There are many ways for newcomers to make business connections, but any strategies used need to include community engagement.
When navigating a new business environment, newcomers first have to understand it within the context of their new home through research and networking events.
“Most people tend to be very dependent on computers for networking and their job search, but we encourage people to get out and meet people face-to-face,” says Denise Delong, project manager of Halifax Partnership’s Connector Program.
You should also personally reach out to others who can provide more insight into their field. You can do that by finding a mentor yourself or taking part in a program that matches established professionals with newcomers.
“The goal is to build a network of 10 to 12 professionals and then find out about the market and what kind of projects are out there,” Delong says.
Improving and building upon skills can also help newcomers with their professional connections. For example, if they are worried about their English comprehension and have children, they can volunteer at school activities.
“These are things where communication and language aren’t the main aspect, but people can definitely learn from them, even if it’s a word a day,” says Negin Hamed, Fusion Halifax’s director of immigration and diversity.
Others can choose to build these skills through programs offered through community organizations or by volunteering at events.
“You’re not just making connections, but building skills and becoming a familiar face,” Hamed says. “If you have certain skills you can practise through volunteering, I would recommend volunteering.”
As a whole, interacting with others in the community on different levels can lead to other professional opportunities.
“You need to find a way for people to remember you, in order to have further engagement,” Delong says.