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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


She wrote the book

By David Chilton
Special to the Toronto Sun

If anyone knows anything about starting afresh in a new country it's Grace Tallar.

A journalist by training and a graduate of Warsaw University, Tallar came to Canada in 1981 to study English, concluding her studies at McGill University in Montreal, only to find martial law had been imposed in her native Poland.

There was no going home, so she stayed here and moved to Vancouver where she worked in commercial real estate. From there she moved back to Europe to work as a business consultant, wrote three books in Poland in Polish, before returning to Vancouver. She came to Toronto in 2002 and worked for COSTII, the immigrant and refugee service agency.

It was at COSTII that Tallar found what she calls her "passion": showing professionals trained overseas -- whether they're doctors, nurses, engineers or ballet masters -- how to find employment in their respective fields in Canada.

"There weren't any programs at that time -- in 2003 -- for internationally trained individuals." Tallar says. "(Government) employment agencies didn't have the tools to help internationally trained university graduates. They didn't have enough preparation on other countries' education systems."

And even if these agencies had created the necessary programs to help the foreign trained, out of the 90,000 university graduates who settled in Canada last year only 4,000 of them were given help from a government-run employment service, Tallar says.

With those dismal figures and her own experience in mind, Tallar set out to write a book that the internationally trained could use to find not just so-called survival jobs, but real employment.

Tallar wrote her book Get Hired on Demand - An Advanced Career Guide for Internationally Trained Professionals in English last year. She paid the production and printing costs herself and created her own website, www.Newcomer
Author The book costs $28.50 and can be ordered from the website.

Tallar tackles such matters as emotional intelligence, job search strategies and the creation of an effective lifetime career guide. It's an easy read, even for someone whose first language isn't English, and some of her advice is obvious and commonsensical -- although frequently overlooked by job seekers.

Don't expect miracles overnight, Tallar cautions, and don't dwell on mistakes but learn from them. Do your homework, she says, and find out all you can about the companies and the areas where you want to work. Promote yourself, know how much a job is worth and price yourself accordingly. Sell yourself in an interview. Recognize that there will be emotional ups and downs for anyone looking for a job.

Tallar also pays attention to cultural styles; the way people do things and the speed at which they do them. Unfortunately, some of it tends to the stereotypical.

'Controlling culture'
  • Get Hired on Demand costs $28.50 and can be ordered from www.NewcomerSupplies. com.
  • The book offers self-analysis and other exercises to clarify the job seeker's goals and experience.
  • The most important thing for all newcomers is to learn English or French to the best of their ability.
  • Networking shouldn't stop when the hiring starts, it should continue for life.

  • We're told Canadians, including Quebecers, are among the "self-contained controlling cultures, task oriented, slow(ly) paced."

    On the other hand, Poles, Pakistanis and Arabs, for example, come from "expressive, vital cultures, people-oriented, fast pace(d)."

    One group improbably appears on both sides of the cultural divide: "Pacific Islanders" are grouped with Canadians, and "Polynesians" are in with the Poles, Pakistanis and Arabs.

    Despite these reservations,

    Tallar's advice is generally sound, and in an interview she offers some pointers for internationally trained physicians.

    She says her first piece of advice would be for internationally trained physicians to join associations that have been set up for them. In a group, they can share the costs of medical textbooks, for example, and together they can lobby politicians, although progress is slow, she concedes, saying nurses have it easy in comparison.

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