How I Employed Faith and Other Tools in Tackling Underemployment as an Immigrant and Secured my Dream Job

Friends, in this post, I have the immense pleasure of bringing on a fellow Christian and a blogger-friend to share her story with us! Mrs. Juliet is an environmentalist. After migrating to Canada with her family a few years ago, she faced the oh-so-familiar challenge of under-employment. In this post, I have invited her to talking to us about some of the principles and tools that she engaged in scaling that hurdle to secure a dream job in her choice career. I have also included some bonus tools and resources at the end, so don’t rush off until you check those out as well. 😉

Exceller: Hellooo Mrs. Juliet, it’s so exciting to have you providing content on The Exceller Blog. You’ve been an inspiration to me, being a blogger yourself, and always actively engaging with our posts. How do you feel about sharing your journey with us?

Mrs. Juliet: It has not been easy sharing my journey because it requires being vulnerable, exposing your shortcomings and all that. I am an open book, but I married a very private man which means, I need wisdom in my writing… I trust God that my journey and process as a Christian will bless fellow Christians like me. As the scripture says, Iron sharpens iron. (Proverb 27:17)

Exceller: Before moving to Canada, you were already well-educated and set up for a promising career. Yet, on relocating, there were a few tools and programs that you explored in order to adapt to the Canadian labour market. Could you tell us about some of those?

Mrs. Juliet: I couldn’t afford paid programs at the time, so I went to immigrant training sessions by some not-for-profit organizations to understand how interviews are conducted. I attended the resume clinics. I also utilized LinkedIn to build relationships and I kept applying to jobs related to my field. I also learned how to write a good cover letter which is very important in my field – the ability to tell your story to align with the organization’s need and how you are the solution they are looking for.

Exceller: For the first several months, you were underemployed and in a field outside your area of expertise. I imagine how discouraging that must have been. What top 2 principles kept you persistent in your job search?

Mrs. Juliet: First principle is in Matthew 7:9-11, I know my “now” is not an accident so that scripture is an assurance that the job suitable and custom-made for me will come. Secondly, I stayed connected to the right people who kept encouraging me.

9“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Matthew 7:9-11

Exceller: One of the things you kept engaged with before settling into your original career was volunteering. I know that you still serve some of those NGOs. Is this something you would recommend to others in your shoes? If so, why?

Mrs. Juliet: Yes, volunteering is very important. Although, back in Nigeria, it was not something we were taught but I learned from studying in Finland the importance of volunteering. I got my first job with EU for Africa through volunteering at my university back in Finland. All the references I got for my current job were connections made from volunteering and I have met some wonderful people through volunteering.

Exceller: Let’s zone in on one of your principles. What role did your faith in God play in pulling you through that phase?

Mrs. Juliet: My faith in God made me realized that God never fails and even in dark moments, He comes through, and it is always obvious.  I will tell you a little story. I have always been a very impatient person especially when I can get something done myself. I was doing a night job that required us to work as a team and my supervisor was a very stressful one. I was always angry with her. One day we got into serious arguments, and I warned her seriously to the extent that she was so afraid. That night, I remember the Holy Spirit asking me to go and beg her before I can even think of praying but it took me days to obey because I felt cheated.

God takes us through processes to make us better and prepare us for a bigger blessing!

I apologized to her, and she cried, she ended up becoming my friend and over time I was able to talk to her about Christ. Few days later we both changed jobs. Immediately, I felt my assignment on that undervalued job was over. Sometimes, God takes us through some processes to make us better and prepare us for a bigger blessing.

When I felt discouraged, I cried and sang praise, I let myself be expressive, but I did not lose hope. I kept the faith.

Additionally, the community of Christian friends around me has been a tremendous blessing… I was always connecting with friends who prayed with me and encouraged me and spoke positive words over me especially when I had doubts about myself when I got rejections on jobs that I felt I was qualified for.

Exceller: What are some myths/popular opinions that were sold to you, but which your personal experience helped to debunk?

Mrs. Juliet: I had been told that as a black person, getting a job in my field (Climate Change) will be difficult and also, I did not have any prior Canadian experience, neither did I attend a Canadian school, so I was told to forget about searching for jobs in the climate change space in Canada. However, I stopped listening to them and allowed God to lead me. I got a job in my field and also my role is multi-faceted which has empowered me in less than a year! It can only be God. One advantage we have as Christians, is the help of the Holy Spirit to help us make right decisions even at crossroads in our career and not just in the spiritual things.

Exceller: Wow! Thank you so much Mrs. Juliet for sharing your story with us so openly and authentically. Your journey inspired me, and I am sure it’s the same for all the wonderful Exceller_Readers. God bless you immensely, and I am confident that your path will continually shine brighter and more radiantly.

About Mrs. Juliet:

When she is not working at her formal employment, Mrs. Juliet enjoys spending time with family, serving young people and blogging at My Christian Journey. Do well to check out her blog for other inspiring writings.

Editor’s Note:

Tell me, which of the above-mentioned tools or principles resonated most with you? 😊 Was it persistence in faith, resume, cover-letter and interview clinics, professional networking (LinkedIn), volunteering, a supportive Christian community, partnering with the Holy Spirit, or a mix of everything?!

Did you know that there are over 1250 free newcomer services scattered all over the provinces and territories of Canada? You can find the entire list here, as well as narrow your search to career-related services that are closest to your location .

Other “tools” that you may find effective for aiding your transition into the Canadian workforce include:

  • Obtaining the Canadian equivalence of your overseas education,
  • Acquiring internationally recognized professional qualifications that are specific or related to your area of expertise.
  • Learning relevant technical skills that are competitive in your field of endeavour.
  • Developing soft skills that are required in the Canadian work environment. I will suggest that you do not downplay the relevance of soft skills, especially if you are relocating from a culture that has strong language and mannerism. It is necessary to learn to communicate in a way that your colleagues will find familiar, or at the very least, non-revolting. No pressure, though. 😊 We all keep getting better. Last year, I bought a nice, little book from Amazon titled “Canadian Workplace Culture – Mastering the Unspoken Rules.” I haven’t finished reading it yet, but the parts I read were definitely refreshing. 😊

Note that although these tools seem to be specific to the Canadian work environment, readers in other parts of the world will find usefulness in them.

It is interesting how much can be found from a simple internet search with just the right keywords. E.g., “most in-demand IT skills in Sydney.”

Most importantly, I pray that the grace of God will continue to amplify our efforts and open amazing doors for us.

Cheers to breaking glass ceilings, debunking myths, staying the course, and winning together! 🥂

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