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How newcomer Jonadab landed a bank job without “Canadian experience”

Jonadab arrived in Canada from Nigeria just before New Year’s Eve 2020, excited about new opportunities that awaited him here. This is his story.

Published on

July 9, 2021


“If you can make it through December, you can make it through anything.”

Jonadab arrived in Canada from Nigeria just before New Year’s Eve 2020, afraid of the weather but excited about new opportunities that awaited him here.

“Coming here when it’s cold actually makes it easier to adapt,” he says with a laugh. “Now that I’ve faced it, I have to say, December was hard.”

Six months later, it turns out, handling Canadian weather was much easier than finding a job here.

Born and raised in Nigeria, Jonadab had worked in financial services for the same large Nigerian bank for 11 years. And while he had travelled for business, he had never ventured beyond Africa and was keen to step outside his comfort zone and grow his career further afield.

Why Canada?

Of the four countries he considered, Canada stood out because it seemed the most inclusive, something he values greatly. “Diversity and inclusion are two words that really motivate immigrants to come to this country and I felt that when I came here, I’d be accepted,” he says.

He was also drawn by the opportunities here. “You just need to know what to do to get them,” he says.

When he first arrived, he wasn’t sure how to target the roles he truly wanted, one of the key skills he learned as a recent participant in the Altis Newcomer Program, a three-week paid internship to help catapult newcomers over the wall of “Canadian experience.”

Benefits of the Altis Newcomer Program

With years of experience and newly earned Canadian Investment Fund certification (CIFC) under his belt, he was optimistic about his prospects here and started applying for financial services roles. When he didn’t receive any replies, he diversified into other areas, sending resumes to organizations other than banks.

“I thought maybe I wasn’t getting calls because I wasn’t tailoring my resume effectively,” he says. “So, when the opportunity came for me to meet with the Newcomer Program team at Altis, I embraced it and it was wonderful.”

He says the program really helped him streamline his search and target the jobs he wanted by filtering based on salary, working culture, skills requirements and leadership style, so you’re not “throwing your CV here and there,” he says.

He also learned a lot about LinkedIn. “I thought I was an expert already, but I discovered I was just scratching the surface,” he says. “The guy who taught us [Sahil Anand] was amazing. He taught me how to use the Boolean search so well, I managed to connect to some great people and within two days, I was called upon for an interview.”

Job Interviews: Practice Makes Perfect

Luckily, the program also includes one-on-one coaching from expert recruiters during practice job interviews—Jonadab’s favourite part of the internship. As someone who hadn’t had a job interview in 12 years, he appreciated learning virtual interview tips like dressing properly and camera placement, and especially appreciated the deep dive into questions and answers.

“In the mock interview, they asked me the same questions I was asked during my real interview, so it really helped me practice what I needed to say, and how to say it,” he says.

The Result? A Job in Finance

Through further targeted searching and successive interviews, he finally landed the job he was looking for: Direct Investing Representative at TD Bank. “The Altis team give us confidence and encouraged us to never look down on ourselves or lose faith, even when we don’t hear back from employers,” he says.

Giving Back

While he’s still finding his footing in Canada, he’s already planning how to give back to the community. He’s confident he’ll take on roles with greater responsibility and eventually wants to mentor new immigrants and newcomers. “I’d like to become an expert in my chosen field so that I’ll be able to guide others to find their own paths, and help other newcomers overcome that initial fear.

“This would be my way to give back once I’m comfortable.”

If the following criteria sound like you, APPLY NOW.

Ideal Candidates:

  • Haven’t yet had the opportunity to gain work experience in Canada
  • Currently reside in Canada and are legally able to work in Canada
  • Have access to a personal computer and Wi-Fi connection
  • Are passionate about building a career in Canada
  • Project positivity and are open to coaching and feedback
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