“Networking” is the first suggestion most newcomers hear when they want to settle in Canada. But how can you network successfully while learning about a new country and its culture?
Building a whole new life from scratch is a slow and arduous process. It can be compared to the first day we enter a new school, a new office, or perhaps a sports club. You have to make awkward introductions, try to remember all the new names, and often feel like a fish out of water.
Now imagine this exact scenario, and add a language barrier, a completely different culture, and possible jet lag because you have just arrived in a new country.
Networking does not have to cause anxiety. It can be an enjoyable and productive experience for all involved.
In this article, we’ll tell you how to build your network in Canada as a newcomer to ease your first few months in Canada.
What is Networking, and What are the benefits of networking?
Networking is an activity where you seek to build professional relationships with people who can support you and whom you can also support.
Your network may include:
- friends and family;
- work colleagues;
- people you know through social media;
- employers you contacted directly.
In other words, you can think of networking as building a professional relationship with a group of people that you can draw on to ask or offer a favour.
Here are the following eight reasons why networking is essential to your career in Canada:
- Learn from the professional success of others in Canada;
- Gain insights from informational interviews;
- Open the door to new job opportunities in your network;
- Build and promote your personal brand;
- Find a mentor to guide you towards career success;
- Boost your confidence for future job interviews;
- Share ideas with people in your network;
- Develop meaningful professional relationships through networking.
Below are tips for newcomers trying to build their network in Canada:
Use Social Media
Nowadays, everyone uses social media. As a new immigrant, you should optimize your social media to expand your network.
In Canada, almost every professional uses LinkedIn for social networking. You need to create a LinkedIn profile and update your skills, work experience, and education regularly.
With an updated LinkedIn account, you can search for jobs on the platform and connect with recruiters in your industry. You can also find out who you already know and who is connected to people in your field.
Try to build connections with people on LinkedIn before you tell them you are looking for a job. It’s a longer process, but it will have more success. You should also consider joining LinkedIn groups related to your job and interests, which will make networking easier.
However, LinkedIn is not the only place you need to work on your social media presence.
The same goes for Facebook: Joining groups in your field can help you make contacts that could eventually help you find a job.
Follow industry experts and professionals in your field on Twitter. They might post about new job openings at their companies or related organizations.
In addition to social media, several mobile apps are designed for networking. Many of these are free and help you find groups, events, and people with the same interests.
These can also be used beyond the professional realm, making networking even more effortless.
Attend networking events and workshops
Attending various industry-specific conferences and networking events is an excellent way to broaden your professional network locally and meet professionals and industry leaders from your field of work. Look for virtual and in-person networking events on industry association websites or platforms, and attend as many as possible.
Get to know the other people who attend the event without thinking about your end goal. Let them get to know you on a personal level. What you can do for each other’s careers may not be immediately apparent. It’s always helpful to have new contacts. This is an excellent time to form a genuine bond with someone trying to expand their network.
Leverage your existing network
Before you build your network from scratch, check to see if you already have connections in Canada. These may be friends, relatives, alums from your school, or former colleagues from your home country who’ve also moved to Canada.
Building meaningful relationships through networking takes time, so you can speed things up using existing contacts first. You can ask your existing contacts to introduce you to other professionals in their network or point you to the right job opportunities.
Whether it’s a friend who’s moved abroad or someone in your circle of friends who’s well-connected, don’t underestimate the benefits of asking your friends for help. Even if they could only connect you with one person they know in Canada, that’s already a good start.
Start your own networking group
Networking is one of the best ways to meet like-minded people. When you host your events, you gain credibility in your city. Everyone assumes that you must be good at networking, which adds to your credibility. Therefore, hosting events can build your brand very quickly.
Since you are the host, everyone wants to meet and get in touch with you. You can now access their contact information and invite them to future events or just for a coffee.
You can even become the go-to person when someone needs something. Being the go-to expert these days is the perfect way to stand out.
Do volunteer work
Giving back to the community is generally highly regarded and valued in Canadian society. Volunteering can be an important tool in building your Canadian network.
In your first few days or months as a newcomer to Canada, you may not know many people in Canada. And cultural differences may prevent you from proactively reaching out to locals to build connections. Volunteering provides a forum to meet like-minded people – newcomers and locals alike – and expand your social and professional network.
You would be surprised to know that volunteering can help you gain experience in Canada. Volunteering can help you fill gaps in your career path. At the same time, you can look for a job, which is a great way to get that coveted Canadian experience. Also, you can ask the company where you volunteered for letters of reference, which can be helpful in your job applications.
Pick Up Your Old Hobbies and Activities
Picking up an old hobby seems fun, but there is a logic behind getting back into old habits. Your old hobbies can help you meet people who have the same interests. This gives you a common ground to start conversations and make contacts – so you can forget about awkwardness and quickly expand your network.
Introduce yourself with your neighbours
Everyone needs good neighbours. The first step to building a solid relationship with your neighbours is to introduce yourself by saying hello when you move to a new neighbourhood or when a new family lives in your area. To get to know your neighbours better, you can either stop by their front door or leave them a message to introduce yourself.
In your message, you can also tell them a little more about yourself, such as your profession and age, or tell them when you moved to Canada. If the neighbours are new to your area, you can offer to help them or ask them to meet with you when you have time.
You could also give them a small gift to familiarise yourself with them, such as a potted plant, a bouquet, or baked goods such as cookies, cakes, or bread.
French is the native language of about 7.2 million Canadians. Learning French can help you better understand Canadian culture, and this is because much of Canadian culture is based on French culture. That’s about 20 percent of the population (compared to the 56 percent who speak English, according to the 2016 census). Therefore, it would be beneficial to have basic French knowledge while networking.
Canada offers many opportunities for skilled immigrants who are proficient in English and French. Many jobs are exclusively available to those who are proficient in both English and French. So, if you are looking for a job in Canada, learning French will give you an advantage over other applicants who only speak English. Being bilingual can also increase your chances of immigrating to Canada through Express Entry.
Get in contact with your University Alumni
An alumni community platform is a great way to keep things moving forward and build your network in Canada, where you can quickly connect and engage. Your alumni association is an immense network of professional contacts with whom you already have common ground. Need a foot in the door for your next job in Canada, or looking for help with something else? Use your online alumni network to connect with people who could be of great use to you while you are in Canada.
Let us help you
Our team of expert Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC) has helped many people settle in Canada. If you also want to immigrate to Canada, Keel provides you with the best, fastest, and most transparent immigration application filing tech platform.
Our streamlined immigration services will take care of your immigration process from the day you decide to change your life until settling in Canada.
We will assign you a RCIC who will take care of your application and handhold you throughout the process to ensure all the paperwork is done right.
Schedule your call today, and let’s make your Canada dream a reality.
Click here to book your consultation.