Mentorship: A Pathway to Career Success
Published July 6, 2023.
Farshad had lived and worked in Dubai for many years, building up considerable experience in the cybersecurity sector. After he became a permanent resident of Canada, he decided to move to Toronto for new career opportunities.
It took Farshad a while to fully move his life from Dubai to Canada. In 2015, he arrived in Toronto but was still running a business and managing clients in Dubai. A couple of years later, Farshad was ready to see what the Canadian job market had to offer him.
He started networking with cybersecurity professionals on LinkedIn and updating his resume. “I got a job offer from a BC company and that forced me to move from Toronto to Vancouver,” Farshad says.
Farshad worked at that organization for over 3 years but then decided that he wanted to return to Toronto. The pandemic enabled him to work remotely for the BC company after he had left Vancouver.
Shortly afterwards, Farshad received a job offer from KPMG Canada. It was there that he learned about The Windmill Mentorship Program and how it helps newcomers achieve career success in Canada.
His passion and career experience were in the IT and cybersecurity sectors – both of these areas are highly in demand across all provinces in Canada. He was interested in supporting newcomers with IT or cybersecurity expertise. “The standards for IT and cybersecurity are the same across the world,” Farshad states.
KPMG encourage their staff to take on volunteer work and Farshad is so grateful to be a Windmill mentor. “I’m learning a lot from my mentees,” he says. “I needed to develop my mentorship skills.” Becoming a mentor has also helped him support junior people on his team at KPMG.
Both of Farshad’s mentees encountered challenges in finding their ideal role in Canada. “I tried to help them quickly shift their career path, change their goal and adapt to the job market,” Farshad remembers.
Another challenge that Farshad’s mentees faced was not knowing very many people in their sector. “They didn’t have enough contacts so I tried to help them develop their LinkedIn platform, especially their resume on LinkedIn and I advised them on how to approach companies and decision-makers.”
It was important to Farshad that both of his mentees were very active on LinkedIn because it’s a great platform for networking and learning about the latest job opportunities. This was something he had to learn himself when he first started looking for jobs in Canada.
One of his mentees, Nonye, had moved to Canada from Nigeria in search of a role in the IT field. After she applied for and received a Windmill loan, she was paired with Farshad in The Windmill Mentorship Program. “There are a lot of resources at Windmill to take advantage of,” Nonye says.
Nonye was looking for a mentor who could guide her toward finding a job that aligned with her skills and experience. “Working with Farshad,” she states, “I learned a lot.” Farshad reviewed her resume, helped her optimize her LinkedIn page and even referred her for a couple of job opportunities.
They met for one hour, every two weeks, to discuss a task that Farshad had sent to Nonye. Every time they met, Nonye always left the session feeling more empowered and confident about her networking and job-searching skills.
“It was very helpful for me,” Nonye says. “I had so many lightbulb moments where I realized the things I was doing wrong. There were things I could do better, to increase my chances of getting a job.”
Today, Nonye is working as a business analyst with a leading bank in Canada and believes this would not be possible without Farshad’s guidance. “I got the job of my dreams,” she states. “A chance to be in the IT field in Canada.”
Nonye’s advice for newcomers to Canada is to network and upskill as much as possible. “If you think you need to improve yourself, do that.”
Farshad believes putting time and effort into creating a strong resume and cover letter is key to career success in Canada. “Looking for a job is a job,” he advises. “Consider it as a full-time job and track each response you receive.”