Toronto Sun
November 7, 2008


Instead of complaining, a skilled immigrant needs to understand finding a job here is like playing a game. To succeed, one needs to understand how the game is played and its rules.

The way to do that is by forming networks, getting to know from others how the game is played. The advice for a skilled immigrant is to have patience since learning the game and its rules could take two to three years.

Alan Rego, 51, is a marketing executive by training. An Indian by birth, he has B.Com and law degrees from Bombay University and diplomas in mass communications and business management. He was in Singapore in 2002 working as general manager (external affairs) with DuPont, managing the company’s business in eight Asian countries.

Why should such a successful professional give up all to come to Canada? “I wanted to give my two daughters — now 18 and 23 — the opportunities they were seeking for their growth and development,” he said. “They wanted to study here. As a parent, we have to give our children the platform they are seeking, same way as my parents gave me an opportunity to go out of my native place.”

Six years in Canada, Rego is not driving a cab or working at a gas station. He’s now the external relations manager at Procter & Gamble, promoting six products outside Canada, representing $700-million in annual revenue. Not a small achievement.

He applauds the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council that helped him find an internship, a career bridge building program for eight months at P&G, which later offered him a full-time job.

Rego was among 500 skilled immigrants, most of them job seekers, who attended TRIEC’s sponsored one-day workshop “The Power of Networking” Nov. 1 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre — with Mike Lipkin as the motivational speaker.

But Rego was not looking for another job. He was there to learn from Lipkin on how to mentor other skilled immigrants. “After I found the job, I am trying to help others. I co-founded a group called CAMP — Communications Advertising and Marketing Professionals ( with 300 members and during over three years we have found jobs for about 25 skilled immigrants.”

They are all volunteers and they don’t receive funding from any source but TRIEC has started giving Rego and his group some support in getting organized.

“The important thing for skilled immigrants is to learn how the game is played,” Rego says, recalling his experience in Toronto’s job market. “The hiring managers here are very risk averse and they would like to try a new person in much smaller roles. So, one has to be prepared to accept a junior role and from there build his/her capacity, build the confidence and trust, and the track record. That’s how the managers will see you have a higher level of skills and they will be willing to offer you a better opportunity.”

At the TRIEC’s workshop, Mike Lipkin suggested repeatedly: “Have some kind of discipline. Make 10 telephone calls each day, every day, without fail. When you sit for an interview, think of three things: confidence, enthusiasm and nurturing. You will finally succeed.”

Vipul Dobhal, 52, was senior manager first in India and later for 13 years with the National Bank in Dubai. “I sent my family here first and my wife, who was also a banker in Dubai, found a job with RBC Financial.”

Followed Wife

He followed earlier this year. In Dubai, Dobhal had heard stories about the tight job market in Canada. “Most people were discouraging. So, I knew the difficulties in the Canadian job market.”

Dobhal has mailed his resumes to several banks and financial institutions but he hasn’t been called for a single interview as yet. He is, however, hopeful of getting a job soon. “I will definitely get a job. The remuneration may be different than what I was getting in Dubai as senior bank manager.”

He has attended networking conferences before but none the size of TRIEC. “I am happy. I am not alone looking for work. There are these several hundred professionals from different backgrounds. They, too, are striving for work.”

Both Rego and Dobhal have no disappointments having opted to come to Canada. One, having gone through the job search experience, is now happy mentoring others. Dobhal is confident of finding work as a banker. He realizes it takes time.

Reference: Toronto Sun