We spoke with Cida Trevisan (LinkedIn), a current mentee Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program, and asked her to share her experiences, benefits and successes from the participating in the program.
1. Tell us a little about your home/country.
Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, just little bit ahead of Australia, but with population roughly 10 times bigger. The country has a wide range of tropical and subtropical landscapes, beautiful beaches and mountains. It contains most of the Amazon River basin, which has the world’s largest river system and the world’s most-extensive virgin rainforest.
Brazil is one of the world giants of mining, manufacturing, and agriculture. It is also the world’s leader in producer of coffee, leader grower of beans, corn, cacao, bananas, rice, and oranges. About one-third of the world’s oranges are grown in Brazil.
The Brazilian population is very warm, friendly and loves soccer that we call Football!
2. Tell us a little about your employment/professional experience in your home country.
In Brazil, I worked was an Office Administrator for ten years, for a government IT agency. After that, I worked for four years at an Information and Technology Distributor company as Administrator/Accounts Officer, providing administrative support and assisting the Accounts Department with accounts payable/receivable, payroll and end of month reports. Then, I moved to Australia with my husband and two daughters.
3. How long have you been in Australia (and WA in particular)?
4. Can you tell me what challenges have you faced in your job search journey in WA?
Language barrier – this was the major problem for me. English is not my first language and my written and oral communication were limited, especially the speaking English, and some people could not understand my accent.
Lack of work experience in Australia – Although I had more than five years’ experience working as Administrator and experience working in Accounting, I could not find a job in my area because I did not have local experience and some job advertisements specifically asked for experience in Australia. This was a huge disadvantage for me.
No networking – when I arrived here I did not have any networks. My contacts were mostly migrants, like me, and some of them were struggling to get a job as well. In addition, at that time, my kids were younger and I had no support/help to look after them after school and during school holidays.
5. What skills did you gain from participating in the Mentoring Program and how did this help you in your job search?
Participating in the Mentoring Program was one of my best decisions. In the workshops, I learned about:
- Australia culture in the work environment
- Setting professional goals
- The different formats of resumes – How to choose the right one to enhance my skills and knowledge
- How to write a cover letter – tailoring it to match my skills with the ones on the job advertisement
6. What are three key benefits (e.g. confidence) you gained by joining the program?
Joining the program helped me in so many aspects of my professional and personal life. During the workshops and working with my mentor, I have improved my:
- Communication skills – The participation on the workshops, the meetings with my mentor, and doing my homework enabled me to improve my spoken and written communication skills
- Self-knowledge. This process forced me to stop and look at my strengths and weaknesses, not only professionally but personally as well, and
- Confidence. After working with my mentor only for two months I got my confidence back.
Every time I was practising for an interview (mock interviews with my mentor and the real ones), I’ve learned something new about myself, my personality, my strengths, my weaknesses and the most amazing thing is that even though I was becoming aware of my weaknesses, I could ways that I could improve it.
7. What was the best part of being a mentee?
The best part to be a mentee is to a have a mentor to guide me on this job hunting process, advising me which areas I needed to improve and how I can do it, which tools and strategies I can use to get better.
Working with my mentor helped me to understand what skills and knowledge the employer was looking for in a candidate. With that information, I could choose the job advertisement that matched with my skills and knowledge, enhancing my chances of getting an interview.
Before joining the program, I was very frustrated applying for jobs on a daily basis and getting no reply. I was not even called for an interview. There was no feedback, so I could not even improve my resume because I did not know what went wrong. It was an exhausting process that shook my confidence affecting my professional and personal life.
Being a part of this program was amazing. It changed me in so many ways. I joined the program to find a job, but I was so happy with the benefits that getting a job – in my opinion – would be a consequence of the changing of my mind setting.
8. In your opinion, did you improve your understanding of Australian workplace culture and job application processes through participation in the program?
When I look at Australian culture now, I see other aspects that I was not seeing before. For example, today when someone asks me what I am going to do on the weekend or what I did on my weekend, I know that they want to make a conversation, so I engage in that conversation with them. Australia people are very friendly and enjoy chatting.
Recently, due my participating in the mentee program, I changed my resume, using a different format that allowed me to enhance my skills and knowledge, instead of my overseas work experience. In doing that, I was called for interview, phone interview and in less than a month in doing so, I got a job offer.
9. In what ways did participating in the program expand your community networks or knowledge in a particular area?
Working with Kaleidoscope increased my networking in Australia. I joined LinkedIn and my networks are growing. My mentor also introduced me to her co-workers and some of her contacts that referred me to a work experience in my area, which helped me to get the job I have today,
10. What advice would you share with a new mentee starting the Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program?
Do not be afraid to ask questions for your mentor. He/she is there to help and support you. Do not be afraid to ask her/his help. In my case, for example, I told my mentor that I sucked in interviews, I told her that I usually get so nervous that I forget the words and sometimes even stammer. So, she did some mock interviews with me, providing me with feedback later. When I was feeling more comfortable with her interviewing me, she arranged a mock interview with one of her colleagues for me and this was so important to prepare me for a real interview.
Prepare beforehand for your session with him/her. Make your research regarding the topic/agenda you will discuss with him her, so you can make the best of your meetings.
Listen to what he/she says without judgement, because he/she has the best interest for you. You are on a different country, with different culture, and costumes so listen to what he/she have to say and think about it with an open heart and mind.
In my case, in two situations I resorted to my mentor guidance. I went for work experience, but I was not sure if that experience would lead me towards my goal, so I talked to my mentor and she explained to me that the job I would do there is a small but extremely important part of my job. I was not seeing that as an opportunity to learn and improve other areas, but she showed it to me, I listened and this experience helped me to get a job offer.
Applications are now open
Interested in becoming a KMP mentee? Applications are open now. Spaces are limited, apply today to avoid missing out!
Want to become a KMP mentor? We are continuously recruiting mentors, apply now for KMP Cycle 1 2021.
Want to know more about KMP?
Register for an upcoming online information session and find out everything you need to know about joining KMP cycle 1 2021.
The next mentoring cycle is running from January to May 2021. Applications are open between 1 October to 1 November 2020.
The Kaleidoscope Mentoring Program is being implemented under a partnership between the City of Stirling, the City of Canning and Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services and the Western Australian Government. The Program has been created in consultation with the Toronto Regional Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). Their successful TRIEC Mentoring Partnership program is the model for mentoring programs across Canada and internationally.