by Marie Gervais, PhD., CEO Shift Management Inc., ERIEC Supporter and Guest Blogger

Barrie has always been a believer in finding out who you know to get connected to the job you want in the country where you want to work. He shows how you can leverage family and friends to get to job opportunities you might not otherwise have found. His strong networking skills helped him quickly gain the trust and confidence of his customers, who then provided further opportunities for his career development without ever applying for a job application! Find out Barrie’s secret and see how you can make it work for you.

Many newcomers get their first job through connections. For Barrie Latter, a family connection in Canada was able to find him a job opportunity before he planned to immigrate. He is a firm believer in using your connections to get to find a job higher up in the professional categories of your desired industry. Here is his story and his strategies for success.

Barrie has been in Canada for six years, originally from the UK. He currently works as a business development manager at Jen-Col Construction, but this is his third position since arriving in Canada.  Now doing mostly sales, business development and marketing, Barrie first came into the country using experience and education in three different fields: construction, insurance and risk management.

In reflecting on all his past job opportunities, Barrie surmised that he has actually not applied for work through job boards at all, but always started his search through putting out the word to his “natural” connections in family, friends and colleagues. His reasoning is that for a professional, coming in to the hiring process on the top of the hiring funnel through a connection will always more effective than trying to work your way up from the bottom with an online job posting.

Barrie’s strategies for job search and career building success

  • Put the word out to everyone in your network that you are looking for work, ask them to help you get a connection to an opportunity.
  • Remember that large companies frequently have better international connections than medium or small ones. If you are an experienced professional with specific skills, looking for connections to an international country via someone you know can give you a first position. Aon Reed Stenhouse in the insurance industry and Clark Builders in the construction industry were both in that category.
  • Consider that getting into the hiring process at a higher level requires a connection that is higher up in the relationship.
  • Keep networking to build your connections.
  • Look for new opportunities and find ways to connect to them through people in your network.
  • Use past experience and education to bridge to new industries.

How to get into the higher end of the construction industry

Make sure you have the necessary qualifications, and some experience in the industry before applying for a job. Barrie suggests going to NAIT (Northern Institute of Technology) and SAIT(Southern Institute of Technology) in Alberta – there are similar technical colleges in every province – because they have some great courses that help many people get into the industry at a higher level in a short period of time. Some programs are diplomas or sets of professional qualifications that bridge your past experience to jobs in Canada in the industry.

Here are some examples of jobs you can look for in construction:

  • Business development and marketing, scheduling, supply chain and other administration skills
  • PQS – Professional Quantity Surveyor or CET – Construction Engineering Technology, to prepare you for an estimating job
  • From the operations side: with Project Management you can go straight in from a diploma program, or work up from foreman to superintendent to get to the position.

How to get connected into the construction industry

  • Join a local association in construction such as Young Builders Group to get connected, grow your network and find job opportunities.
  • Go to a local construction company and ask who could talk to you about how they got into the industry and you can get started. Remember that most construction people want to teach others about their career and to be mentors. Although it takes confidence to approach people, it pays off; you will be surprised how many want to help.
  • Put yourself out there and approach different companies with the idea that they need you and you have something valuable to offer – if you are older, they are looking for experience, if you are younger they want to train and groom you up
  • Know your industry and try to match your experience to what the industry needs

Read the full article here: