By Olga Kiseliova
There are many hoops that newcomers have to jump through on their way to establishing a career in a new country. Lack of a network is one of them. It might be very difficult to build a network from scratch, but there is a light in the end of the tunnel. Small steps could lead to great results. For me such a step was enrolling into Ottawa Job Match Network Workshop series.
The workshop was very informative and gave me tools to start building my sector-specific network. Using LinkedIn I went through employees of the companies that I was interested in. I found that some of them were my second connection, meaning that they were directly connected with somebody who already was in my network. So I asked the person from my network to introduce me to the person from their network, who worked in the position I was interested in. You would be surprised to find how many people are willing to help. In 2 days I had arranged to conduct an informational interview with a person during a direct visit to the company. This interview gave me a better understanding of the company itself, the responsibilities and duties of the position, and allowed me to expand my network even further.
At the Ottawa Job Match Network Workshop, I also learned about another networking tool – cold calls/emails. Beginning in October, I started writing cold emails to people at the company where I was interested in working. I was amazed how responsive and eager they were to help me. Two people invited me to meet personally, others asked for my resume and sent it out to other managers in the company. It was a great experience of efficiency of networking, and I started my first contract with that company in February!
Chinese philosopher Laozi said: a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Don’t be afraid to make this step when you are establishing your network in a new country! Yes, it takes coming out of your comfort zone, but you will be pleasantly surprised how welcoming and helpful the people around you are. All you need is to let them know that you are here – with your skills, your experience, and your willingness to work!