The Value of a Mentor
What is a Mentor?
A Mentor is a person who can guide you, help you and nurture your career quest. He or she is
the one that you want to model after.
Why do you need a mentor?
If you are working, a mentor can coach you to pursue your career goal; if you are a new
immigrant who is looking for work, a mentor can help you understand Canadian workplace
culture, identify skills needed and explore opportunities in your professional field.
How to find a Mentor?
You can find a mentor on your own. Identify someone in your field that you admire and
respect. Test water by asking advice. If you feel the rapport is right for mentoring relationship
after a few meetings, you can either ask the person to be your mentor directly or tell him or her
how much you have benefited from his or her advice and hope he or she will continue to offer
Another way to find a mentor is through Mentorship programs, one of which is offered by
How to nurture the relationship?
Talk with your mentor about your mutual expectation for the mentoring relationship. Always
think about what you can do for a mentor besides what your mentor can do for you. A
reciprocal relationship will be a lasting one.
Be sure not to burden your mentor by demanding too much of their time and attention. A lot of
mentors are volunteers and the time they spend for you should be respected.
Although the feeling of being needed and making a difference in somebody’s life is rewarding, a
token of gratitude for your mentor will be appreciated.
What is required from a Mentee?
You, a mentee, need to be open and honest with your mentor. You also need to have realistic
expectations. If you are looking for a job, it is not always realistic to expect your mentor find
you a job. However, a mentor can help assess your strength and weaknesses, show you where
and how to gain the skills needed in your professional field and most important of all, help you
get networking contacts, which will be crucial in your job search.
MENTORING PROGRAM FOR FOREIGN-TRAINED
Some agencies offer a service based on a three-way partnership between the agency,
foreign-trained professionals and Canadians working in your career area. You will
generally need to be "job-ready" and have adequate English skills to be referred to such
Mentors work one-on-one with you to help you achieve your employment goals while
you are seeking work. The main idea behind mentoring is that if you can find someone
who is already successful in your career area, they can help you understand what you
need to do to to be successful. There is no work placement in this program, instead you
will learn one-on-one from someone who can help you with your very specific needs.
Having a mentor is a crucial key to success—one that many new Canadians simply do
not have. Be open-minded about potential mentors. A good mentor can be a man, a
woman, a person of a different color, or even your boss. A mentor can be anyone in
your field—ideally, someone with more industry experience than you, although a peer
mentor with a background slightly different from your own can also provide useful
A mentor can help you understand company or industry cultures and teach you how to
navigate around office politics, among many things. The most important factor is that
you and your mentor can comfortably exchange feedback and ideas.
What a business mentorship program can offer you:
A nonthreatening learning opportunity;
Developing business expertise and technical knowledge;
Support, listening and reassurance;
Networking and partnership opportunities;
Understanding Canadian workplace culture;
Identifying skills required by market demand;
Improving your professional terminology;
Advice on proceeding with accreditation, if applies;
Mastering self-marketing techniques and confidence building;
Identifying technical skills, upgrading programs, and resources;
Locating publications and workshops on recent development in their fields;
Establishing professional networks;
Gathering information on local industries and potential employers;
Identifying and seizing employment or job training placement opportunities;
Supporting and encouraging efforts to become professionally established;
Other issues as identified by mentor and mentee.
The K-W YMCA’s Host Program also offers a mentorship program for new
Canadians. For more information, please contact Marilena or Mehmet at 519-
579-9622 or e-mail email@example.com.
I AM NEW TO CANADA AND I CAN'T GET A JOB BECAUSE I DON'T
HAVE ANY “CANADIAN EXPERIENCE”
Starting over in a new country is not easy. There are a number of challenges; learning
a new language and understanding a different culture are a big adjustment. Adding to
the difficulty, job opportunities may seem hard to pin down.
Employers want to ensure the smooth operation of their company. This concern may
raise a number of questions. How will a new Canadian fit into their organization? Will
there be difficulty communicating with an employee whose mother tongue is different?
Will it be easy enough for a newcomer to successfully join the company culture? Is
education or training from abroad comparable to Canadian training? Are work
environments and practices from abroad similar to a Canadian work experience?
Addressing these concerns is not easy, but here are some suggestions that may help
If your speaking and writing skills in English are not solid, consider taking a
"Business English" course from your local community college.
Even if your English language skills are fairly good, it is worth seeking help to
improve those skills. Look for services that assist newcomers.
Locate some expert allies. In almost every Canadian city there are societies and
agencies that serve new Canadians. They can be helpful when adjusting to a
Emphasize your skills. Research the companies that you are applying to and find
out what skills they seek. Write a 'Functional' resume instead of a 'chronological'
one - www.nextsteps.org/resume/resform.html
Highlight your abilities on your cover letter -
Volunteer! Volunteering not only gives you Canadian work experience, but it
also provides you with Canadian work references.
To convince a potential employer that they should hire you, emphasize that you have
the skills necessary to achieve the company's goals. Do not rely too heavily on the
prestige of former positions or training programs that may not be recognized by a