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By: Arcelia Camacho, PMP


We are often told that networking is a crucial activity that should be engaged in if one wants to advance their professional career. This makes one wonder... Is professional networking a new trend? I tend not to think so. Networking has always been about who you know, and it seems to be so now - more than ever. Networking is a centuries old practice, so why is it still so relevant today’s job world? Well, the main reason is competition. Today there are over 3.334 billion people in the global labour force (according to 2013 World Bank stats) . Job market competition became global several decades ago, and with today’s connected world, competition is exponentially greater.

When it comes to most advice on networking, I find that many publications place too much importance on cookie-cutter strategies. From my experience as a former newcomer to Canada, here are the most important points that you need to know about professional - and lifelong - networking:

 1. We are actually natural networkers. Yes, it’s true! Organically, we have a network of people with whom we interact on a daily basis: relatives, friends and acquaintances, current and former colleagues, former classmates, etc. Think about it, who do you tell about that incredible clearance sale? - And of course, who is that you go to first to tell about that new job opening at your workplace? The answer is YOUR NETWORK.

2. Network = Meaningful relationships. Why is it that you would rather tell your friend, your aunt, or your esteemed colleague about that fantastic business opportunity - rather than sharing that information with a stranger? This is because you have fostered and nurtured these relationships. Reciprocally, your network thinks of you when they learn about good opportunities; they have your back and vice versa. The #1 issue for newcomers like you or I, is that when we immigrate to Canada, we leave our network back home. Our #1 priority should be to build a new network as soon as we land. How can we go about that?

3. Start with Social Media. LinkedIn is a great tool to reach out to people. But before you start sending invitations to all of your 2nd-degree contacts, think why you want to connect with them, and why you want to share your intentions with that person in particular. One thing you should certainly avoid is to ask somebody you just met, and are just getting to know, to help you find a job. Have you ever asked someone to marry you on the first encounter? I certainly doubt it. If you have, how did it go?

One great way to introduce yourself is by paying a compliment. For instance, if you notice one of your 2nd-degree connections posts something you can relate to, you could say "I found myself nodding at your post about ___________, and we are both friends of _________, so I wanted to introduce myself."

4. Network far and wide!  According to an article from the Harvard Business Review,unless you’ve been deliberate about your networking, the vast majority of people you know probably work in the same field or industry as you. It may seem innocuous, but that inadvertent myopia can put you at serious professional risk.” My advice is to foster relationships everywhere - during your daily commute, at the grocery store, and at every event you attend. Basically, every person who crosses your path is a potential member of your network. Once you have broken the ice and gotten to know a bit about them, do not stop there. Follow-up and invite them to get a coffee! This brings me to my next point.

5. Put a Networking Budget aside.Nothing is free in life,” and networking is not an exception. Put aside a budget for those networking coffee encounters. On average, you pay $2-3 for a no-frills coffee in Canada, and it can add up rather fast. On top of that, there will be transportation expenses as you shouldn’t expect your contacts to meet you where it is most convenient for you. The proper and perhaps expected attitude is to meet them at a place that is convenient for them. After all, they are doing YOU a favour and giving you some of their time, for free.

Remember, networking is all about interactions and relationships between people. Once you land in Canada, observe how people interact and learn as much as you can about cross-cultural relationships. Then, start connecting with others right away to rebuild your network. Don’t worry too much; Remember - you are a natural networker!

6. Your Turn! Now, we’d like to hear from you! What has worked for you so far? What would you add to the list? Send your networking success stories to info@tcet.com and they may get published here on the TCET blog!

Region of Peel
Employment Ontario
Toronto Employment & Social Services
Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
Government of Saskatchewan
Service Canada
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Region of Peel
Employment Ontario
Toronto Employment & Social Services
Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
Government of Saskatchewan
Service Canada
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada