Three ways to build your network
Many people know that networking is a major part of job searching here in Canada. But what do you do if you don’t have a network already? The good news is that even if you don’t know anyone in the industry (yet), you can start building up a network that can help you. While it can be intimidating to get started sometimes, there are many people out there who will be happy to meet you and speak with you. Networking is just about finding them and connecting!
Here are three ways you can start building a network:
1 Attending events
Events can be a wonderful opportunity to meet employers and other professionals. Events can include job fairs, information sessions, workshops and professional association meetings. Events could happen in person or virtually – both options offer great opportunities to meet people. To keep informed on upcoming events, go to Fanshawe Online, and from the “Resources” menu select “Career/Co-op/CCR”. There will be an events calendar you can access to keep up to date.
Tip: When attending an event, have a self-introduction prepared. Make it a goal to introduce yourself to someone and have questions prepared to ask them about their company. After the interaction, ask if you can connect with them via LinkedIn to stay in touch.
2 Joining clubs and activities
Fanshawe offers a variety of clubs and activities to get involved in, which can help you meet people. Connecting with other students is sometimes an overlooked part of networking. Other students may be able to provide advice, guidance and tips based on their experiences and the networks they have built as well. Fanshawe Student Union is a great place to start finding clubs and activities. In Career Services, we offer the InSPIRE Mentoring program, which has options to help you connect with peers and industry mentors.
3 Conducting information interviews
Information Interviews are a meaningful way to connect with people in the industry. Simply put, this involves reaching out to someone who works in a role you are interested in and asking if they will speak with you for 15-20 minutes about their job and career path. This can be done in person or virtually. Remember that you are not reaching out to ask for a job, so focus on the conversation and information gathering. Prepare questions to ask them about what it is like to work for their company, and what advice they would give to someone hoping to enter the field. This allows you to meet a new contact, have a conversation, and learn about the industry first-hand. You never know where it may lead and what you might learn!
Tip: LinkedIn can be an excellent resource to search for people working in roles of interest or find alumni from your program to speak with.
Remember to stay in touch! As you are putting effort into attending events, joining campus clubs/activities and arranging information interviews, the next step is nurturing these connections that you have worked so hard to initiate. When meeting a new person, ask if you can connect on LinkedIn and stay in touch. When adding them on LinkedIn, include a note to remind them of how you met. Engage with their posts, or check in with them via email from time to time with updates so that they remember who you are.
If you would like some additional help or preparation for networking, reach out to Career Services! It can feel overwhelming building a network for yourself, but with some preparation, time and effort, it is possible to make new contacts in your industry.