After attending two of the Interconnection Program’s three express mentoring meetings, Mehdi Alaoui gained his first work experience in his professional field: finance. The advice of his mentor, Sussy Galvez, allowed him to regain his self-confidence and adopt an action plan to relaunch his career.
Originally from Morocco and settled in France, Mehdi arrived in Quebec in 2013 and searched for a job in the financial sector without success. Three years later, he was considering returning to his home country when he received a call from the Interconnection Program to attend an express mentoring meeting. Mehdi’s mentor is Sussy Galvez, who has worked as a senior advisor at a financial institution and mentor for the Interconnection Program over the past seven years. Sussy came to Quebec 26 years ago and clearly remembers her first years here when she was actively looking for her first professional experience in her field of expertise: finance.
Mentorship is more likely to succeed with active listening, as it’s a key element in quickly building a trusting relationship with mentees. Having faced professional integration challenges herself, Sussy fully understands the reality of newcomers seeking employment in their fields. “Faced with the difficulties of finding a job that matches their skills, immigrant professionals who have recently arrived in Quebec often experience imposter’s syndrome, which is regularly accompanied by a loss of self-esteem and self-confidence.” That’s why Sussy emphasizes the importance of active listening. “The mentor should be interested in everyone and pay particular attention to non-verbal communication.” Mehdi explains that he has put aside certain habits and decided to sincerely immerse himself in his new host society. “The self-knowledge and discovery stage are essential because, although you can acquire technical skills, your personality doesn’t change.”
According to Sussy, exploratory interviews are a good way to access the hidden job market in Quebec, which contains 80% of available jobs. “Sussy immediately encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone during our first meeting. She advised me to aim for informal meetings with professionals in my field—not to give them my CV but to be interested in people and learn more about their backgrounds,” Mehdi recalls. “I still take advantage of every opportunity to meet colleagues in different departments in order to better understand their roles in the company. I think it’s helped me to move up.”
The action plan
Sussy considers it important to identify your best quality and use it to stand out. She makes a point to propose an action plan to mentees that will restore confidence in their skills and know-how. The primary objective of the action plan is to enable mentees to better understand the corporate culture in a professional field in Quebec, do effective research and expand their networks, thereby allowing them to access the hidden job market.
During the three group express mentoring meetings, a mentor focuses on five people in the same field. “This approach has the advantage of promoting mutual assistance and solidarity among participants, which breaks the sense of loneliness and isolation that newcomers often have to face,” says Sussy. “It’s also a great opportunity to highlight the different skills of each person.”
If you are a newcomer in Quebec and want to relaunch your professional career, the Interconnection Program’s express mentoring is an effective way to find a job in your field of expertise. Learn more