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How Bassma leveraged mentorship to start a new job in another country

Bassma Hefni leveraged the experience of her mentor to prepare for a long journey and a change of scenery. Long interview sessions, building new skills and preparing for a big move ended up in her scoring multiple design offers in Europe.
Anna Herasymenko

Senior Product Designer, Klarna

“Mentorship is another level above self-studying”

Bassma is a self-starter. On sheer grit and determination, she scored a remote role in Finland, where she’s spent over a year as a product designer.

However when it came to finding a full-time role in competitive countries like Germany and Holland, things looked different.

“I knew with my current portfolio it just wouldn’t work. Usually I’m a self-starter, but I knew a mentor would provide accountability and structure for me.”

Picking out a mentor was fairly straightforward. Out of three mentors, things really clicked with one specific one, Anna Herasymenko.

“All of them were great and had their own skillsets and assets. I was drawn to Anna cause she could exactly draw up a plan to reach my goals. She had also previously moved and gotten hired in Germany, exactly where I wanted to be.”

In the end, Anna stood out to Bassma both on a personal level, but also when it comes to her experience as an expat and the high level of planning that she could demonstrate.

“We started testing right away”

It didn’t take long for Bassma and Anna to create a plan that would involve getting into the depths of the job search right away.

“We didn’t wait until my portfolio had more projects in it – or until I had done more work. We basically started testing the portfolio right away.”

For Bassma, this was an interesting experience as she discovered, explored and got pointed exactly to where she could improve her skillset.

“If I was to embark on this journey on my own, I’d have concentrated on the entirely wrong things”

This focus and accountability led to a couple months of honing skills and tweaking the portfolio, before it all came down to applying to jobs an interviewing.

“I cleared interviews left and right and was actually offered three positions in Germany in the end”

Throughout the whole process, Anna was there. Be it in interview coaching, giving feedback or simply sharing pieces of knowledge where they were useful.

But it’s not just about gaining knowledge.

“I like her so much, cause you can tell that she cares.”

As interviews progresses, having that strong support in your corner is crucial to overcome challenges, deal with stress and anxiety, concentrating on the issues that are yet to be solved.

Preparing for the ‘next step’

Contract signed, mentorship ends? In no way!

The goal may be reached, but there’s so much more to do. The next step in Bassma’s journey is moving to Germany, no easy feat! But luckily, Anna has been through the exact same.

“I wanted to continue the mentorship as long as possible, it’s just something you need in your life, even if you achieve the initial goal.”

The mentorship of Bassma and Anna is a great example of the fact that mentors do not have to be tutors or teachers. It’s a collaborative effort between peers – with one peer often being just one or two steps ahead.

Bassma describes the day-to-day mentorship as a “sweet spot” – the perfect mix of having someone there to share resources, guidance but also a cheerleader for the challenging days. Additionally, it’s not a one-sided relationship, but instead two parties that can help each other.

“I’m always happy if I find a new resource and Anna asks me to share it with her. It makes me feel like I can help her too.”

Career changes, moving locations and reaching for a new position are stressful in itself, but everything together would make anyone nervous. For Bassma, the mental change was and continues to be a big part of this transition.

“I’m 100% local, have never been on a plane. So moving to a new country is difficult. We’re going to go through it all together.”

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