares, “there are benefits to mentoring and we need to spread this. If I can help expedite the process of getting established for another newcomer, I want to do so.”