At WES Global Talent Bridge, we strive to provide timely information and resources that would meet your needs as a skilled immigrant. We host webinars nearly every month that cover a variety of topics to help you on your career path. At the end of each webinar, we ask you to submit questions to our presenters. Here are five of what we believe to be the most important webinar questions from 2016:
1. What are bridging training programs?
Bridge training programs are geared toward helping skilled immigrant professionals relicense or recertify their profession or trade with the goal of finding employment in that specific profession. Although each bridge training program is different, most of them include:
- an assessment of your education and skills
- a workplace experience component
- opportunities to upgrade skills and academics
- assistance in preparing for licensing and certification exams
- occupation-specific language training
- individualized learning plans to identify and address any gaps in training or education
For more information on bridge training programs in Canada, visit Canadian Immigrant.
For more information on bridge training programs in the United States, visit Study in the USA.
2. What is the best way to approach an employer about a job posting I am interested in?
You should reach out to people in your networks first to find out if anyone works at or knows someone who works at the company you are interested in. Once you find an appropriate contact, you can send them an email. Your email should mention why the role would be a great fit for you, but you have a few questions you would like answers for before submitting an application. Ask if and when they would be available for a phone call or a quick coffee meeting to discuss things like the company culture, how they recruit new employees, what they specifically look for in new hires, and any advice they can give you.
During the phone call or coffee meeting, you can ask if they know the hiring manager for the role you would like to apply for. After your questions are answered and you feel confident in applying for the open position at the company, you can start highlighting your skills and strengths to your contact.
If you are unable to connect with a contact who works at the company, it is advisable to follow the company’s specific application process. You can also look up networking events and job fairs that the particular company will be attending to establish a connection.
For more information on this topic, check out our related article and webinar: What Employers Want in a Job Applicant.
3. Should I connect with human resources professionals, hiring managers, and employers on LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is an online platform that can help you connect with the right person in a company that you are interested in working for. Through LinkedIn, you can also reach out to people in your network and request additional information, informational interviews, and tap into the job market. Having an active presence on LinkedIn—including connecting with contacts you meet at in-person events—is a great way to boost your job search. When choosing who to connect with online, make sure you only send invitations to people you have met. In fact, part of LinkedIn’s user agreement states that members cannot invite people they do not know to join their network.
If there is someone on LinkedIn you do not know personally, but would like to connect with, check their profile to see if they allow messages from non-contacts. If they do, you can compose a targeted message explaining why you would like to connect with them.
LinkedIn is not like any other social networking site because it is not solely meant for social purposes. The degree to which LinkedIn can be useful in your job search is directly tied to the quality of your professional network. The saying “quality over quantity” is important to keep in mind.
Before you start connecting with people on LinkedIn, you should make sure that your profile is professional, up-to-date, and complete. Your profile should impress people and draw their attention instead of making them want to skip it. Review profiles of successful people in your network, make notes of how they’ve organized their information, and to apply them to your own profile. See our related article for additional LinkedIn tips.
4. What is networking and how important is it to my job search?
Networking is a term you will hear often while job searching and it can refer to a variety of things. The type of networking that yields the most results in your job search is based upon building professional relationships that are meaningful, lasting, and mutually beneficial.
It has been said that nearly 80 to 85 percent of all jobs are found through a common network. You can network in person almost anywhere: at a grocery store, your place of worship, a library, on the bus, or in your local community centre. Networking can be as simple as chatting with someone about common experiences, skills, or interests. Not every person you meet will be able to provide you with job leads or help you advance in your professional career, but you will be surprised at how often these informal connections can lead to other introductions, professional advice, or even job interviews.
To see how to engage in professional networking activities and strengthen your network, please review our related article: Networking as a Newcomer in Canada.
5. How can you effectively communicate with someone if you have trouble understanding what they are saying?
Think about communication as an interaction between two or more people. You may not be able to control this situation, but as a participant, you can influence the direction of the conversation.
When the person you are speaking with speaks too quickly, speaks over you or uses jargon and acronyms that are unfamiliar, you can interrupt politely and ask questions to clarify the information the person is sharing. Every situation will be unique, but it can be broken down into three parts:
- Get their attention: If you are unable to follow what someone is telling you, try to get them to slow down or pause. It is hard to offer an exact strategy here because this will depend on your personal style and the context of the communication, but the first step is to get the speaker’s attention in a polite way. It is generally considered impolite to speak over another person, especially in a professional setting or if the person you are speaking with is in a higher position than you. Body language and vocalizations can be used to indicate that you have a question. For example, discretely raise your hand (keep your wrist on the table to
avoid feeling like a student), or vocalize by making a sound that indicates your desire to jump into the conversation.
- Interrupt politely: Here are some common phrases you can use:
- May I interrupt for just a moment?
- Pardon me…
- Excuse me…
- Before you go on…
- If I could just ask a question…
- Sorry to interrupt…
- Use clarifying techniques: If something is unclear to you, do not be shy to ask a clarifying question, such as:
- Could you please repeat that last point?
- I am unfamiliar with that term. Could you please explain?
- I’m not sure I understand…. (followed by a question)
It is completely acceptable to ask questions if you did not fully understand what was being said. The phrases highlighted above are used even among fluent English speakers. If you ever need to get someone’s attention, remember to be polite, but most importantly, be confident.
For additional tips, check out this article on ways to strengthen your English skills.
Stay tuned as we line up more webinars to support your professional journey. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.