Looking for ways to achieve your professional goals as you slowly understand the job market in Canada? We’ve put together an easy, 3-step plan for you. Follow these branding and networking tips for newcomers to Canada to learn how to showcase your skills and value to your connections. Let’s get started!
Tip #1: Use LinkedIn to endorse your personal brand
LinkedIn is the platform of choice when it comes to professional career building. And it’s widely used in Canada. First things first, make sure that you create a LinkedIn profile and are active on the platform.
When putting together your LinkedIn profile, keep in mind that it’s NOT your resume. In fact, it’s a tool to complement your resume. “The LinkedIn profile is where one can showcase everything that they cannot in a resume, like the softer skills. While a resume is good for the hard, quantitative elements, newcomers to Canada can use LinkedIn to highlight the other facets of their personality in a professional context,” says Jenny Okonkwo, a Personal Branding Coach, and Workshop Facilitator.
Wondering how to showcase your soft skills and personality on LinkedIn? Jenny advises sourcing recommendations. “What people say about you is absolutely core to your personal branding. We can all talk a good game about ourselves but when someone else says exactly that same thing about you, it has more impact and value,” she says. On LinkedIn, the recommendations – from your peers, seniors, managers, and company leaders – will also help you in your job search by acting as your references.
Tip #2: Do not limit your networking efforts to your core expertise
For many new Canadians, networking-for-professional-growth can be a new phenomenon. Try it, and you would be pleasantly surprised to connect with not just industry peers, but also recruiters, human resources (HR) professionals, and head honchos.
Before we move on to more networking tips for newcomers, it’s important to remind you of the cardinal rule of networking – Do not ask for a job or seek favours. However, if you network thoughtfully and tactically, opportunities may automatically come your way.
“Networking really is a marketing strategy,” says Brent Edwards, a Professional Networking Coach at BrentCanada Experiences. Whether you are looking for a job, or want to re-establish your career, or start/grow your own business, networking is a strategy in all those situations. “You need a game plan. But first, you need to understand why you’re doing the networking. Identify your goal and an alternative or Plan B. A lot of the newcomers are so focused on the immediate job in front of them that they miss out on the opportunities and possible connections around them,” says Brent.
Gerard Keledjian, Executive Producer and Co-Host of New Canadians agrees. Elaborating on the need to diversify networking efforts, he shares, “I had over 12 years of varied media experience (print, web, broadcast, social media, etc.) when I moved to Canada. Sure, I connected with individuals in all these fields directly related to my profession. But to understand the landscape, I broadened my horizon. While doing that, I found my passion, my niche – the intersection of immigration with media!”
Gerard recommends taking the pressure of finding employment out of networking. “When I first did that some 10 years ago, I started to enjoy the experience and saw more results. So, I would say, relax, and build genuine and lasting connections instead. Get to know the people you meet.”
Tip #3: Build a two-way connection with recruiters/HR
When you connect with a recruiter or HR professional, they know that you are looking for opportunities. So, how do you leave a lasting impression without directly asking for a job or inquiring about roles? By showcasing your expertise than just talking about it! “If you say you have knowledge about an industry or that you are a subject matter expert, then demonstrate it. Share with them insights that may help their businesses. Introduce them to other people within your network. Tell them about conferences and events that you may have attended in your home country that can be of value to them/their company,” says Brent, who always has actionable networking tips for newcomers.
Building a two-way connection is key here, as it shows that you have something to offer. Another way to exhibit your expertise is by posting content relevant to your industry or passion. Remember, practice makes perfect! If your main goal is employment – this is usually one where you only get one shot at a good opportunity – you wouldn’t want to waste it.
If you’re an introvert or not confident to approach someone for a networking chat; or, if you are not sure about creating content on LinkedIn, try this as your first step: “There are probably billions of different groups on LinkedIn. Find those that have a focus on your area of expertise. Take note of the discussions. Comment on others’ posts and share your opinion in the group,” says Jenny. By doing this, you might engage in a conversation with other members more often. And when you feel ready, begin to post your original content and comments outside the group.
The videos are part of a Café New Canadians chat on networking and personal branding. Watch the full session on our YouTube channel. We also have lots of other resources and expert tips on our website to help you in your new Canadian journey.
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