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My job-search journey amidst the pandemic

You’re over-qualified. 

You’re under-qualified.

You don’t speak the language.

You don’t belong to the country.

You lack connections.

You lack reach.

This job is not for you. 

That position is not your cup of tea. 

You are too young. 

You are too old. 

Strengthen your profile.

Strengthen your CV.

Strengthen your qualifications.

Strengthen your experience.

Check.

Check.

Check.

Check.

But give me one chance?

I know I can do it.

I am resilient.

I am dedicated.

I moved to Canada amidst the pandemic with only one goal in mind- to get better at what I do and to pursue opportunities that align with my long-term goals. Was it a risk? Yes! Was I absolutely sure this is what I wanted to dive into head-straight? Yes! Has it been challenging so far? Yes!

When I initially moved here, I was pursuing a program simultaneously to fuel my knowledge.  This meant I could pursue part-time opportunities in the food industry to build my experience in Canada along with the previous experience I already held and cherished. My best bet was to use LinkedIn efficiently and get hold of one such opportunity. My “professional persistence” in seeking the most suitable opportunity paid off after two months of arriving in Canada after which I joined a plant protein company as an R&D intern while simultaneously writing for FoodGrads. The journey so far has been rewarding, I have been a “yes I can” human for every task and opportunity that has come my way since. 

A few months into these roles, I am now seeking a full-time opportunity in the food product development space, and boy it is a roller coaster ride. Yes, I agree with you. Job search during the pandemic is hard. Yes, I agree with you the recruiting process gives anxiety. Yes, I know you feel like life is being unfair and you deserve a position for all the hard work you’ve put into the years leading to this day. 

I have been relentlessly trying to better my networking abilities. I consider myself to be an “extroverted-introvert” and every step I take towards this goal feels like a small victory. I try to participate on platforms, in roles, and in activities that align with my job to grow more. I reach out to people to get their insight on how to approach this whole job-search game better. LinkedIn, webinars, work experience, resume changes, cover letter modifications- every single thing a job-seeker tries to work on needs additional effort and focus at this point of time because say hello to the pandemic! Rejections or no responses at all- are weekly if not a daily affair.

The hard days are so hard that it feels like everything is going to come crashing down. There is an added pressure of being an immigrant and a person of color. As much as I believe, the opportunities are endless and equal, when the days are hard, these thoughts spiral down the path too. However, the best way I deal with these bursts of thoughts is to get on my feet and take a walk or engage in an activity that puts my thoughts back on the positive trail. 

Some days are hard, some days not so much. Some days are full of rejections, some days are filled with encouraging conversations. I’ve had so many wonderful women from the food industry support me that I feel grateful for each and every minute they have shared for my betterment and growth. I guess the most amazing upside of the pandemic is that knowledge and conversations have become more accessible.

If you are on the same journey as me and resonate with my thoughts, all I can say is to keep active in growing awareness of the industry and simultaneously concentrate on personal well-being. Take a break when the pressure takes over your thoughts. Take a break when an e-mail rejection arrives. And, start over with a fresh mindset! And start-over because self-belief is the only important factor to keep going. 


About the Author

I am Anjali Patel, I come from India and completed my Masters in Food biotechnology from Wageningen University in the Netherlands before moving to Canada. Currently, I am working as an intern with Rainfed foods as an innovation and research associate. If not discussing food, you will see me reading books or chasing travel blogs to plan my next holiday.


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