Networking can be a vital part of your job search, connecting you to opportunities that would otherwise be hidden. But the rise in online networking sites such as LinkedIn has changed how we go about building our professional networks.

This is perhaps even truer if you’ve just arrived in Canada. Reaching out to potential contacts online can be a great way of starting your network when you do not know anyone working locally in your professional field. TRIEC’s 2014 research into the immigrant job-search experience found that online networking has become a vital tool for newcomers looking for immigrant employment.

In the second installment of our series “On the agenda for immigrant employment”, we spoke to Professional Immigrant Network (PINs) leader Gautam Nath about why he thinks online networking is so important:

gnOnline networking is the starting point for all skilled immigrants as it can begin even prior to landing in Canada. LinkedIn is the largest professional networking platform used in Canada for skilled professionals. Your profile is read by recruiters as LinkedIn is a common hunting ground.

LinkedIn groups also offer a great opportunity to showcase your knowledge base in your area of expertise so join groups where you can positively contribute. Open a group if you can and own it. It takes time and effort to nurture a group so be ready to do that.

However, being online does not replace the need to be out there in flesh and blood. But it helps you make contacts and build a brand for yourself before you meet people face to face.

I used online networking to start a group on LinkedIn and have built a brand reputation as one of the first few names that comes to mind when you say multicultural marketing in Canada. I have used online networking to build a connections base of close to 5000 people across various disciplines and countries so that when I need to connect one person to another, they are usually in my connections list.

And finally, I have a PINs group on LinkedIn called Jobs in Canada that has a member base of over 25000 people from all over the world.

Gautam illustrates the power of online networking as part of your path to meaningful employment. Take some first steps in growing yours. Join Gautam’s LinkedIn groups:

Read Gautam’s blog:

Find out how TRIEC can support you to build your professional network! Visit our Secure Connections page for listings of useful programs and organizations or sign up for a FREE TRIEC Campus account for networking tips and advice.