Entering the Labour Market
Networking is interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional and social contacts.
A large percentage of jobs in Canada are not advertised and are often filled through “word of mouth”. This is why networking can be a highly effective tool in your job search.
Networking expands your circle of connections: individuals, associations, groups and professional contacts. These connections can lead to a job opportunity or career advancement.
The goal of networking is to meet the right individual who can help you, and to communicate your value to them.
Here are a few ideas to help you start networking:
- List the people you already know
- Attend professional events - often these include networking and social activities
- Connect with your professional association
- Volunteer at your professional association
- Stay active on social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook
- Take a class or join a group activity
- Set up informational interviews with professionals at a company you are interested in
Here are a few strategies for networking:
- Be prepared – it can help reduce your stress
- Carry business cards with you
- Do some research before you go to a networking event - know who you would like to speak with and what you would like to accomplish there
- Dress appropriately for the occasion
- Greet people warmly, smile and make eye contact
- Do not be afraid to mingle and interact with several people
- Start a conversation with someone by asking questions and finding common interests
- Develop an “elevator pitch” - this is a 20 second introduction of yourself
Here is an example: “My name is Rosa Morales, I’m a civil engineer with five years’ experience on transportation projects and I have just arrived here in Halifax. I love it here so far and I’m really excited about growing my career in Nova Scotia.”
- Be careful not to ask for a job directly, but let them know how they can help you
Here is an example: “I’m looking to connect with other engineers, particularly those who work on bridges."
- Be a good listener – repeat the name of the person you have just met to help you remember their name
- Offer others something such as helpful information, a good article or an important contact
- Remember to follow up with your new contacts – email or call within a few days of meeting them, but do not overdo it – contact them once and if they suggest a time to meet, commit to that time