The event took place at the main office of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) and provided our program participants with an opportunity to meet SOPA staff, network with each other, and share their settlement experience, job search challenges, as well as their success stories, in a friendly setting.
A couple of our clients who had been in Canada for more than a year were glad to share their experiences and successes to encourage and inspire the newcomers – some of whom had only arrived a couple of days before the Social Café. Some of these newcomers got job referrals on the spot!
All the attendees thanked the SOPA team for the wonderful work being done to help immigrant professionals arrive in Canada prepared.
The lively conversations that took place emphasized the importance of networking and mentorship to job search success. Other participants stressed the need to develop and maintain a determined and positive attitude in the face of challenges.
The highlight of the event was the success story shared by SOPA Alberta client Rachel Odibeli, a professional from Nigeria who arrived in Canada in March 2018. After applying unsuccessfully for jobs online for several months, she took the proactive step of visiting retail outlets directly to ask for a job so she could gain Canadian work experience.
Tendering her Canadian-style resume and utilizing her interview skills, she landed her first position! She then advanced through various roles and became an asset wherever she worked.
Riding on the experience she had garnered, Rachel developed the confidence to pursue better opportunities related to her field and, employing the same determined approach of knocking on employers’ doors, she eventually landed herself a role in banking. Rachel’s story encouraged other clients to take the initiative and view the challenges they were facing in their job search not as obstacles, but as stepping stones to desired employment outcomes.