How does networking for career success happen? Networking is an extremely important aspect to a job search. Most job leads and job offers still come from networking. So what is networking? You’re actually networking all the time – even when you’re not looking for work. Everyone you know is part of your “network”. Your family, your friends, your neighbours, everyone you interact with.
Networking is really just another word for communication. But in this case, it’s a specific type of communication with a goal in mind.
What does Networking for Career Success in Canada look like?
Networking for career success in Canada can be as simple as having conversations about your education program with people you know. Everyone you know should be aware of the four following facts about you:
- That you’re pursuing an education
- The name of your education program
- The new job industry you’re interested in
- You’re looking for a new career in this new industry
For some people, this type of communication comes naturally. Some people like talking about themselves. For other people, they may have to remind themselves to talk about themselves. Remind yourself of what you like about your new education program and share your aspirations. People will remember your sincerity.
There are two interesting points about networking for job success within Canada you should consider.
Point #1: Most job leads come from your acquaintances, not close friends.
When you’re chatting with your casual friends, be sure to let them know what’s new with you. When was the last time you saw some of those casual friends? Maybe it’s time to get reacquainted.
Point #2: Looking for work is different in rural communities
A job search in a rural area can have different challenges than a job search in an urban area. Studies show that rural area employers tend to rely more on “word of mouth” when it comes to hiring practices. That is, an employer is more likely to tell a few friends or employees that she or he needs a new employee and see who gets recommended.
Employers in rural areas may not even post a job ad. An employer in a rural area may not post a job ad because (a) they don’t think there is anyone qualified in the area because it’s a small area or (b) they don’t want to be overwhelmed with resumes from people they think will not have the right skills.
If you live in a place like Toronto, there are probably a lot of job ads posted or news media items clearly identify the companies who are hiring. It’s easier to tell who needs new employees in an urban area.
If you’re in a rural area, it may not be so easy to identify who needs a new well-trained employee. Don’t wait for job ads. That may not happen.
4 Ways to Network in a Rural Area
Here are four ideas for networking in a rural area. (These ideas work for an urban area as well.)
- Go retro. Make a list of workplaces that could use your skill-set. Target specific companies. Make a list of companies in your community that could use your new skills. Put on your best business attire and visit employers in person. Bring your resume. Canadians are friendly. Introduce yourself, talk about your education program and express your interest in being a part of their team. The employer will appreciate your enthusiasm. And even if they are not hiring, now they know there’s a skilled graduate looking for a new opportunity.
- Join new groups/charities/fundraisers. This will expand your social circle. Remember, most job leads come from acquaintances – not close friends, so the more people you meet, the better your chances are of learning about a job opportunity.
- Email of inquiry. Is your dream employer super busy so you don’t want to disturb them with an in-person visit? Prepare a professional email (like a cover letter) and introduce yourself as a graduate interested in joining their team. An email won’t interrupt their day and if they have been thinking about adding a new employee, now you are being considered.
- The 30 second sales pitch. Have a sales pitch to sell yourself in case you “bang into” a potential employer in your community. Have a quick summary that highlights your best features (your new education and skill-set, for example) so that an employer will have something to remember.
How will you know if your networking is successful?
It’s easy to answer: because you will get a job offer. But that is not the right answer. Here is a simple test you can do to see if you are networking properly. Imagine the following situation.
If one of your casual friends was chatting with someone in your community who also happens to be a local employer and that employer says, “I think we need a new person at the office and I have no idea where we’re going to find someone with the right training.” What would your casual friend say here?
- Hey, I know someone who is just finishing an Office Administration program.
- You’re right; it is hard to find the right people.
If you suspect the second response is what your casual friend would say, you need to do some more networking. Time to call some old friends and go for a coffee. If you answered the first response, you are networking for career success within Canada. Congratulations, you are making sure you are telling everyone those four facts about you.
Interested to learn more about Networking for Career Success?
Our Student Career Services department is ready and willing to give you support.
If this article has helped you, or perhaps you have something to add, please let us know in the comments below – we would love to hear your feedback. You can also share this through social media – after all, social media is an excellent means of making new connections.