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You've Got to Network to Get Work!

You've Got to Network to Get Work!

When I moved to Canada three years ago, I had no idea what networking was. It seemed very popular; everybody was talking about it. 

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

"Are you on LinkedIn?"

“You should network, Aneta.”

I started researching, visiting various websites and reading tons of articles on networking. I even watched short movies on YouTube, which I found very helpful.

I've learned a lot about networking since then, and it's influenced my new life in Canada: my English has improved, I've become more confident, and I've learned about job opportunities.  

What is Networking?

Networking is a simple way of interacting with people in order to create social, but mostly professional relations. Networking means speaking with people in professional situations—workshops, training, association meetings or career fairs—and social situations, discussing your experience, skills, goals and dreams. You can network online as well, connecting with people through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or other social media. Family and friends can be great to network with, but remember to seek out people you don't know, who are doing work you hope to do, or who share similar professional or personal interests.

One of my favourite ways of networking was attending presentations on topics that I was interested about. It was easier for me to engage in the conversation because I wanted to learn more about the topic.

Why You Should Network

A 2012 survey by Right Management on networking claimed “person-to-person networking is the single most effective way to find a new job, with 46% of job seekers identifying networking as the reason they found their most recent job.” According to Cornell University’s Career Center, 80% of available jobs are not advertised. These jobs are often referred to as the “hidden job market.” Most people learn about hidden jobs through professional networks or social networks, including friends or family

Tips for Networking

  • Find people who share similar interests, through meetup or Eventbrite. Groups and events are great ways to meet and interact with people.

  • Learn what to say or ask when meeting new people.

  • Learn how to describe your skills, experience, career interests and goals.

  • Be an effective listener. Always show interest in what the people you meet have to say.

  • Believe in yourself. I will give you my personal tip: before going to an event or presentation, always think how far you've come, the journey that brought you here and what you want to achieve.

  • Always follow up. The best way is via email or social media like LinkedIn or Facebook. I believe it's important to nurture those brief moments you spent connecting. It may be the beginning of a new relationship, and soon you might receive information about a job opportunity. In the short message you send it's good to refer to the event or conversation that you had with that person or to mention something specific so they can recall it.

Practice makes Perfect

I know for many of you it might be scary being in a new country and interacting with people in English. It was scary for me! It took me a long time to fight that fear and to realize that if I wanted to succeed in Canada, I needed to start networking and interacting with others.

At first, networking was difficult, but I stuck with it, and I'm glad I did. Some networking events were easier than others, but each of them was a great experience. Practicing networking made me stronger. It improved my interpersonal and communication skills and prepared me for the Canadian workplace. Networking even led me to my first job in Canada.

Give networking a try and who knows what it will lead to?! You may end up with the job and career of your dreams.

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Saturday, 22 February 2020

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