The Importance of Networking
So often we hear of the importance of networking in the Canadian job market and for professional growth. It scares some, frustrates others and can sometimes make us doubt that we are doing what we need to do to move forward with our careers. But networking is not a short-term activity with an immediate outcome - a job offer. Rather, over the long haul, it is an opportunity to connect with people and build lasting relationships that are mutually beneficial to all involved.
What is Networking?
- Connecting with people to gather and share information
- Meeting people who can be of help to you
- Collecting and updating contact info, like phone numbers and e-mail addresses
- Keeping in regular contact with those in your network
- Thanking people for their help
- Helping others when asked
Networking can be business related to further your job search or business contacts or it can be social like social networking e.g. Facebook or Twitter
When and Where Can You Network?
Networking can take place in formal business settings, casual setting like a friends house, events, conferences, any place you are in contact with people. Networking can take place at anytime. It may be a structured event or may be spontaneous. Be prepared to network you never know when the opportunity may present it's self.
Example of places you could network:
- Religious groups e.g. churches, mosques
- Sport group or gyms
- Conferences, work events
- Community groups and events
- Employment Resource Centres
- Parties and social events
- Doctor and Dentist offices
- Internet e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter
What Do You Need to Network?
Networking can happen at any occasion. You should always be prepared to share your story, what you are looking for e.g. your goals, what kind of job you are looking for and what you can do to help someone else and what you can offer.
- Networking can vary in length. There may be times when you can get into a deep conversation with someone and other times it may be a brief few minutes. You need to be prepared to use whatever time you have to the most. You may not get that opportunity again.
- Have your "elevator story" ready at all times. An "elevator story" is where you share your goal or story with another person in the amount of time it would take for an elevator ride. By the time you reach your floor you should be done sharing your goal or story with the other person.
- It is very important to follow up with your contact. Keep a list of your contacts and follow up with them on a regular basis. Networking does not just end with your initial contact or conversation. You need to follow-up and stay in touch with your contact. Sometimes networking is used to build relationships, which can take time and does not happen over night.
- Research is also important aspect of networking. Newspapers, local government offices and employment resource centres can assist you with your research. If you are going to an event or conference try and research who is going to be there, so you can make the most of your time and work the room. If you are prepared and planful, networking can be very beneficial. As much as you are using them as a resource you want them to you use as a resource, if not now, sometime in the future. Use local resources to assist you with your research.
For more information you can contact your local Employment Resource Centre.
The Mentoring Partnership
The Mentoring Partnership is a proven successful strategy that helps skilled immigrants connect to meaningful employment. The program matches skilled immigrants with mentors in their field. Now operating for more than 10 years in the Toronto region, The Mentoring Partnership has facilitated over 10,000 mentoring relationships between skilled immigrants and established Canadian professionals.
Mentoring is a proven strategy - over 75% of all mentees have found employment in their field within the first year of completion of the program.
Individuals wishing to become mentors and mentees for the program should contact the Pickering and Ajax Welcome Centres for more information.
Pickering Welcome Centre: 905-420-3008
Ajax Welcome Centre: 289-482-1037
Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs)
Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs) is a network of professional associations, run by and for immigrants in the Greater Toronto Area. PINs supports associations to connect, collaborate and help their members find meaningful employment.