I consider myself one of those privileged few newcomers who managed to secure a job in Canada even before moving here. An awesome fact about my story was that I found a job as a content lead/newcomer specialist with Arrive — an RBC Venture that’s dedicated to helping newcomers. I have been working with Arrive since August 2018 and my job search story is nothing less than a ‘fairytale’ to most newcomers. I feel fortunate to have found an employer who went above and beyond to accommodate my situation, recognized my skills, made me feel welcomed as a newcomer, and eased the transition for me as I made Canada my home.
Snowflakes, rainbows, and cherry blossoms…
Today, it has been a year since I officially landed in Canada and yet, it still feels like yesterday. I vividly remember the first snowfall I experienced, the sight of a rainbow on the way to my AirBnB from the airport, the beauty of the cherry blossoms at High Park, and how one blog post I wrote in the first few days after landing, opened up doors to opportunities I wouldn’t have dreamt about.
When I landed here in March 2018, I wasn’t looking out for a job because I was still employed with an India-based organization and had a remote-work arrangement for 3 months. I didn’t particularly have a date set in mind for when I would move to Canada permanently which was the main reason why I didn’t explore the job market here.
Given that the standard notice period in North America is 2 weeks, I never thought that any employer would be willing to wait for over 3 months to get me on their team. Turned out I was wrong!
Hailing from a market research background, I spent a lot of time reading messages on various Facebook and Whatsapp immigration groups to learn from first-hand experiences of others. I quickly realized that most people on these forums had similar questions, the answers to which were available but scattered across multiple posts and comments, which was difficult to find.
I write blogs and poetry as a hobby. And so after landing, since I’d been through the whole process myself, I decided to write a blog on my landing experience and address all the queries I’d come across — it was mainly with the intention of helping other newcomers. I posted the article online 2 days after I landed and was pleasantly surprised with the result.
The blog went viral on many forums and people who had landed in Toronto around that time were reaching out to me for coffee, lunch, or dinner. Thanks to that post, I made a lot of friends from different nationalities in a city where I barely knew anyone.
Two memorable outcomes from that episode for me were:
- One individual I met then is now one of my best friends in the city and also my emergency contact.
- Another person I met, got me the job opportunity with Arrive!
Tricia Jose and Shikha Bhuchar are the cofounders at Arrive. Tricia was part of a Whatsapp group where my blog was shared. After reading it, she reached out to me for a coffee meeting. I met Tricia one Sunday morning and 10 minutes into the conversation I realized that our chat was heading in the direction of a possible job opportunity for writing content. Needless to say, I was excited about the vision and mission that Arrive was committed to and wanted to be a part of it in some capacity.
Therein lay my dilemma — I had a decade-long experience in the field of business research and consulting and I did like writing/blogging but I was unsure about making the switch and converting my hobby into a full-time job. Additionally, I had no knowledge about writing content professionally for the web or even the process of doing it all. The only thing I was certain about is that I love writing so I knew I would never get bored or lose interest!
Over the course of the next couple of months, I met with Shikha and the Arrive team on two or three occasions. Looking back, those initial interactions are what gave me the courage to take the leap and embrace the shift in my career. I found everyone on the team to be so warm, welcoming, helpful, and friendly that I felt as though I’d found a family that I could call my own in a place so far away from home.
I was asked to complete a couple of written assignments as part of the interview process and received the offer letter from RBC sometime in May 2018. I signed the dotted line literally a day before flying back to India.
Arrive and RBC patiently accepted the 90-day notice period I had with my then employer and even provided the option to start working remotely from India once I was released from my role and responsibilities. That’s how I started working with Arrive in August 2018 and finally moved to Toronto in October 2018 to join the Arrive team in-person.
Change is good!
To sum up my experience of finding a job in Canada, honestly, only one word would suffice — serendipity.
While luck, fate, and destiny may have played their parts in my employment story, a deeper analysis of my situation will prompt you to:
- Think out-of-the-box, explore unconventional channels for job search, and put yourself out there. To not be afraid, do what you love, pursue what makes you happy, and in that process, showcase your skills; you never know which interaction will convert to an opportunity for you.
- Expand your options by listing out your skills and exploring other fields where they might be applicable.
As I end this post, I am reminded of Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg. In her book Lean In, she writes, “careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder” which means it’s about time we stop viewing careers as a single trajectory. There’s no need to stay in one field and try to climb the corporate ladder. You can venture down different paths and explore numerous possibilities on the way to achieving your goals. While this advice was targeted towards women, I find it apt for us, newcomers too.
I wish you all the luck so that you’re able to successfully find a job you love and smoothly transition into Canadian life!