Keshav Kumar – from India to bustling Toronto

My name is Keshav Kumar and I flew from India to the bustling city of Toronto in the latter part of January 2018 (apparently the coldest month of the year) to become a permanent resident of Canada. When I first got off at Toronto Pearson International Airport, I was both excited and nervous.

I was excited because I was going to be part of a well-developed and culturally-diverse country that was home to people from all across the globe, treated everyone equally irrespective of religion, color, wealth, caste and what not, cared for all of its inhabitants well and had a stable-cum-thriving economy. With that said, I was nervous thinking about how well I would do professionally in a country I knew almost nothing about.

Having spent the first week of my stay in Canada coping with fever and body ache due to the terrible cold weather, I gathered my confidence by looking at all the preparations I had done prior to my arrival. Whether it was gaining appropriate work experience as a skilled worker in the targeted occupation (Marketing Specialist) or proving my excellence at English language by scoring 8.5 out of 9 band in IELTS examination or having my MBA degree duly assessed by World Education Services (WES). I also worked at arranging for sufficient funds to survive in a foreign land or networking with Canadian professionals with the help of a number of employment and settlement agencies or adding industry/country-specific knowledge to my resume through a wide range of online courses offered by the aforementioned agencies. I did it all with a positive and never-give-up attitude. So, it was time for me to put everything together in a concerted manner and channel my efforts toward finding a job in the field of marketing or a job that could lead me to a role in marketing.

In the second and third week, I applied for ten jobs in a very targeted manner. I went through the job descriptions carefully, picked up relevant keywords, and included those into my resume as well as cover letter before submitting the applications through online job portals. Of the ten jobs I applied for, I was referred to three organizations by three professional contacts. The amazing point to note here is that I did not know any of these contacts personally. These contacts were developed during various interactions with government-funded organizations offering pre-arrival services to new immigrants of Canada. In the fourth week, I managed to convert two interviews into two separate job offers from two well-known Canadian banks and I ended up joining one of the two institutions, RBC Royal Bank of Canada, from the last week of February 2018. In short, I was able to land a job within a month of landing in Canada.

I would like to thank the following institutions for helping me find employment in Canada in different ways:

Planning for Canada : 2-day orientation session conducted by Planning for Canada was immensely helpful as it helped me connect to a number of soon-to-land immigrants and a number of government-funded employment and settlement agencies in Canada.

JVS Toronto – Lucy working with JVS Toronto employment agency is a gem of a person. She took time out of her busy schedule and spent considerable amount of time online discussing how my resume and cover letter could be made better. With her feedback and support, I was able to craft a resume and a cover letter to suit the taste and needs of Canadian employers.

Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA) – While Andreea at SOPA helped with settlement-related issues, Albina prepared me for the job market by offering some extremely useful online self-paced courses, such as ‘Working in Canada’, ‘Soft Skills: Professional Communication’, ‘Canadian Workplace Integration’. By completing these courses, one gets acquainted with Canadian work norms ranging from ‘holding small talk’ to ‘giving presentations’ to ‘offering constructive feedback’ to ‘respecting other cultures’ to ‘signing employment contract and abiding by it’. I believe that these courses helped me integrate into Canadian work culture well and retain my very first job at a reputed Canadian bank.

Although my first job has nothing to do with marketing, it has given me an opportunity to work with a brand name in the financial industry, i.e. RBC Royal Bank of Canada. While working as a Banking Advisor, I have, so far, volunteered in the capacity of a live-blogger at two RBC events that have exposed me to a number of professionals working in the marketing department of RBC. So, I hope that the organisation would let me move to the department where my skills would be better utilized.

In addition, I am presently volunteering at JVS Toronto as a mentor in an attempt to help newcomers (with background in finance and banking) integrate better into Canadian workforce. Not only has this role satisfied my willingness to give something back to the society, but also it has helped me brush up my ability to coach and lead people. I am thankful to Marlina at JVS Toronto for offering me this opportunity for self-development.

In the end, I would advise the newcomers to:

  • Feel proud of the past achievements and be confident about their ability to solve any problem (remember you have conquered many battles in the past and you can do it now as well);
  • Network with institutions offering pre-arrival services and other Canadian working professionals;
  • Consult JVS Toronto for drafting resume and cover letter in Canadian style;
  • Take online courses on ‘Working in Canada’, ‘Soft Skills: Professional Communication’, ‘Canadian Workplace Integration’ at Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA); and
  • Tailor every resume and cover letter to the job description in question before submitting your application.