by Heidi Riley
PEI Connectors works to grow PEI’s economy by offering support services to businesses owned and operated by immigrants. It also connects people who are new to the local labour market to business and community leaders so that they can grow their professional networks and expand career opportunities on the Island.
It is an initiative of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce. Elmira Moghimi is a Program Officer with PEI Connectors. She helps post-secondary students and recent graduates meet with Connectors, who are community leaders, business owners, HR managers and employers who volunteer their time to be part of this project. “We want to make sure that our clients can make the right connections to resources on PEI so that they will remain on the Island.”
She also tells job seekers about how important it is to network and make professional connections through volunteering when looking for employment.
Benefits of volunteering
“PEI is all about word of mouth, and volunteering is a great way to make connections,” says Elmira. “In Canada, it is very important that a resumé shows how much you contribute to your community. Some people think they do not have time to volunteer and work for free. But it pays off. Volunteering helps you expand your network while helping an organization and contributing to society.
“Students learn a lot and meet so many people by volunteering just a few hours a week. People who volunteer for an extended time with one organization have a greater chance of being hired when a job opportunity comes up. When hiring, employers often hire people they already know.”
Help with the job search
Elmira also coaches job seekers on how to apply for work. She has developed a job seeker toolkit which shares information about creating professional resumés, interview tips, and employment resources.
Elmira meets with clients in their final year of post-secondary studies and recent graduates to discuss their professional goals and the type of job they are seeking. She works with them to develop a customized resumé based on the description of the job for which they are applying.
“Many clients use one resumé to apply for all jobs,” says Elmira. “But most companies spend just one minute scanning each resumé. To stand out, the resumé needs to be very concise and customized.”
Elmira says building connections goes beyond responding to a job ad and really adds to the process of looking for work. “At our last Advanced Career Connections speed-networking event in April 2021, 12 employers met with student job seekers, who had 10 minutes to exchange information. The outcome was amazing, and some employers hired our clients. We hope to host a similar speed-networking event in the near future.”
PEI Connectors serves domestic and international post-secondary students in their final year of studies, as well as recent graduates who are looking for work related to their area of expertise. All services are free of charge. Clients are also able to attend PEI Connectors webinars and in-person events.
A journey to employment
Elmira, who is from Iran, took her second degree at UPEI, studying Sociology with a minor in Applied Communication and Culture. While at UPEI, she volunteered in different departments on campus. She was also the president of the UPEI Iranian Society, and helped students connect with the right resources to help them integrate into life on PEI.
“I learned a lot as I kept up to date about what was going on at UPEI. Volunteering helped me grow my relationships with different communities and departments and expanded my network.”