Networking Helped Me Land My First Job In Canada

Networking is said to be one of the most effective ways of finding the right job.  I believe this because I got my first job in Canada through networking.

Networking is the process of connecting with people.  It can be uncomfortable, intimidating, or scary.  But it does not have to be.

Based on my experience, effective networking requires a few things:

A Change in Mindset

I grew up in the Philippines.  I was told to study hard, get into a prestigious university, study hard, and get a degree.  Then excellent jobs will find me.

When I arrived in Canada, I had to start from scratch.  Employers were not familiar with the Philippine standard of education and my courses’ curriculum.  A well-made resume can then be buried in a pile of a hundred other submissions.  This is when I learned that “It is not what you know but who you know”.

Because of my original mindset, networking did not feel natural to me.  At my lowest point, it even felt like begging for a job.

I am glad that I successfully adapted to the Canadian ways.  I was able to intentionally expand my network to find a job.

Boosting Online Professional Brand

I updated my LinkedIn profile to match the education, skills and experiences needed in my target industry.  I actively engaged with groups as well as topics relevant to my skillset and goals.  Also, I actively searched for opportunities to participate in in-person professional events.

Networking at a professional event in Vancouver
Professional Event in Vancouver

Attending Professional Events

As mentioned in my bio, I am a licensed Chemical Engineer in the Philippines with experience in the manufacturing industry.  Three months after I arrived, I attended a Society of Internationally Trained Engineers of BC meeting to explore my options.  I was an uncomfortable stranger in a room full of long-time colleagues.  To add to that, I was the only female attendee.  So, I chose a seat at the back of the room.  The guest speaker was from the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME).  My discomfort quickly turned into excitement! 

Building Connections

As soon as the CME speaker finished her presentation, I rushed towards her.  There was a line-up.  But I patiently waited to introduce myself.

Preparing an Elevator Speech

I was able to introduce myself properly because I prepared an elevator speech.  I got to know the speaker and her organization.  At the same time, I let her know of my education, experiences, and goals. 

If not for my prepared elevator speech, I would probably have blabbed aimlessly or not have said enough at all.  It is a good thing I received tips on crafting one during an employment workshop. 

The Balance Careers website gives detailed guidelines on making an elevator speech.

Following up Immediately

As soon as I got home, I sent the speaker an email to thank her for her presentation.  Then I added her on LinkedIn.  This helped me make sure that she will remember me and know how to find me if an opportunity comes up.  But I did not ask her for a job. 

Two months after the event, she referred me to a job vacancy in a food manufacturing company.  She also gave me tips for the interview by clarifying the role and preferences.

I got the job, and the rest is history.

Networking does not have to be difficult.  With the right preparation, it truly is effective in finding the right job.

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