3rd Annual Internationally Educated Professionals Conference in Toronto
by Efim Cheinis
“A pessimist sees a difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees an opportunity in every difficulty.” This Winston Churchill saying can be considered the motto of the 3rd Internationally Educated Professionals (IEP) Conference which took place on March 16th, 2005 in Toronto.
The conference was opened by Toronto Mayor David Miller, who congratulated everyone participating in the event. He informed us that 2.5 million of Toronto’s citizens, including himself, were not Canadian-born. Miller said that he understood immigrants’ problems and expressed hope that, with immigrants’ help, Toronto will become the most prosperous city in the world. He called upon immigrants to be confident, never give up and follow rules of effective adaptation, which were announced at the conference. On behalf of the Ontario government, MPP David Zimmer also greeted the visitors. He told everyone about the existing 15 adaptation programs, which were developed to help IEPs get into the Canadian job market. The Government of Ontario has allocated $5.8 million to be spent over the next three years on programs for medical workers (opticians, pharmacists, medical nurses and dieticians), social workers, foresters and university professors. For detailed information about the programs, use the website: ogov.newswire.ca/ontario/GPOE/2005/01/25/c6604.html
Moreover, the Canadian Government has invested $235 million in the motor-vehicle industry, which will lead to the creation of 60 internship programs for immigrant-engineers with General Motors of Canada Ltd. From the website, www.careerbridge.ca/becomeintern.asp, one can learn what it takes to be eligible for these programs.
Zimmer also advised everybody to become carefully acquainted with all of the Government of Ontario programs developed for immigrant-professionals, as well as to use numerous Employment Resources Centers.
Networking expert Donna Messer (www.connectuscanada.com/Donna) opened the conference agenda by asking, “Who can tell us what is the most important consideration while job hunting?” The answer is “networking”. You should never say to people, “I am looking for job”. Say “I am looking for an opportunity!” Messer says the main rule of any job search is to make better use of networking and informational interviews as well as make three new contacts every day!
After the main session, participants were separated into five industry sectors: Engineering, IT, Education, Finance, Health and Medicine.
The Engineering section was hosted by Lionel Laroche – president of MCB Solutions (www.mco.ca/coaches/llaroche.asp). One of the main topics was – “how regulated occupations’ specialists should approach their job search”. Laroche advised each IEP to contact his/her professional association to discuss certification and/or license opportunities. During the question and answer session, engineer Rakesh Shreewastav (Ministry of Transportation Ontario) persuaded participants to spend more time searching for jobs, and do so more persistently.
After the break, during the “Tips for Success” section, Stephen Deloitte (Deloitte Inc.) outlined two ways of searching for work. The formal approach is to study ads in newspapers or the internet and apply to various employment agencies. Less than 20 percent of the people who follow this approach succeed in the job search process. The informal approach is to network. 80 percent of people who are successful in finding jobs use the second method. Deliotte said that the rule is that out of an eight-hour job-searching day, two hours should be spent using the formal technique and the rest, the informal one. To prepare for work, he said it is necessary to get an assessment of diplomas received abroad and to find out what skills Canadian employers are looking for in your field. Then you have to find appropriate study program and to improve your skills according to employer’s requirements.
Modern résumé writing rules were discussed during the last seminar. The lecture was given by Damindra Dias – a career planning expert from Progress Career Planning Institute and the author of Seven Steps to Success (www.pcpi.ca/new.html). The following was her advice on résumé writing, “A résumé should be professionally created. It is not enough to list one’s previous jobs. The job seeker should show his/her achievements”. Dias gave participants her e-mail address and agreed to look over résumés sent for critique.
During the conference breaks, participants had an opportunity to speak with members of public organizations and agencies specializing in working with immigrants, as well as pick up brochures, booklets and other printed materials.