Tips for Newcomers on Networking in Canada
Networking? Yes, it is valuable and it means stepping out of your comfort zone. Yes, you can get great results. Think of networking as a way to make friends in your industry!
As a newcomer to Canada, it’s important to understand how important networking is for career development and advancement. Why is it important? Read below about the Do’s and Don’ts of networking but remember to relax and make some friends who can talk your industry’s lingo!
X Don’t ask for a job.
It’s not a job fair. A connection here could lead you in the right direction for employment opportunities, but asking for a job in this situation can come across as too forward. It doesn’t make the best first impression.
✔ Do get to know who you are talking to by asking a few questions:
For a monthly event: “Do you attend this event on a regular basis?”
For a conference: “What does your company do?” and “Does your company have overseas offices?”
If the person you are talking to is a supervisor, ask: “How many staff are under your management? or “Can you tell me a bit about your management style?”
You may learn more about their work environment for your own knowledge and potential future opportunities.
X Don’t try to talk to everyone.
Quality not quantity. It’s not a race to say hello to everyone in the room.
✔ Do take your time and engage thoughtfully!
X Don’t talk to just one person.
You are there to mingle.
✔ Do start conversations with a few different people.
While one conversation may be really engaging and exciting, make sure you reach out to several people. It is easy to stay in a comfort zone, but politely excuse yourself from the conversation when you’re able to and continue mingling.
X Don’t worry if the conversation strays from industry topics.
Small talk counts! Some people may be looking to discuss industry topics, but others will be there to socialize.
✔ Do follow the flow of the conversation.
Be willing to navigate different topics: sports, news, music, pop culture references. Share your interests!
X Don’t be afraid to use ice breakers.
Ice breakers are a way to start a conversation. There are a lot of tips for easy conversation starters or “ice breakers” but don’t overthink it too much.
✔ Do practice using these ice breakers.
Become more comfortable starting conversations. Many people are there for the same reason so don’t be afraid to say hello.
X Don’t dismiss people who don’t look important.
Steve Jobs had his well-known uniform – black shirt and jeans. He was an important contact for anyone in his industry, but if he wasn’t a famous figure, people could have easily dismissed him in social settings based on that dress code.
✔ Do be open to speaking to everyone.
You never know who your next contact could be so it’s important to be open to everyone.
X Don’t forget business cards.
If someone wants to get in touch or follow up with you, this is the easiest, most professional way to do so!
✔ Do print your own cards to give to people you meet.
Offer your card as you introduce yourself.
X Don’t lie.
You are there to make connections in your industry; there’s no need to exaggerate or lie.
✔ Do speak honestly about past work experience.
This includes details about job titles and your work history along with your hobbies, interests, and goals.
X Don’t forget to follow up.
When you have made a connection – congratulations! – be sure to follow up with an email. Do not write a sales pitch to this contact or ask for the job at this point.
✔ Do work on developing the relationship.
Here are some tips for that first email and make sure you say thank you. In a conversation or in the follow-up email, a ‘thank you’ can go a long way.
Don’t forget to have fun!
While there is a certain level of professionalism associated with these events, relax and be yourself. People want to understand who you are and enjoy the conversation.