Unlocking Opportunities: Navigating the Canadian Job Market with SOPA Services

Meet Vera Yablochkova, who successfully navigated the Canadian job market and secured her dream position as an insurance broker through the support and guidance of SOPA services. She continues to build a successful career while embracing the local community and sharing her knowledge with those around her. From pre-arrival courses to networking events and volunteering opportunities, Vera shares her top tips for new immigrants to Canada. Follow her lead and take advantage of all the resources available to you to achieve your career goals in Canada. Learn from Vera’s experience and start building your path to success today.

I believe that the courses and programs I attended with SOPA such as Workplace Communications, Job Search Strategies and resume reviews have helped me to be on the right track.

Vera Yablochkova

My name is Vera Yablochkova, I am originally from Russia. I speak English, some French and Russian. A month after arriving in Canada, I began my job search, and within five months, I secured a position I was happy with. During this time, I received at least three job offers, but I kept searching until I found the role that felt right for me.

The job I found was in a related domain – customer care and sales – but a certified occupation as an insurance broker. I had never worked in this area in the past. Nevertheless, I embraced the challenge and opportunity. I completed the training and passed the exam with a 92%, which is well above the 75% passing mark. After the exam and internal training, I began working in a bilingual customer support role, serving English and French speakers from Ontario and the Maritime provinces.

Before moving to Canada, I began researching job opportunities and communication practices in the country. My friends also shared positive reviews about SOPA services, so I decided to sign up with their program. Once registered, I attended several online courses: Job Search Strategies Express (JSSX), Soft Skills courses: Social Interactions and Working with Others, and Canadian Workplace Integration (CWI).

I discovered that taking the Soft Skills: Social Interactions course with Cynthia Wang and the Job Search Strategies Express (JSSX) class with Albina Ziatdinova was incredibly beneficial. Additionally, the employment counselling sessions with Aleksandra Niedzwiecka, along with the warm welcome and guidance from Anika Sweet, made a significant impact on my journey.

Regarding the courses I took, I loved the JSSX course structure and the way each topic unfolded. I found the unit on the hidden job market and the suggested ways to access it very useful. I also appreciated how I was able to review and update my resume and build up a cover letter and a 30-second professional summary for networking purposes.

The CWI course is structured very clearly with so much useful information in every part of it. I was surprised to learn that in Canada there is a low distance between a supervisor and an employee. I loved the part regarding cultural intelligence, adapting, but not assimilating. The three “C” rules especially the consensus part were very valuable.

Through pre-arrival services, I had my resume reviewed and learned about the significance of networking and effective workplace communication. These steps provided me with valuable insights into Canadian culture and the job market. I also worked hard to refine my LinkedIn profile, which is crucial for a successful job search.

Upon arrival, I connected with local immigrant settlement organizations such as MAGMA and CAFI for francophone immigrants. My mentor was French-speaking. I also visited numerous job fairs and two networking events. The networking events were awesome! I expanded my LinkedIn network by connecting with over 100 people through networking efforts. I was actively using LinkedIn which ultimately helped me to secure my current job.

I think career planning and job search strategies, networking, a good resume, interviews, and LinkedIn all play effective roles in getting a job in Canada.  

In addition, social involvement is also important.  I have started volunteering at a local project to help the homeless and those in need in the community.

A few tips that I consider important for new immigrants to Canada are:

  • try to finish all the SOPA pre-arrival courses well in advance
  • work through your LinkedIn profile
  • check relevant jobs via LinkedIn and try to make as many connections as possible
  • check recruiting agencies in the area where you plan to live and contact them with your updated resume
  • attend all available job fairs: online and in-person
  • select 5-10 desired employees and follow them on LinkedIn. They might have online job events – register and attend
  • connect with local settlement organizations, I would also mention that some of them provide welcoming services such as airport pick-ups, and orientation programs including language courses and counselling
  • improve your English/French languages (unless native) – as of NOW       

I’d gladly recommend SOPA to my friends and anyone considering immigrating to Canada. If you’re on a similar journey, this is a resource you don’t want to miss!”      

Story prepared by Cynthia Wang, Atlantic Facilitator, Job Search Strategies & Cultural Communications

Approved to immigrate to Canada? Join SOPA!

Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA) is an Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) funded program that delivers free pre-arrival services for job readiness, success and retention.


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