You may have lost track of the number of times people have told you to ‘start networking’ when they found out you were immigrating to Canada. There’s no doubt that LinkedIn is one of the best and most suggested networking tools, pre- and post-landing. However, there are other effective networking avenues available to you.
Before you begin networking, it is important to have a clear goal to help you determine the most appropriate networking strategy. While most people think of networking as a way to advance their career, this is not the only purpose networking serves. Besides, engaging a new connection by asking for a job is never the right approach. It is more beneficial to display your skills and expertise, and building a rapport.
Here are some networking opportunities you can leverage as an immigrant.
If you already have connections, whether family, friends, or acquaintances in Canada, then you can begin your networking by connecting with their network. Volunteer your skill to help them if the need arises, ask questions and stay in touch with them. However, be careful not to be overly demanding of their time and never be discouraged if they are not showing as much interest in helping you as you had hoped.
Volunteering has the potential to instantly expand your network and give you Canadian work experience. Although you can find networking opportunities on many job boards, the local opportunities with the highest potential to increase your local network are usually not advertised on major job boards. Check your local United Ways website for volunteering opportunities or visit the website of local non-profits in your city. Volunteering with your community association is also a great way to build your network while being involved in your community.
Meetups allow you to meet with people who share similar interests in your local community. You can join or create meetups on various hobbies, interests, passions, or professions. Go to meetup.com to see the available meetups in your location or create one. This is a powerful platform to find like-minded people.
You may be surprised to learn that you can find quality network on Instagram. Lately, several influencers have been organizing meet-ups with their followers and bringing followers within the same location together to chat and perhaps meet a mutual need for connection. Find immigrant influencers in your city or province and follow them. You’ll surely get some great tips specific to your location.
Joining relevant Facebook groups can not only help you build your network but also help you have a community you can engage with. Groups such as Jobs in Canada, Mississauga neighbourhood, Immigrants in Canada, and other professional groups can help you answer important questions, give recommendations and connect you with other people.
With the vastly growing population of immigrants in Canada, community groups have become active networking sources. Country-specific or community-specific groups organize regular meet-ups, which could help you get in touch with people from your own community and expand your network. You can search EventBrite by location and event type to see the events available in your community.
Mentorship can be a productive way to not only learn from an experienced person but to also tap into a mature network. Actively seek out mentorship by signing up for mentorship programs offered by several immigrant settlement agencies. Not only can a mentor introduce you to their own network, they can also show you other networking opportunities.