According to PayScale, from 70 to 85% of North Americans find work through networking — by getting job offers not from agencies or job sites but through recommendations and personal communication with people. This is the most effective way to find a job in Canada.
What Is Networking
Networking is creating a network of professional and personal contacts, the art of building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships. It is also a way of living that helps to benefit from communication with different people.
This is not the same as nepotism, or the employment of acquaintances and relatives for personal purposes with the infringement of other people’s interests. In networking, it’s not family ties that matter but the value and usefulness of employees. The essential are not technical skills and training but soft skills: the ability to communicate, manage people, negotiate, make decisions, work in a team, and give feedback.
When a new job opens up in a Canadian company, the information is distributed among employees and partners. Recruiters and job sites are the last to be contacted when neither employers nor partners cannot recommend anyone.
The person who recommends the employee carries greater risks and moral responsibility than the one who is hired. If the recommending person makes a wrong choice, this will negatively affect his professional reputation and the company’s image. If there is a doubt whether a candidate will fit into the team and meet all the requirements, he will not be recommended.
How To Find a Job Through Networking
According to Statistics Canada, immigrants born outside of Canada have an average of 41 contacts (not including family members), while Canadian-born persons have 49 contacts. Immigrants’ contacts are also less diverse.
Those who have recently arrived in Canada may not have any connections in the country at all. So how in this case to create your network of professional contacts?
First, you need to get the basic networking tools: order business cards, create profiles on LinkedIn and Facebook, write a CV and create a portfolio. After that, you can start attending networking events and informational interviews.
Networking events are any events where you can find people with similar interests. According to the idea of six degrees of separation, all people are six, or fewer, social connections away from each other. People can get professional contacts everywhere: in clubs, at sporting events, and even in bars.
Examples of networking events:
- Job fairs are events where Canadian employers meet job seekers and conduct job interviews. For instance, you can find job fairs in Canada using the Jobscanadafair.com website.
- Educational programs and seminars. Such events are organized, for example, by universities in major Canadian cities.
- Hobby clubs (riding clubs, golf clubs, yacht clubs, etc.).
- Church events: immigrants often get to know each other and make contacts during church meetings.
- Groups on LinkedIn: LinkedIn offers a huge number of groups for professionals in various fields (marketers, business owners, trade workers, technical specialists, etc.). In those groups, you can communicate, ask questions, and arrange personal meetings.
- Meetup.com is an organization to create a network of contacts in Canada. It allows meeting like-minded people with common professional interests or common types of activities from hiking to sports.
- Regional professional associations. Each province and territory of Canada has associations of professionals in different fields (nurses, oil engineers, teachers, pharmacists, transport workers, etc.). You can find professional associations using the CPMDQ website.
- Networking organizations in different cities, for example, Business Link in Edmonton, NetworkingInVan in Vancouver, SpeedToronto Networking in Toronto, The Ottawa Network in Ottawa, and more.
- Events organized by chambers of commerce in various cities.
During these events, try to take the opportunity to introduce yourself. Be active: if you have a conversation with someone, don’t be afraid to offer to exchange business cards and meet in a cafe or at lunch to continue the conversation.
Informational interviews are interviews with employees of the target company or industry to introduce oneself and get information about job vacancies, requirements for employees, and corporate culture. Such interviews may be conducted in person (for example, in a cafe) or by phone. As opposed to job interviews, most questions are asked by the job seeker.
Examples of questions that can be asked during an informational interview:
- How have you found this job?
- What attracted you to this company?
- What courses or programs can you recommend to be employed in this industry?
- What is your typical workday?
- What qualities and skills do you need to have to succeed in this field?
- What is the average salary in this occupation?
- Can you refer me to 2 or 3 other people who could help me?
During an informational interview, it is important to make the right impression and comply with the rules of business etiquette adopted in Canada:
- Pay attention to the dress code and dress smart.
- Arrive before the appointed time. It is not accepted to be late in Canada.
- Use body language: offer a firm handshake, coupled with a smile and eye contact.
- Maintain eye contact when having a conversation with someone.
- During a conversation, call the other person by name.
- Listen with attention and respect to what the other person has to say.
Make sure you send an email or make a call within a few days after the meeting to keep yourself in their mind. In order not to lose the established contacts, write emails once every 3–4 months to the people with whom you want to keep in touch. LinkedIn is also great for these purposes.
How quickly you will find a job through networking depends on your activity only: the more events and interviews you attend, the better the chances.