In this guest post, our client Anna Antropova talks about her SOPA experience and her journey as a newcomer engineer in Canada. Anna is an engineering professional from Russia who knew that preparation would make her transition smoother. She found SOPA and knew we would be able to help. She landed in Ontario in February 2019, and with the help of the SOPA Program found a position in her field in just 3 weeks! Read her story below:
It is natural to be nervous and anxious about moving to a new country. For most newcomers, the number one priority is to find a job in their field. I am a Piping Engineer with a Master’s Degree in Petroleum Engineering and 5 years of experience. I moved to Ontario alone, I didn’t have any friends, or family, or anyone to rely on. That’s why I knew that the preparation to start the immigration process was essential and had to be done months and months in advance to decrease the amount of stress and issues to deal with in a new place. That’s when I decided to register for SOPA services for immigrants and I wasn’t disappointed.
The Job Search Strategies course was demanding, which I think is great. I had to dedicate at least 2 hours to it every day. But that’s how progress happens. Most of the tasks involved a lot of preparation and sometimes I would spend hours just going through my background and achievements, structuring everything, but by the end of each exercise I felt more and more confident in my skills and experience and what I have to offer to a potential future employer. This course helped me understand how Canadian employers think and what they are looking for. I learned a lot about the importance of networking, what an informational interview is, and how to deal with tricky job interview questions. With a tailored resume and cover letter, proper job interview preparation and the right attitude I realized that I can “sell myself,” and that’s what the job market is about, especially for immigrants.
When I moved to Canada, I registered for another newcomer service which reinforced the knowledge I already had from SOPA, but maybe a bit more in-depth, since those new sessions were in person, not online. But my resume was ready, my LinkedIn profile was complete, and my sales pitch about myself was well-rehearsed, all thanks to SOPA. When I was contacted by a recruiter on LinkedIn just three weeks after landing, I grabbed the opportunity right away. With the knowledge and suggestions from the SOPA courses, I got my first employment in my field.
I am very glad about this. I know that the Canadian job market is very competitive, especially in the engineering sphere. But if you come prepared, you help this luck to lean more towards your fate.
I want to thank all counsellors and facilitators from SOPA, especially my counsellor Elmira Alim and facilitator Kristy-Lu Desrosiers. They were very supportive and answered all my questions and provided me with a lot of valuable information and advice.
I really hope more and more immigrants enroll in this program. Be patient enough and put work into it, because it does help you get started in the right direction.
I wish SOPA and its students all the best!