Networking Introduction

Networking is an important component to any job search. It includes reaching out to people and companies to make connections, get insider information and become aware of the Canadian job market.

The topics in the networking section include:

  • What is Networking?
  • Networking Statement
  • Networking Cards
  • Cold Calling
  • Networking Letter
  • Information Interview
  • Thank you Letters

What is Networking?

Networking is actively meeting and building relationships with others. Watch the following videos to get a better understanding of networking and how it’s done.

  • How to use in-person and online networking in your job search
  • Tips for approaching people to network
  • Networking for newcomers

Did you know that over 80% of job opportunities are never posted publicly? These jobs are part of what is called the hidden job market. In order to find jobs within the hidden job market, job seekers need to use methods like networking.

Your Current Network

Before developing new contacts with industry professionals, look to see which of your current contacts could help your job search. Current contacts can include friends, family and members of your community, teams you participate on, and associations or volunteer groups that you have joined. Other members of your personal network can include people you do business with or receive services from i.e. your accountant, dentist, doctor, hair dresser, bank teller etc.

Expanding Your Network

After reaching out to your personal network, you can start to expand your network with new connections. You can make new connections by finding people online or attending networking events.

One-on-one networking: Once you have identified an industry professional or employer who you would like to network with, you can reach out to them through cold calling or emailing to gain information and/or arrange an information interview.

Events: attending events is a great way to make new connections. There are many different types of events where you can make new connections, they include:

  • Professional associations
  • Industry organizations
  • Continuing education courses
  • Networking groups
  • Local chamber of commerce meetings
  • Toastmasters
  • Trade shows and conferences
  • Career fairs
  • Alumni associations
Below are some resources to search for networking events:
  • Meetup posts industry and area of interest specific networking events http://www.meetup.com/
  • If you are a youth or recent graduate this website aids in connecting you with industry professionals https://www.tenthousandcoffees.com/
  • Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs) are member-based associations created for immigrants to network with industry professionals networksforimmigrants.ca
Online

Social Media can be used to find and connect with people or employers in your field. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, allow you to search company profiles, find other professionals, research industry information and send messages to connect with people.

Mentorships

Mentorship programs allow you to meet professionals to gain an understanding of the workplace and learn job search tactics specific to your industry.

The Mentorship Partnership (thementoringpartnership.com) is a resource you can use to find mentorship opportunities.

Before You Start Networking

Develop a networking plan that includes your goals and records of the contacts you have to stay organized during your job search. Connecting with your network on a regular basis will help keep you up-to-date on future networking events and provide more opportunities to create meaningful connections.

Once you have determined an event you would like to attend:

  • Create networking card (see Networking Cards)
  • Create and practice your networking statement
  • Plan what you will wear in advance – dress like you would for an interview

At the Networking Event

  • Arrive on time for the event.
  • Introduce yourself to other attendees and/or find ways to join conversations.
  • Maintain professional body language – smile, firm handshake, posture etc.
  • Make sure to learn and use the names of people you are speaking with; don’t be afraid to ask someone to repeat their name if you did not hear it properly during the introduction.
Create a connection
  • Be prepared to speak about who you are – use your networking statement (see Networking Statement).
  • Be prepared to discuss your industry, field or position.
  • Ask open ended questions and actively listen to the speaker.
  • Remember to ask to exchange business cards.
  • Try to establish the best way to follow-up
  • Politely end the conversation – shake hands again, use the person’s name and thank the person for their time.

After Networking

Shortly after the event, you can help maintain a positive impression with any new contacts by sending a follow-up email within two days during standard working hours. Begin the email by thanking them for their time and highlight key topics or ideas discussed.

After meeting a new contact, make sure that you keep their business card and add the contact on LinkedIn.

Contract Management

As you expand your list of connections, is it essential that you keep track of those within your network in order to maintain a relationship with them.

Make sure to organize your contacts business cards or create an electronic database using something like Excel. An Excel database could include headings for each contact such as:

  • First and last name
  • Position and company
  • Contact information; email, phone, business address
  • Social media: URL for Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook
  • Relationship: friend, family, met at ___ event, referred to by ___
  • Discussion points: what did you discuss in your previous conversations
  • When you last connected and/or when will you follow up

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