This blog has been posted on Meduim.

A couple of years ago, I decided to file an application to immigrate to Canada, because I had been here a few years back as an exchange student and my sister urged me to move closer to her. I never actually expected the application to be successful, so I did not make many detailed plans about living here. My thought process was more along the lines of ‘hey I am eligible to apply’ and ‘what’s the worst that can happen if I do’. It would just have the added benefit of getting my sister to stop persistently talking about the topic.

Throughout the long winded process, I just concentrated on the specific details of what I needed to fulfill for the next step, and then forgot about the whole immigration thing for months on end till the next letter from immigration authority, then on to the next step. That is how I found myself in Toronto in June 2018, with no idea of what I was going to do here and way too many options overwhelming me.

Before arriving in Toronto, I was a bit overconfident that I would be able to find my feet in any new country pretty easily. I had previously completed my Bachelors of Science Degree in Economics and Business Administration from Aalto University in Finland, without having too much difficulty in adjusting to an entirely foreign, much colder country. I was also able to move back to Bangladesh with that degree and easily get a fast track management trainee job in a leading commercial bank there as well. As the recruitment process was essentially a series of exams and that system was very similar to how I was evaluated in university, I excelled. So I just assumed that the job application process would be similar for entry level jobs here, and I was willing to start again from scratch.

What I did not expect was the fact that while my degree from Finland was an advantage in the Bangladeshi job market, it was a major disadvantage in the Canadian market even with WES evaluation. So I was finding it very difficult to even get an interview after applying via the usual gamut of job posting sites and I could not be sure if it was maybe because my resume was not the correct format, or if it was due to my foreign degree and work experience or if was another factor entirely.

There were too many factors to consider and I had difficulty narrowing down what it was that was preventing me. I thought maybe getting generic Canadian work experience would make it easier for me to find a job in my field of digital marketing later on.

I was able to join a contact centre, as a customer retention specialist for an American telecommunications provider within a month of arriving in Toronto. It was supposed to be a temporary job, while I found one more related to my work experience or education.

However the job was very mentally draining for me, as the customers often went from rude to downright abusive on the phone while I was trying to do my job, so I found myself not having the energy to even look at job postings after I came home.

One of my friends at this point referred me to Hatchways, as he was impressed by the help they provided for him, to get ready for interviews and such. I was also interested in breaking into the tech industry here, as my specialization of digital marketing should be more relevant to tech companies whose products are also fully digital.

I liked the extensive feedback that was provided from the time I submitted my online assessment, to the helpful interview prep sessions especially for the behavioural interview questions. The most important feature for me was the fact that potential employers got to talk to the interviewees and look at their assessments for work situations, before they saw the resumes. So it took away a lot of my anxiety regarding the “correct” resume format away from the process.

While I was not successful on my first round of interviews with Hatchways’ clients, I was still able to learn a lot from that process and on the second round, was able to get a position as a market research intern in a really exciting company, due to the great support, feedback and encouragement from the Hatchways team.

I plan to use this opportunity to learn more about the tech industry in Toronto, gain more digital marketing experience and this time properly plan out my next career steps.