Sunday, June 08, 2008

NEWCOMERS HELPING NEWCOMERS TO SUCCEED

(Posted in Canadian Newcomer Magazine, May/June 2008)
By Sergio Granillo


The adventure of coming to Canada from another country and break in a professional field is not an easy quest. It takes a good deal of patience, hard work, creativity and lots of networking.

A small group of immigrants internationally trained in Communications, Advertising and Marketing, gathered to create an association called CAMP, in order to network and get advice from personalities in the industry.

Under the principle of immigrants helping immigrants, CAMP was established on May 2005, striving to empower its members with the needed skills to break in the local job market.

There is a meeting once per month; on every occasion, leaders in the marketing and communications fields share their points of view about the Canadian marketplace, business culture, consumption trends and, particularly, how newcomers can over come any challenge to break in the business.

The guest speakers in the last meeting were Lawrence J. Stevenson, President of the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS), and Noorani Khan, National Recruitment Manager of Manpower.

Stevenson talked about Professionalism in Public Relations. He did a brief recap of the origins of this social science and how it made its way into our days, where perception and public opinion are powerful tools to sell new ideas and to solve communication crises.

After a quick review of the basic principles of Public Relations, he explained what it means to be professional. The term refers to an extensive education in a specialized field; a published body of theoretical knowledge; it can be understood as well as the act of self regulation or the testing of competence.

In the world of public opinion, seldom ethical issues arise. How to deal with them maintaining a good standing before the audiences, needs a solid ground in ethics. It is important to determine which are the underlying values on which P. R. professionals work.

Five are the pillars of Ethics in Communication: Non-maleficence, beneficence, confidentiality, veracity and justice.

Another guest speaker, Noorani Khan, described the current trends in the Torontonian job market: Economy and technology are changing; unemployment rates are rising; the demand of skilled workers is increasing; people looking for jobs are older and more diverse.

According to Manpower, the fastest growing demand of jobs is in the areas of health care, network systems, IT analysts and medical assistance.

Better strategies in the job search are necessary to succeed. Khan explained that for every 200 resumes delivered you get one interview. The better the resume is (according to the North American standards), the highest chances to get an interview. The challenge is to show the best of you during the interview.

Several techniques and strategies are necessary to carry on an appropriate job search: Networking, cover letters, follow up and thank you letters. Just doing a right networking takes a lot of time and energy.

The expert concluded, it is “an employees market”. This is a reality not only for newcomers, but for any person looking for a job in North America.

At the end of each conference, the members of CAMP make questions about the lecture and about the challenges that newcomers face. Guest speakers are usually available before and after the meeting for a person to person chat. All it takes is to be bold, come close and network.

To enhance the work of CAMP some job postings are announced. There is a website: http://www.campnetworking.ca/, to give further advice.

“Diversity is our Strength”, is the slogan of this enthusiastic group of newcomers, who are building their own way to break in the professional grounds of Canada.

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