So often we hear of the importance of networking in the Canadian job market and for professional growth. It scares some, frustrates other, or makes us doubt that we are doing what we need to do to move forward with our careers.
But networking is not a short-term activity with an immediate outcome – a job offer. Rather, over the long haul, it’s an opportunity to connect with people and build lasting relationships that are mutually beneficial to all involved.
When mentors with The Mentoring Partnership are supporting their mentees, skilled immigrants from all paths of life and professions, one of the pieces of advice they dispense the most is that you need to network.
But what does that really mean? We interviewed some of our volunteer mentors on the specific advice they give to find out:
- Attend professional events and activities to meet others in your field to build networks. Consider joining clubs /organizations related to hobbies that you enjoy. “Building people skills, especially in a new culture, goes a long way towards getting on in the world.” Dan Mitta, Architect
- Nurture continuous relationships. “Be deliberate in all your relationships. Environments change. Someone might be here now, but who knows where they can assist you down the line. Build and maintain positive relationships.” Laverne Moxey, Pension Analyst
- Have a networking plan and attend networking events and be sure to ask every connection you make if they are able to connect you to someone else in their network. Pradeep Mathur, Senior Director, Enterprise Risk Management
- “Networking is good. To make it work for you, first ask yourself what exactly you want. Understand your own context for your goals, what you’re looking for. It might be difficult to find the right person right away and research takes time, but a program like The Mentoring Partnership helps to connect people. Focus on the positive.” Santsingh (Sant) Marwaha, Engineer
- “Many mentors have memberships in professional associations. They could invite their mentees to join them in the meetings and /or event. An additional opportunity to network.” Alex Chan, workplace health and safety practitioner
At The Mentoring Partnership, we’ve compiled a list of helpful resources about networking for mentees and mentors. We have also launched a free e-learning module to help immigrant professionals learn all nuances of networking: from elevator pitch to real-situation conversations (for mentors and for mentees).