February 28, 2014
On February 28, 2014, TRIEC, the City of Markham and KIOSK ESL Communications Solutions co-hosted an information session for engineers at Markham Civic Centre. Twenty-six participants from the Mentoring Partnership and the Professional Immigrant Networks and eight representatives from the City of Markham staff attended this first time event.
The session kicked off with an engaging workshop from Jayne Long from KIOSK ESL Communications who highlighted how socializing and building relationships are essential in being an effective networker. Communications is particularly important in networking as it’s not just about talking, but how we talk and what we talk about. Jayne noted that communications is 7% verbal, 38% vocal and 55% non-verbal, equaling a total of 93% which is entirely non-verbal communication. Exercises like small talk can appear to be insignificant, but Jayne highlighted that it has a purpose: to find common ground and build rapport with someone. Lastly, Jayne emphasized that in today’s labour force, anywhere between 70-90% of jobs are found through networking. Tools such as preparing an ‘elevator speech’, connecting with existing ties, building relationships within and outside of your profession and maintaining your contacts are all important pieces in your search for employment.
Cheryl McConney-Wilson, Diversity Specialist from the City of Markham provided more information about the demographic and labour market landscape of the region. Markham has recently become Canada’s newest city and is receiving more and more residents and economic opportunities each year. Brian Lee, Senior Manager, Special Projects, Engineering Department touched upon career opportunities in the public sector as well as networking tips. Brian noted that strengthening links with professional associations even before arriving in Canada can be helpful in building your network. Furthermore, gaining work experience whether it be through volunteering or part-time work can be a key component of your job search strategy.
The event concluded with roundtable discussions between participants and the City of Markham staff. In small groups and in one-on-one conversations, participants were able to put their networking skills into practice and learn about how to practice their profession in Canada.