Meet Shreya Mirlekar, Orange Literacy’s first “Transitions” student to obtain full-time employment.

The pilot Transitions Program is led by a part-time Transitions Advisor, Sarah Cooley, who provides counseling—one on one and in group settings—to high-level ESOL students wishing to further their education and employment goals while in the US.

Shreya Mirlekar came to the US a year and seven months ago to accompany her husband, who is a Postdoctoral Research scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill. Due to her husband’s J-1 Visa status, Shreya was eligible for a J-2 Visa Employment Authorization Document, or Work Permit. Despite Shreya’s high education level and strong work history in India, securing a job in the US was not a piece of cake.

Shreya earned her Master’s of Business Administration in Finance and Human Resources from Shivaji University in Maharashtra, India in 2012, and immediately following she was employed by the Bank of Maharashtra, Pune, MH, India, as Deputy Manager. Shreya’s education and work skills in business and finance transfer well to workforce opportunities in NC, especially here in the Triangle. However, Shreya actively searched for a job for an entire year before accepting a position through UNC’s Temporary Employment Services. Sarah Cooley asked Shreya via email some specific questions about her job search and newfound employment.

SC: Tell us about your new position! What is your title and when did you start?

SM: My new position is ‘Accountant’ at UNC, Chapel Hill in the Accounting Services Department. My duties and responsibilities are very similar with my previous work profile. The working environment is so good and all my co-workers and supervisor are very co-operative. This is the best job for my profile. I started the 8th of May. I am really enjoying my job.

SC: Did you do any volunteer work while you were looking for paid employment?

SM: I was volunteering at ‘Women’s Birth and Wellness Center,’ Chapel Hill for 6 months and at WiderNet Projects, Chapel Hill. Volunteering was so helpful for me to learn the US working culture, and to create networking and references. Also, I learned new software while doing volunteering which is an addition in my skills.

SC: What were some of the barriers you faced when searching for a job in the US?

SM: While searching job in US, I faced some barriers like English language fluency and Visa Status.

SC: What did you find most helpful when job searching?

SM: Proper Counseling and right direction from Sarah Cooley and Mike Komives (A Career Counselor at the Orange County NCWorks Center) regarding resume writing, job search and networking was most helpful for me during my job search.

SC: Some of my Career Development students want to know if you used anyone from your home country as a reference?

SM: Yes, I used my previous supervisor from India as a reference.

SC: Also, the Career Development students want to know how you kept your knowledge up to date while you weren’t working in your field?

SM: I did some online courses from US universities related to Financial Management and Financial Markets which helped me to keep up to date my knowledge and again the addition in my resume.

Shreya started classes at Orange Literacy in September, 2016, and she started working with Sarah Cooley in November, 2016. Shreya eagerly attended all suggested workshops and she followed up with all the leads, contacts, and network opportunities provided to her by Orange Literacy and our partners. In one word, Shreya was persistent. Her persistence paid off, quite literally in this case! Congratulations, Shreya, on your position! UNC is fortunate to have you on board! Orange Literacy wishes you the best moving forward in your career.