Home » Mentee to mentor stories » Sumeet Sethi – In the Canadian job search, “soft skills” make the difference

Sumeet Sethi migrated to Canada in 2010 from India, after gaining experience studying and working in the U.K. Sumeet works in the IT industry and holds a Master’s of Science in Computing and Information Systems. Early in his job search, he signed up with The Mentoring Partnership, connecting through the .Net Certification bridging program at Humber College. He successfully found a job before completing his partnership. We asked Sumeet to share his story as a mentee who became a mentor.

Why Sumeet became a mentor:

I feel it’s very important for us to help each other, and mentoring is one way I enjoy giving back to the community.

My journey with The Mentoring Partnership began as a mentee. Even though my mentor wasn’t from a software development background, he helped me successfully find a job before I finished my partnership. My time as a mentee was brief but it was a good experience. It helped me understand the power of mentorship and networking, and so I approached the coach at Humber and signed up to become a mentor myself.

Sumeet’s insights into Canadian employment culture:

I realized that when people come to Canada, they have solid technical knowledge and knowledge of their field. What they don’t know is cultural differences that exist here in Canada when it comes to interviewing and presenting yourself. It’s different in every country.

For example, in India when you’re going for an interview, you could go in jeans. To them it’s OK as long as you can demonstrate knowledge in your field. In Canada you need to be more formally dressed and show that you’re serious about the job. A firm handshake and a smile on your face, these are some of the little things that people can use help with when they move to Canada.

Tips for fellow mentors of newcomers:

When I was paired with my mentee, I started by helping them understand ‘soft skills’. The first thing I ask a mentee is how they present themselves and speak on the phone. That’s where a lot of people need help – that’s where I needed some help – but I had studied and worked in the U.K. before coming to Canada, which gave me a good start. When I moved from India to the U.K., I needed a lot more help!

How he’s benefited from mentoring newcomers:

Mentoring gives me a sense of personal satisfaction and achievement in helping others – these are the two things that draw me to mentoring. When one of my mentees got a job after one mock interview with me, it was great. She told me that her experience in our mock interview was able to help her in her real interview.

At work, I’ve come to realize that my confidence has increased. I’ve also become more able to recognize when people help but they might feel uncomfortable asking for it. I’ve learned how I can approach them and find out what help they need.

Sumeet participated in The Mentoring Partnership through Humber College, first as a mentee and now as a mentor. To see a full list of service delivery partners across the GTA or to sign-up as a mentor visit mentoringpartnership.ca.

The Mentoring Partnership matches internationally trained newcomers with established Canadians in occupations-specific partnerships to learn about the Canadian job market. Partnerships run 24 hours over 4 months with 75% of mentees reporting finding work in their professional field within 12 months of completing the program.

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