I immigrated from Dubai to Canada in early 2010. Having had extensive architectural experience in designing commercial buildings and hi end luxury palaces, I believed that finding a job in my field would not be difficult. Particularly since I was strong technically in applications like CAD, 3DsMAX, Photoshop, Revit and the like, I was sure I would be viewed as an asset and be hired immediately.
843 is the number of times I sent out my resume and/or applied on line to the multitude of positions that I felt I was qualified for in country. The response? Well, mostly no response at all. When I did receive a response it was a standardized form letter informing me that my qualifications did not match what they were looking for.
Failing to give up, even though I was so disheartened, I researched what skills I should learn in order to get an employer’s attention. Everything I found pointed me in the direction of the Ontario Building Code. I immediately registered for 2 Part 9 courses.
Then I finally got my first interview! Excited yet incredibly nervous, I felt overall that I had done well. One week after the interview I got an email saying that I lacked the “Canadian Experience”! At first, I didn’t understand what that meant. Code? By-law? CAD? It was never made clear to me – what specific Canadian experience I lacked. Four other interviews followed – all of them ending the same way: “You lack Canadian Experience”.
I was frustrated. How could I possibly get “Canadian Experience” if I’ve never worked in Canada because no one is prepared to hire me so I could get that “Canadian Experience”?
How can I start or build my career without anyone trusting me or seeing potential in those skills that had developed over seas?
Nine months later, I finally received an offer from a Canadian Architect asking if I would be interested in taking on rendering and CAD services as a free-lancer. Needless to say, I accepted. Eighteen months later he saw my potential and hired me full time.
I look back and wonder if there was a course/workshop at that time that would have not only clarified what “Canadian Experience” translated to but also taught me how I could get it, I would have not wasted over two years restarting my career.