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The Value of Networking
Whether you are currently working, looking to get promoted, or searching for a new job, networking is one of the best ways to start and manage your career.
Having a strong network can help you do your job effectively and access employment opportunities that you may not hear of otherwise. It is estimated that the majority of jobs never get advertised. This is one of the reasons networking is so important. While it may seem daunting, especially if you’ve recently arrived in Canada, the following suggestions will help get you on the right track to building and maintaining a solid network.
Your Current Network
Your network includes people you already know, such as your boss, colleagues, classmates, friends, and family members. Even your teacher, doctor or other professionals can be part of your network.
Expanding Your Network
As a new immigrant, you may feel at a disadvantage, especially if you don’t have family in Canada or know many people. To build your network, you will need to actively meet new people. This can be done in a few ways:
- Volunteering - This will help you meet new people. It will also help you learn about Canadian workplace culture.
- Temporary Work - If you find part-time or contract work in your field, it may put you in a good position to learn about future full-time opportunities.
- Group Activities & Hobbies - Your interests may provide many new contacts. People you meet through your sports teams, hiking group or fitness class may become a good part of your network.
- Taking a Class -Taking a course not only helps you build contacts, but also adds skills and qualifications to your résumé.
- Information Meetings – Information meetings with professionals who work in a sector or company of interest allows you to access people who may be able to help you in the future.
- Professional Events – Professional associations often organize training sessions and conferences, some of which may include networking or social events. Attending or volunteering at these events may keep you up-to-date with your profession, and you may meet employers.
- Social Media – Staying active on social media ( e.g.LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) is an excellent way to locate potential contacts or learn about people and organizations before attending a networking event.
How To Network
The idea of networking often makes people nervous. Careful planning will help reduce this stress and ensure you get the most out of your encounters with others. A few networking tips:
- Before a networking event, try to get the list of attendees so you can do some research using social media and decide whom you would like to talk to.
- Prepare an introductory script including your name, and a bit about your background and skills. Practice saying it ahead of time so it will become more natural to you.
- Engage people in conversation by asking questions and finding common interests. Networking is about making connections.
- People will respond more positively if you can make a personal or professional connection with them that is not just rooted in finding a job. If there is something you can give, such as information, an article, a contact, etc. be sure to offer it.
- If there will be people you already know at the event, try to limit the time you spend with them and focus on meeting new people.
- Arrive early. It will be easier to find people who are eager to chat with you. Limiting alcohol consumption will help you make a positive impression.
- Exchange business cards or social media contacts so you may keep in touch beyond that initial meeting and to thank your new contact for any help or resource they have offered.
For More Information
This article is by Geneviève Beaupré and Susan Qadeer.
November 15, 2016