“Network is not about just connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities” – Michele Jennae
Networking is one of the most emphasized and need-of-the-hour skill to have in a new country. Back home, networking and socializing were comparatively easy and not necessarily scary.
You meet new people on various occasions who either were your parent’s colleagues or you relatives who introduced you to someone they know. Eventually, you end up exchanging contacts with people in your profession, and that’s how you made new contacts.
Things are pretty different in a new country, for everything is new, establishing primary contact with someone initially looks tough, and networking takes a while.
Like everyone else, I took my time to get accustomed to the culture and place and eventually started connecting with people from a similar background or who work in my field of interest.
Here are a few takeaways from my experience of networking.
- Making a Checklist
Having a priority of contacting the right people or even a list of whom to approach was my first step in the process. It wasn’t as overwhelming and gave me the right graph on how to interact and make sure to express what I intended to do.
Example – I was looking forward to interacting with people who could guide me in a career related to academics. So, I started finding colleges that offer my course and faculty that helped me understand the scope and job opportunities my field could offer.
- Finding a Mentor
Having a mentor is of utmost importance; Networking in a new country isn’t easy, and having someone to guide you through the process is a blessing. To know about your field, restructure your current resume, changing fields, all of these concerns can be addressed and solved with the help of a mentor. You also get the opportunity to connect with people through mentors, which is essential and valuable.
In fact, The Immigrant Academy has a Mentor connect program to make things easier. You can request for a mentor to gain career clarity or for a mock interview practice
- Social Media platforms
LinkedIn, Facebook groups, and Meet up are a few platforms that can help you network and connect with people. I reached out and connected with many on these platforms and got an idea of what to expect in the job market, the different roles offered for the qualifications I have, and the companies I could look up in the job market. One of the most significant breakthroughs was connecting with the immigrant academy that offers courses, mentoring and consultations for new immigrants to the States. This was a suitable place for a newbie like me, as I could interact with people in a similar walk of life who were starting their careers from scratch in a new country. I recommend joining The Immigrant Academy as a member and enrolling in their programs depending on where you are in your Immigrant journey.
- Staying connected with old friends & colleagues
A new country, different time zones, and so many other factors would make it challenging for regular contact with friends and extended family, but do make sure to have some time to stay in touch and keep them updated because it’s often friends of friends who expand our network. Half of my social circle are people I have met due to my friends back home. So, keep your friends close and their friends closer.
- Attending events and joining social clubs
There are a lot of opportunities to network in social clubs and attending events. Americans love golf and bowling events both are great places to network with people. That’s why it is considered for most team building and corporate breaks. But for starters, being a part of any social club or group will most certainly lead you to meet people of similar interests.
Example- Language clubs or courses helped me interact with many people and understand the importance of knowing an additional language. Also, as many of them belong to various fields, establishing contact with them was a good start.
To conclude, I always assumed when I would get my work permit, I would then start connecting with people and get an idea of where to begin. But I’m glad I didn’t wait. Because the best time to build your network is when you dont need any favors.
I hope this helped and would love to hear from your journey on what other ways helped you build your network.
About the writer – Radhika Bajaj is a Digital Content Designer with a master’s degree in International Studies and child rights. Apart from her research in world politics, she’s very fond of art and graphic design and currently volunteers at Open Roads Michigan as a content creator.