Find a mentor

Credit to Author: Staff Writer| Date: Thu, 04 Mar 2021 13:00:20 +0000

Benefits of having a mentor — and how to find one!

Finding a mentor is a key strategy for achieving professional success in Canada. Through mentorship, skilled immigrants “gain firsthand knowledge of local best practices and industry information,” says Tony Lee, an advisor with the Career Paths program at the North Shore Multicultural Society in North Vancouver, B.C.

The benefits of a personal mentor

In addition to industry insights, Lee explains that a mentor can help foster understanding of the Canadian context of your profession and workplace culture, which immigrants from diverse countries and backgrounds may not be familiar with. This knowledge is a critical step on the road to career success in Canada.

Mentoring can also help expand one’s professional network, especially if the mentor is willing to connect you with their own connections, better yet ones who are hiring!

Read more about networking in our article here

Lee shares an example of a client from India with a background in the banking sector who was paired with a mentor from a financial institution. “At that time, the bank posted a job posting the mentor felt like the mentee appeared to be a good fit for. So, the mentor shared the job posting and helped with the resumé and cover letter, as well as providing specific guidance for interviews. Fortunately, the client got a job offer and is now working as a banking advisor.”

To make the most of a mentorship opportunity, Lee advises mentees to communicate proactively with mentors, and ask questions on ways to continue to improve their skills.

Windmill Mentorship Program

There are various organizations across Canada that offer mentoring programs for skilled immigrants. Windmill Microlending, a leading provider of affordable career loans for skilled immigrants across Canada, offers its own mentorship program. The Windmill Mentorship Program connects Windmill clients with professionals in their field, most of whom are Windmill alumni themselves. The program helps skilled immigrants understand what opportunities are available in the current labour market, as well as future trends.

Paula Calderon, Windmill’s national director of client success, highlights that “the opportunity to receive support from someone who has been in their shoes and has successfully accomplished their professional goals, is what makes our program unique.”

The six-month Windmill Mentoring Program matches mentors with mentees based on profession, location and any additional information that participants choose to share. The pair connect for two to four hours of dedicated time each month. The program began in 2019, and the second cohort is now taking place (virtually due to COVID-19). There have been more than 200 matches so far since the program’s launch.

Calderon reveals numerous benefits mentees have gained from the program, including a better understanding of their career options, the development of effective strategies and new resources to achieve their career goals, as well as increased confidence. As one of the mentees commented, the program helped “to put myself out there, believe in me, and know that there are options.”

Learn more about Windmill Microlending’s affordable career loans here.

Other ways to find a mentor

Outside of enrolling in a mentorship program like Windmill’s, strategic use of social media sites offers alternative ways to find a mentor. “Through LinkedIn, for example, newcomers can view profiles of local professionals and reach out to them easily and appropriately,” Lee says. And joining different Meetup groups or Eventbrite forums as well as volunteering in your community or within your profession are additional potential strategies to connecting with a potential mentor.

It’s important to remember that mentorship relationships have mutual benefits. They provide mentors with the opportunity to develop their professional skills, expand their own network and give back. Lee also notes that mentors can assist their organizations to diversify their staff teams through recruiting immigrants from a range of backgrounds and cultures who can contribute different perspectives in addition to their industry-related skills.

The Skilled Immigrant Career Success Guide, a roadmap to help internationally educated immigrants achieve their full career potential in Canada, is sponsored by Windmill Microlending. To learn how a Windmill affordable career loan can help move your career in Canada forward, visit windmillmicrolending.org.

 ROADMAP TO CAREER SUCCESS: Checklist #11

As you look for a mentor, here are some other things to think about.

□ Ask your mentor about in-demand skills in your profession. Learn how to future-proof your skillset in our upcoming article on March 15.

□ A great place to find a mentor would be through your professional association. Learn all about joining a professional association here.

□ A mentor can also help you out with your soft skills. Learn more about the importance of soft skills, such as communication skills, here.

□ See if you’re eligible for a low-interest affordable career loan from Windmill Microlending here: https://windmillmicrolending.org/applicants/eligibility/

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