Huda first arrived in Canada on August 4, 2014. At the time, however, she was a full-time university student completing her Pharmacist degree in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), travelling back to Canada to be with her parents during school breaks. In May of 2018, she completed her studies and moved to Canada permanently. She was looking forward to starting a new life and launching her pharmaceutical career in Canada.
During her studies, Huda had gained practical experience both as intern and also as a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative. As a young woman in her 20s with a recent degree and pharmacy experience, she was confident that her former experience would allow her to quickly secure employment in her field in Canada. She applied to numerous online job postings and became discouraged when she wasn’t receiving any responses from employers. To make matters worse, her father was putting a lot of pressure on her to start her pharmacy career. As days passed and her applications went unanswered, her stress levels were increasing and she was losing hope.
At her initial intake meeting with her Career Advisor, Huda was skeptical that the Career Paths program could help her, as she sat with her arms crossed and a scowl on her face. She answered questions tersely and it became obvious to her Career Advisor that there was something else behind the aloof and angry exterior. When the Career Advisor asked, “Aside from your job search, how are you doing?”, Huda’s anger quickly dissipated and she became very emotional.
Through tears, Huda openly expressed her frustration and fear. She didn’t expect it to be so challenging to break into the Canadian labour market. Her father’s words were weighing heavily on her and she felt guilty for being unemployed while her parents struggled financially. She didn’t believe an employer was ever going to hire her without Canadian experience. Huda’s Career Advisor praised her for taking a step in the right direction for her career. By joining the Career Paths program, she would no longer be alone in her journey to employment. Huda left the appointment feeling hopeful and ready to try again.
Over the next few meetings with her Career Advisor, Huda’s confidence increased as she worked to create a strong resume and cover letter. She then learned about the power of networking and how effective it is as a job search strategy. Using only the internet previously, she realized there was a whole world of employers that she was missing out on. Huda wanted a job right away in order to start earning money so that she could lessen the financial burden on her parents. And now she felt ready.
Armed with a positive attitude, Huda started dropping resumes off in person to local retail establishments. She wanted to become familiar with Canadian workplace culture and gain experience in customer service before she approached employers in the pharmacy. She diligently visited each retail business in her area and asked to meet the manager. She met numerous potential employers and, on one of her visits, she was offered a part-time job as a Cashier/Customer Service Representative – her first job in Canada. She called her Career Advisor to share the good news.
After a few months on the job, Huda had settled into her new role and was happy to be earning some money. Because her position was part-time, it allowed her to focus on finding a second position in a pharmacy environment, ideally as a Pharmacy Assistant. She revised her resume to include her newly-earned Canadian experience and set out to connect with potential employers in local pharmacies. Within a month and a half, she secured a job interview at Shopper’s Drug Mart.
Huda’s Career Advisor helped to prepare her for her upcoming job interview by first delivering a one-on-one interview workshop, and teaching her how to effectively answer challenging interview questions. Afterwards, Huda attended a mock interview session with her Advisor where she received additional feedback and guidance to further strengthen her interview skills.
A week after her interview, Huda sent an email to her Career Advisor and happily reported that successfully secured employment in her field:
“Good morning Susan,
First I want to thank you a lot. I just got the Pharmacy Assistant job at Shoppers! Thank you again for all of your help with EVERYTHING. Now, I need to meet the challenge to prove myself in the Canadian work environment. I feel confident to do that now. Thank you,
Huda is now preparing to write her Pharmacist Evaluating Examination to fulfill her dream of becoming a licensed Pharmacist one day. We look forward to hearing about her future successes.
The Career Paths Program is designed to provide advanced level support to skilled newcomers, helping them to find jobs which suit their pre-arrival qualifications and gain Canadian work experience. For more information, please visit mosaicbc.org/careerpaths.