Networking

A quick guide to networking in Canada

If you’re looking to advance your career, then you’ll need to make sure you take full advantage of the opportunities for networking in Canada. Outpost Recruitment founder, Ruairi Spillane, explains.

Why do some construction professionals follow a seamless upward path from role to role? How do recruitment agencies know exactly what companies are hiring at the right time? Networking!

Recruiters are professional networkers. Our business is having the right connections and access to all the latest news. Some of the below tips may appear obvious but we are amazed at how people can overlook the simple things.

Here are Outpost Recruitment’s 12 tips to successful networking in Canada.

1. Business cards

Networking in Canada
It’s a no-brainer when you have a job, but every professional should have a business card whether they are employed or not. Don’t fumble with your phone, business cards are critical at creating a solid first impression and building long-term relationships.

Handing out business cards is a self-branding exercise and makes you look professional. If you won’t promote yourself, then nobody will. You can order 100 business cards for around $20 online. It’s a small price to pay for the sake of your career advancement.

2. Do your research

Networking
Identify the companies and recruitment agencies you would like to work for. Ask people for referrals and now you have a starting point. Your job search should start narrow and then gradually widen.

Always do your research before you contact someone and ask for their time/help. Use LinkedIn, Google, their company website and any other resources available to help demonstrate you are motivated to build a relationship.

3. Know the best recruiters

It’s easy! Instead of trying to gather all the appropriate information on a particular market, speak with an industry expert to gather ideas and news. You don’t need to be job hunting to contact a recruiter for help. Keep communication channels open at all times.

4. Know the best people in your industry

Make a point of spending more time with colleagues whose networking skills you admire. Tag along with them to events or simply bring them for lunch and ask them for tips on how to keep up with the market.

5. Informational Interviews

Networking in Canada
One of Canada’s best qualities is how helpful people are. If you are organized, persistent and tactful enough, it’s very likely you can achieve a 20-minute coffee with executive level people in your industry.

Start at the top and work your way down. You may be pleasantly surprised that someone will respond positively if they feel you have something to offer their company.

6. Better still, offer lunch instead of coffee!

“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it”.

With a little tact and persistence, perhaps you can persuade the person you want to meet to give up a portion of their time with the offer of some food instead of offering a mundane coffee. Everyone’s gotta eat! A small investment to get a busy person’s time.

7. Events for networking in Canada

Networking in Canada
Meet like-minded people, who are keen to learn, discuss industry news and practice their skills when networking in Canada. Dress to impress and arrive early so you can assess the gathering crowd. This step will allow you to watch the dynamics of the room unfold and make some easy new connections to assist you through the sea of strangers.

Are there industry leaders giving a speech at these events? Don’t be shy about approaching them directly for a quick chat. Be respectful of their time, be ready with your business card, and leave the chat having agreed a way to follow-up with them at a later date.

8. Use LinkedIn

Networking in Canada
The ultimate social networking tool but never a substitute for face-to-face networking in Canada. LinkedIn is a great tool when preparing for networking events and maintaining connections.

While connecting on LinkedIn is considered a reasonable follow up, try to take action on interesting contacts by following up and scheduling a time to chat further over the phone, a coffee/drink, or lunch. This one-on-one meeting is an ideal chance to further develop the relationship as being a LinkedIn connection is not very intimate any more!

Set a reminder to follow up with a connection in 2-3 days for essential queries or 2-3 weeks if it’s not urgent. Remember: your priority is to get to know them, so don’t be afraid to follow-up.’

9. Tact and Persistence

Networking tact and persistence
Anyone can make a request once. It takes organization and persistence to ask the second, third and fourth times. Differentiate yourself through being tactful and persistent.

“I contacted Person X and they never got back to me.” This is such a lame excuse, so don’t use it. If you want their help, leave blame and ego behind.

10. Ask and you shall receive

Networking in Canada
Be bold and daring as fortune favours the brave. Be open and upfront with what you are hoping to get from a new contact. State your purpose and you will always get better results. Ask the hard questions instead of assuming the other party knows what your objective is. Always ask for advice, introductions and recommendations on further contacts.

11. Map out your connections

Networking
Draw out your key connections on paper or a spreadsheet so you can visualize who you know and assess who you may need to know (target roles/people/companies). If you are job hunting, this is your job hunting team!

12. Dress to impress

Networking
Canada is considered to be relatively informal in terms of business attire. That said, it’s always better to overdress than underdress.

For networking events, informational interviews and coffee meetings, business casual will suffice but ensure you wear a suit for an interview.

And remember…

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Building your network can take time so don’t shy from contacting Outpost Recruitment if you would like to tap into upcoming opportunities, market intelligence or industry outlooks.

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