Armed with a master’s degree and five years of work experience in the United States, Vishnu Orathpathangi arrived eager to kick start his IT career in Canada. He was matched with first-time mentor, Daria Tippin, who then held the position of IT Program Control Officer with CGI. As the daughter of immigrant parents, Daria was inspired to mentor a newcomer.

Perfecting the elevator pitch

Daria gave Vishnu his first assignment early on: Develop and give her a presentation on his expertise as a SAP consultant. Through this exercise Daria was able to identify opportunities for Vishnu to polish his presentation skills. Most importantly, Vishnu developed a strong “elevator pitch” – integral to making a good first impression with employers.

Making resumes relevant

In addition to improving his presentation skills, Daria helped Vishnu present himself more effectively on paper. Vishnu had a five-page resume to match his five years of work experience, but Canadian employers typically want to see a concise, two-page roll up of a candidate’s experience. Daria helped Vishnu zero in on the essential elements using job descriptions of the roles Vishnu was keen to land. By comparing the listed responsibilities, skills and experience, Vishnu included only what was most relevant from his resume.

Being proactive with mentor advice

Daria was thorough in the feedback she shared on job search tips and tools, including advice to seek out local networks of IT professionals. Vishnu pursued all opportunities that were available, resulting in: a polished resume, a concise elevator pitch and interviewing key messages, and seized networking opportunities. Daria was also able to secure a mock interview with CGI’s Corporate Director of SAP.

Finding ways to reinforce that mentees’ experiences and qualifications are valuable

Validation of a mentee’s experience from a Canadian professional goes a long way in inspiring a newcomer. While developing Vishnu’s job search skills, Daria also worked on rebuilding Vishnu’s confidence by exploring the book, “Who moved my cheese?” by Spencer Johnson. The book uses humour to motivate the reader to overcome obstacles to achieve their goals – whatever they may be. The new perspective helped Vishnu stay positive despite his early job search frustrations.

Work pays off in mock interview

Daria also scheduled a mock interview with CGI’s Corporate Director of SAP. Vishnu was in the right place at the right time. The Director was looking to fill a position that matched Vishnu’s qualifications. He is now starting as an SAP Consultant with CGI.

More on the mentee and mentor

Vishnu Orathpathangi: SAP Consultant, CGI

Vishnu was resourceful: While applying for jobs, he sought job search support from JobStart and also learned about The Mentoring Partnership. Simultaneously, Vishnu also applied for Career Bridge and landed a two-month internship with Canadian Manufacturer and Exporters.

Daria Tippin: Deployment & Environment Manager, CGI @ Bell

CGI is a corporate partner of The Mentoring Partnership and encourages its staff to mentor a skilled immigrant. Daria found her first mentoring experience very fulfilling, and to be much easier than expected. She has since signed on to mentor again.

Vishnu and Daria were matched by JobStart.