3 Steps to Make Networking a Success

It’s almost September! We know, it’s hard to believe. These past five months of difficulty and uncertainty has taken its toll, but we’d like to help! Are you:

  • Starting your first year at a Canadian University or College (on-line or in-person)?
  • Heading back to school in Canada for your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year of your program?
  • Looking for employment?

Whether you’re starting your first year at a Canadian university or college or starting your search for employment as a fresh graduate, we think that you will enjoy this week’s blog post.

Among the most startling statistics we see at Devant is that one-third of all international students in Canada say that they have not made a friend with a domestic student during their studies here in Canada. This statistic really troubled our President, Rod Skinkle. Why? Because he has spent his entire 30-year career working and advising Higher Education institutions on matters related to student recruitment, success, and career development.

Here’s what Rod had to say:

Question – Why does this bother you so much? After all, at Devant, we primarily help international students to get jobs, not necessarily make friends.
Rod – It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about one’s ability to make friends or to develop employment opportunities because it’s all about the networking.

Question – But aren’t there different approaches involved?
Rod – Sure, striking up a conversation in a bookstore lineup is a little different than approaching a professional to ask for an informational interview. However, that difference is subtle: it is the underlying strategy that makes all the difference.

Question – “How so?”
Rod – Well, our readers don’t have a lot of time and I can explain faster and more effectively with an illustration.

When we think about social vs employment goals, we tend to separate the two. A good way to establish social connections is by finding common interests. However, when we think about employment connections, we think about career goals.

If I step back and think in terms of life goals, we see how they overlap. For example, if I were interested in all things technology and I may want a career in technology involving artificial intelligence (AI) that leads to owning my own business. In this example, we can see how personal and career goals work together to develop life goals.

When you are clear about your life goals and you communicate them at every opportunity (social or professional) you begin to make the right connections, often more quickly.

In our Devant workshops and career advising, we work through the following 3-step process:

Step 1: Research

  • Establish some of your basic life goals (do not try to skip this step)
  • Search your school for relevant groups (e.g. clubs and associations)
  • Search your community for local groups (e.g. Chamber of Commerce, Industry Associations, etc.)
  • Search for Canadian groups (e.g. bloggers, sector councils, professional associations, etc.).
  • Attend relevant webinars such as our Devant – Expert Panels and/or personal development courses
  • Stay active on professional networking platforms – particularly LinkedIn

Step 2: Analyze

As a student, you have only so much time, but understand that having an A+ grade will not necessarily help you establish a career in this country; connections do!

  • Make judgments about your level of interest in each possible group
  • Consider your ability to devote meaningful time to each
  • Be specific about career goals (for some advice on this check out our recent blog post

Step 3: Prioritize and Connect

  • Establish a set of priorities
  • Launch a systematic process of making connections
  • Develop skills to master the art of polite persistence
  • Be prepared to invest time and effort and to ‘stay the course

You merge your interests and career goals through establishing life goals. The sooner you start this process the better.

If you are looking for personalized career coaching to help plan your next move, sign up for a free consultation.

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Contact Us

If you’d like to ask a question about something you’ve read here, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Director, Operations & Client Experience, Sejal Ahir at sejal.ahir@devant.ca or by phone at 1 (647) 781-2945.