by Nerissa Fernandes
Most newcomers that land in Canada and start their job search often hear the word “networking” and are told that it’s vital in securing a job. However, not many immigrants are fully aware of what ‘networking’ actually entails and what are the various positive outcomes from networking.
In this three-part series, I will share my experience on How to build your network, we will cover:
- The basics of networking,
- Guide you on building your professional network,
- Finally progress to learning more about what is popularly termed as a “coffee interview” or “informational interview”
To begin with, let’s understand ‘networking’ better, look at the various benefits that can emerge out of networking, and familiarize ourselves with the concept of mentoring.
What does networking actually mean?
Networking is an activity where you seek to build professional relationships with people who can support you and whom you can in-turn support as well.
It is easier to think of it as professional relationship building with the goal of creating a network (i.e., group of people in your life) that you can tap into to ask or provide a favour.
Why is networking so important?
There is a hidden job market in Canada. ‘Hidden job market’ refers to positions that are filled without the employer advertising for it publicly. It is said that as much as 65-85% of the jobs are not posted online. This is why building relationships with people who can support you (your network) is crucial!
Some popular outcomes from networking-done-right:
- Job offers
- Introduction to other individuals who may be able to help you
- Finding a mentor
- Insights into the ongoings at specific organizations, their hiring process etc.
- Access to job opportunities that aren’t public yet
- Learn more about the industry/sector of interest
What’s a mentor?
A mentor is an established industry professional who provides guidance and advice, shares knowledge, and helps you propel in your career of choice.
How do I find a mentor?
Many settlement agencies offer mentoring/coaching partnerships and programs for newcomers; signing up for them can be very helpful. Apart from this, some conversations kicked-off at coffee interviews or networking events can lead you to find a mentor.
Some helpful links to find mentors in Canada:
It’s important to be aware that the relationship of a mentor-mentee needs nurturing and it can’t always be an ask; it’s more of a reciprocal relationship.
What are the stages of networking?
In order to successfully cultivate a professional network, newcomers should focus on:
- Building the network – by continuing to add new contacts via online and offline interactions
- Maintain the network – by staying in touch
- Activating select contacts – when there’s help/guidance that can be shared
Does networking guarantee a job?
No, networking does not guarantee a job. However, it does improve your chances of finding one in the field of your choice. Networking is an activity that should be supplemented with virtual job applications.
Lastly, start networking!
Newcomers are generally apprehensive about reaching out to ask for meetings or help. But know that most people you’ll meet and interact with are very friendly and approachable. You simply have to take the first step in beginning a conversation!
Arrive is here to help you with networking and walk you through any challenges that you experience.
In the next part of this series, we will explore various strategies to successfully build a professional network.
About the Author:
Nerissa is a business research and management consulting professional with over a decade of experience working with clients in IT, Telecom, Retail, Banking/Finance, Retail, Pharmaceuticals, and Healthcare across global geographies. In her current role at Arrive, she works as a content specialist leveraging her first-hand experience as a newcomer in Canada to write relevant blogs and assist other immigrants to ease their transition into the Canadian life.