How to Network in Canada – Advice for Newcomers

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This is the second part of the previous article – 8 Crucial Networking Tips for Newcomers to Canada.

I covered networking tips that will help newcomers to Canada tap into the hidden job market and grow a base for self-employed people.

This article will cover the best places where you can practice your networking skills in Canada.

If you’re not sure why networking is so important in Canada, I urge you to read 8 Crucial Networking Tips for Newcomers to Canada before you read this article.

Successful networking can often be the difference between your dream job and survival jobs.

If you’re self-employed, networking is that much more important. Without clients, you are going to have serious issues.

6 Ways to Build Personal Networks in Canada

6 Ways to Build Personal Networks in Canada

1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a popular online networking platform for professionals. A LinkedIn account is a must.

If you don’t have an account because “you’re not into tech stuff” or “you don’t like online activities,” then I’m not sure you want a job or clients.

Every business professional needs a LinkedIn account. It’s free to set up and you can populate your profile with your career history, achievements, etc.

It’s really an online CV that is easily accessible to anyone real time so there’s no reason not to have one.

Once you’re all set up, find people that interest you and send them friend requests or join groups you have in common and participate. Don’t start harassing people for a job once they accept your LinkedIn request.

For more on effective networking on LinkedIn, have a look at LinkedIn 201 – How to Cultivate a Powerful Network. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, you can get started with one HERE.

2. Facebook

Unlike LinkedIn, Facebook is a social platform but it is transforming into so much more than that.

Networking on Facebook is a bit more laid back because your contacts are people you’ve known for years so it’s much easier to approach them.

If you don’t have a Facebook account, create one today and start connecting with people you know. Facebook groups like Bunz Employment + Entrepreneurial Zone are a great way to let people know you’re on the lookout for a position.

Again, don’t post about a job and disappear. Participate and contribute. No one likes to feel like they’re being used.

Additionally, people you went to school with who are in Canada can prove invaluable contacts in many ways. I connected with all my school mates in Canada when I arrived.

Note, I have been in touch with these friends for years on Facebook before I moved to Canada. I didn’t contact them randomly out of the blue to ask for a favour. Nobody likes that.

3. Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs)

Professional Immigrant Networks or PINs is an initiative by Triec. It is a network of professional associations and partner organizations, who support the development of immigrant professionals in their career in Canada.

PINs includes potential employers, immigrant-serving agencies, community groups, government and other stakeholders in the GTA area.

There are many different associations on this network – country wise, gender-wise, profession wise, etc.

They can connect you to resources and help you in your career as a newcomer to Canada. You can view the entire PINs network directory HERE.

It doesn’t matter what your immigration category is by the way. You can still find a professional network that will be useful to you on the list.

I will write a more comprehensive post later on focusing on PINS specifically and the best way to use them to your advantage.

4. Newcomer Centers

Newcomer Centers sometimes provide networking programs for newcomers but it depends on the centre. I wasn’t particularly enamoured by the ones at my local newcomer centre.

Time is limited and you have to pick the most effective way to go about this so for me, this didn’t work.

However, it may be a good option for you depending on which centre you go to, which is why I’ve included it on this list. You can find newcomer services and centers near you HERE.

5. MeetUp

MeetUp is an online platform for finding and meeting up with people who share the same interests as you.

You can utilize MeetUp for social networking, professional networking and everything else in between. It’s free to join MeetUp.

Once you have an account, you can do a search for a group on your area for a specific topic.

Groups then schedule MeetUps for their members several times a month where you can network with people of like minds.

If you can’t find a group for something you have in mind, you can also start a group but that’s not free. Start your MeetUp account HERE.

6. InterNations

InterNations is similar to MeetUp but it’s more social than anything else. However, members can create groups and there are groups set up for professional and business networking.

When you join the groups, you will receive invitations to their activities. A nominal fee is required to attend most InterNations activities.

You can also network at InterNations general activities for all members, which take place at least once a month.

InterNations activities are limited to certain parts of GTA while you can find MeetUp groups pretty much anywhere in Canada.

Opening and maintaining an InterNations basic account is free but a paid account is required for higher-level memberships.

Basic membership is more than adequate in the beginning. You can set up an Internations basic account for free HERE.

Final Word on Networking for Newcomers to Canada

It will not be possible to engage in everything I’ve mentioned above. It’s best to make a plan around 2 – 3 of the recommendations and then target those so you can network effectively without wasting time and money.

However, make no mistake about it. If you want to succeed early on in Canada, building personal networks is very important.

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