Building your professional network is essential when you’re seeking a new job. And, if you’re moving to Canada you can start building your network even before you arrive. A strong network can help you to access the Canadian job market by building and developing relationships. Effective networking is a critical job search activity that you can begin while still in your home country.
Until you arrive in Canada, your online network will be key. But, when you arrive in Canada, make an effort to network face-to-face to build relationships. It may seem difficult at first, but most people are very eager to help, even those who may not be closely connected to you.
Networking can open many doors to jobs that are not yet advertised, but first you have to have the right connections. So, how can you build your professional network in Canada when you live abroad?
1. Create a network action plan
Building an effective network takes time and effort. Take time to create a plan of action to build your professional online network. Set some goals and know what you want to accomplish. When you’re clear about you want to achieve you can have the right conversation.
Possible goals might be to:
- Find out how to get work in a specific sector
- Find out how to prepare to get work in the sector (ie; training or certification)
- Learn how your past experience and skills would be relevant to Canadian employers
- Discover prospects for an industry and which organizations may be expanding
- Find out who else you can speak to, to gain more information.
2. Start with who you know
“You are not ever a genius all by yourself. Your ideas are a function of the people you are connected with…” Carol Dweck, Author, Mindset
The people that you already know can likely introduce you to others in their network. Start connecting with your contacts in a meaningful way. Reach out to the people you already know to build your professional network. Chances are that they know someone who has moved to Canada before you and can connect you to them. Whether or not they are in the same profession as you, they may be able to offer professional insights and introduce you to others.
Research shows that close to 80% of available jobs are not advertised. This is known as the “hidden job market.” You can access the hidden job market through your professional and personal contacts and network.
Start by listing your current contacts:
- Personal contacts: include family, friends and acquaintances, clubs and organizations, and community groups
- Work contacts: include co-workers (current and past), supervisors/managers, peers, subordinates, and other associates such as clients, and vendors
- Education contacts: include alumni (high school, college, university), teachers and professors, coaches, instructors, and classmates
- Professional group contacts: include industry or trade groups, online forums, and websites
To learn more about job search methods in Canada and steps to success, join our webinar:
3. Use the power of Social Media to build your professional network
A thoughtful approach to using social media can help you make connections quickly, and build relationships over time.
- Join relevant Social Media groups and participate in online chats
- Share articles on LinkedIN, Twitter, and Facebook on a regular basis to increase your visibility
- Use relevant industry hashtags to share content and engage with others
- Follow relevant individuals, groups, and industries in Canada relevant to your profession
4. Give back to your network community
“The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity” Keith Ferazzi
One way to build relationships with your network is to create value. Be someone who provides, information and support to others. Your network partners will remember your effort and be willing to return the favour.
- How can you add value to others?
- How can you help others solve their problems?
- Can you introduce people within your network?
- How can you take initiative to help others?
5. Create your social media elevator pitch
An elevator pitch is all about you: who you are, what you do, and what you want to do. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to hiring managers and other connections. Your social media presence is your elevator pitch and it represents your professional brand. So, carefully craft what you want to communicate.
- Define what expertise you want to profile
- Think about why someone would want to follow you on social media and build your brand
- Select articles, images, and other resources that convey your brand as relevant and informative.
6. Stay in touch
Building an effective network is all about the quality of the relationship. So, it’s important to keep in touch with your network. In that sense, think quality of contacts over quantity. Keeping an active network takes time, planning, and effort to maintain the relationship.
With friendly rapport, when your contacts do hear of job opportunities, they’ll think of you and be excited to help you..
While networking may seem like a lot of effort, it’s essential to build your professional network before you leave for Canada. With the right connections, you’ll be on your way to landing the right job in Canada, and meeting exciting new people.