If you are an immigrant who have moved here recently and wish to develop a circle of business network, this blog will offer you some ideas. In your country, you have developed relationships with colleagues and former bosses who could help you advance in your career. But in a new country, you don’t know anyone yet. Yet, this is the time when it would be most helpful to have referrals. So how do you go about doing this? Here are some ideas on building business network for immigrants.
Some people search online for networking groups, and attend as many of those events as they can. This is one way. But I don’t know how effective this method is. The reason is, you will probably never see those people again after a brief meeting and handing out business cards.
A more effective way of building a business network, in my opinion, is to select just a few groups (maybe just one or two.) After you’ve visited all the events that interest you, check how you feel about each group. Is there one that impresses you more than the others? Or with members who are welcoming and friendly, and still relevant to your profession? Focus on these few. Go deep, not wide. Here are some benefits of narrowing your focus.
Let’s say you have chosen one networking group that meets regularly. If you attend every meeting, the members will get to know you better. Over time, they will learn what your interests are, who might be a good connection for you, which company is a good match for you.
Adding value to the networking group
Also, if you offer your time as a volunteer to help out the group in various functions, you get more visibility. And that is a good thing. The more visible you are, the more people remember you. And if you can also offer value to others, they will for sure remember what you did for them. For example, if you hear that they are looking for a good preschool for their child, and you happen to know of an excellent one. That is an immense help to them! So the value you contribute does not have to be related to their profession. People appreciate helpfulness. And they would love to help you when the opportunity arises.
So, be selective of groups you want to meet with regularly. If they match your needs professionally, and if you like the members, stick around. Form your relationships there. It will be more fruitful than going to each group just once.
The article How to build professional connections in a new country goes into depth on this topic.
If you find this blog helpful, here is one on Creating community at work.
Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking. To schedule a session with her, please email firstname.lastname@example.org