I’m writing this blog based on personal experience when I arrived in Canada 6 years ago. My family and I moved to Canada in March of 2008. Once in Canada, I discovered that finding employment was very difficult if you did not have the “Canadian work experience” that all employers were requesting, therefore, I decided to start volunteering.
I volunteered at the Halton Multicultural Council in Oakville, Ontario as a receptionist, interpreter and host, my duties at HMC varied from front desk, to helping clients by serving as an interpreter in their appointments, to being part of the Bridge to Work program by contacting potential employers to offer the services of volunteers, to meeting up with ESL students to practice their English.
This volunteering experience and having received assistance and guidance from a job coach myself awakened some new interests and opened opportunities for me in the non-for-profit sector. The guidance and counselling I received from my job coach was of great help throughout my difficult first year of job searching Canada. I said to myself, “I would like to help future newcomers by sharing my experience and guiding them through the unexpected Canadian job search journey” and so I did, every time I met someone new, often through mutual friends, I always ensured I had the opportunity to share this experience and information with them.
After a few months of volunteering, I started applying to job opportunities in this sector and was able to secure Employment in January of 2009 with the Region of Halton, Social and Community Services Department in Employment Services as a Program Assistant.
My volunteering at HMC played a big role in me securing this position and I use this as an example to newcomers on how important it is to volunteer.
Maribel Sanchez Rojas is a student in the Career Consultant Certificate Program at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. MCACESBlogs aims to assist job seekers and their peers with their work search journeys. Thanks for reading!