As soon as my family submitted our Canadian Permanent Residency application, we became somewhat nervous and anxious at the thought of moving to a new country. Before the approval of our application, we were already on the look-out for pre-arrival settlement programs. The morning our application was approved, we went straight to the SOPA website to register for their pre-arrival program. My spouse and I enrolled in SOPA months before our travel date to be well prepared for a new immigration journey. We had several questions in our mind and the number one question was about jobs in our fields. I am a PhD holder in Plant Biotechnology & Physiology with over 3 years of experience. My information session with Kendra, Intake Counsellor in Saskatchewan, was eye opening. She gave an overview of what to expect when I land in Canada and a brief introduction of courses offered in SOPA. I opted for the Job Search Strategies course facilitated by Lisa.
The 6 weeks Job Search Strategies course was an intensive and comprehensive training. I had to dedicate at least couple of hours to the course daily but it was really worth the commitment. After a few weeks into the program, I already had my Canadian-style resume and even prepared targeted resumes for jobs in my field. The tasks and assignments given during the course required extra hours. The course highlighted the expectations of Canadian employers, talked about job interview preparations and how to market myself when the opportunity arose, it simulated what happens in reality. At the end of the course, I felt relieved and more prepared for the Canadian job market.
A few weeks before we travelled, we changed our destination from Saskatchewan to Alberta. SOPA staff was very helpful when transferring me to the Intake Counselor and Employment Specialist in Alberta. Therefore, I was able to ask province-specific questions and I found them really helpful when we landed in Edmonton. I am very glad we received services from SOPA. With the knowledge gained during the course regarding cold emails, informational interviews and volunteering, I calmed down my anxieties. A few months after landing, I found a job in my field as a Research Assistant at the University of Alberta.
I want to use this opportunity to thank my Intake Counsellors (Kendra and Bamidele) and Employment Facilitators (Lisa and Aneta) for being supportive along the way. I think that more immigrants should seize this opportunity and enroll with SOPA in preparation for their immigration journey. Thank you.
Olayinka Oyedeji, PhD