3 Ways to Build Your Professional Network in Canada 

Last modified 14 May 2024
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
3 Ways to Build Your Professional Network in Canada 

3 Ways to Build Your Professional Network in Canada 


Connections, opportunities, and support: three things you have to look forward to after building a robust professional network in Canada.  

But, how do you get started with networking?! Whether you are a recent MBA graduate looking to land a job, a professional undergoing a career change, or an entrepreneur with a new start-up, investing in networking is the key to success. Every connection creates a ripple, leading to endless possibilities.   

Follow along to learn the importance of networking and our top three ways to build your professional network in Canada!  

The Importance of Networking  

Networking involves meeting, mingling, and maintaining professional relationships with key figures in your field. By creating a strong bond, these professionals can offer support, reciprocate help, offer valuable resources, and share knowledge.  

Your personal and professional network can come from a sweeping variety of people in your life, including: 

  • Coworkers 
  • Family  
  • Friends 
  • Professors  
  • Alumni  
  • Classmates  
  • Professionals in your field 
  • Clients or customers 
  • Personal acquaintances 
  • Volunteers 
  • Community members 

Within the Canadian market, many available jobs are filled without public advertising, not even making it to the job boards online. Instead, these hidden roles are filled via internal candidates or referrals – which you can gain VIP access to through networking. 

Other benefits of successful networking include:  

  • Securing job offers 
  • Improving professional reputation  
  • Meeting influential contacts 
  • Finding mentors to support your career growth and offering sound advice  
  • Obtaining a stronger understanding of your industry 
  • Growing in self-confidence and self-assurance  
  • Accumulating insights into companies and organizations, including their hiring processes 

Networking is a brilliant launching pad, propelling you to be in the room where it happens.  

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Meeting the right people is the first step, and then comes nurturing these professional relationships.  

Consider what you bring to the table. Whether it’s your skill set, perspective, network, expertise, or shared interests, lean on your strengths and passions to maintain meaningful dialogue and cultivate deeper connections. The ultimate objective with networking is to build a professional network that serves as a valuable resource for advice, support, and mentorship—not just during job searches, but throughout your entire career trajectory. 

Let’s explore the top three methods for curating a professional network.  

3 Ways to Build Your Professional Network in Canada  

When you learn how to network and become fearless in asking for what you want, you can become unstoppable. Below are three ways to conquer professional networking.  

1. Master the Informational Interview Also Known as “The Coffee Chat” 

In the past, networking strictly occurred in professional conferences and settings. Not anymore, thanks to coffee chats!  

A coffee chat is aimed at learning and absorbing information from a professional in your desired field. These tend to be more casual, designed to chat about career paths, ask for advice, and establish a lasting, strong connection.  

To begin, approach intended professionals on LinkedIn, via email, or ask for a mutual connection to facilitate the introduction. Remain professional, and clearly explain the reason for the meeting and how it can be mutually beneficial. If it’s a virtual coffee chat, send them a calendar invite. 

Next, it’s time to put on your journalist hat! Coming from a curious approach, you should research and show up prepared (and on time!) for the informal interview. It’s wise to have a few questions ready, such as:  

  • Where did your career start? 
  • What was the biggest learning curve when you began your position? 
  • Who or what has inspired your career the most?  
  • When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing?  
  • What is something you do not enjoy about your role? 
  • How do you personally prevent burnout and remain motivated?  
  • What school did you attend?  
  • What’s your advice for someone wanting to break into your company? 

Politely monitor the time and respectfully wrap things up around the 30-minute mark. Canadians en masse are extremely polite, so prioritize a grateful follow-up, sincerely thanking them for their time and knowledge. To stand out further, you can handwrite a thank you card.  

If this method makes you nervous, refocus the nerves by thinking about your future, when it’s your inbox bursting with requests to meet you for a coffee chat, inspiring and educating the next person! Let that energy propel you forward in sending that message.  

2. Volunteering Within Your Field 

Did you know that nearly four out of five Canadians volunteer!? Tap into this community to engage, connect, and share valuable experiences with like-minded professionals—almost like a philanthropic internship. 

Whether working on projects, fundraising, or attending events, volunteering allows you to collaborate with diverse professionals, each equipped with invaluable knowledge and exciting connections. These connections can be supportive and encouraging, while simultaneously being a valuable resource for your personal growth and development. If nurtured over time, these relationships can even lead to mentorship opportunities, referrals, or endorsements. 

Volunteering is full of wins! Not only are you mingling with industry people, developing new skills, and making a difference, but it will help you to stand out professionally.  

Volunteering demonstrates a proactive hunger for professional growth and for making a positive impact. Candidates with social responsibility are increasingly valuable for employers, making volunteer work a strong asset. 

You’ve likely heard the adage: success hinges not solely on what you know, but on who you know. Cultivating meaningful connections through volunteering can set you up for personal and professional success and advancement.  

3. Leverage Your MBA Alumni  

Speaking of “it’s who you know”… don’t forget about your classmates!  

Connecting with your MBA alumni group can be incredibly beneficial for expanding your professional relationships. A significant 70% of research done by the Graduate Management Admissions Council stated that their MBA supported them in achieving both personal and financial milestones. Additionally, nearly two-thirds reported moving up at least one job level after earning their degree. A study from 2023 highlights that the majority of CEOs obtained a Master of Business Administration. Pursuing an MBA can unlock new opportunities and fast-track your career, especially in today’s competitive job landscape. 

Here’s how to best leverage your MBA alumni network:   

  • Sign up for your MBA alumni newsletter. These emails are treasure troves for events such as mixers, industry panels, workshops, and social events, allowing you to reconnect with former classmates, meet new alumni, and grow your community. 
  • Follow online alumni pages. Social media platforms from your MBA program are where you can connect and share resources including discussions, job opportunities, industry trends, and upcoming events.  
  • Look up the alumni directory. Look into your MBA’s alumni directory to get in touch with alumni working in your industry or location, then send them personalized messages introducing yourself, expressing your interest in connecting, and requesting an informational interview.  
  • Get support from the alumni career services: Many MBA alumni groups offer career services for alumni, including job boards, and career counseling sessions. Take advantage of these resources to enhance your job search strategy, polish your professional brand, and gain insights into the Canadian job market.

An alumni group is almost like a secret alliance. When you earn a degree at The Australian Institute of Business (AIB) you get the key to unlock an extraordinary alumni network, with more than 16,000 business school graduates spanning over 95 countries, collectively holding over 24,000 qualifications.  

AIB hosts meet-ups in Canada’s major cities for alumni to network and provides opportunities for collaboration with the global community through industry panels, digital publications and peer career support initiatives. Tap into this incredible community today to be fully immersed in a global network of high achievers, with representation across Canada’s major industries and sectors. This community is where success knows no bounds, and opportunities abound.  

Do you want to gain access to this exclusive alumni network? Click here today to learn more about how an MBA with AIB can change your life.   

*The Australian Institute of Business (AIB) is Australia’s largest provider of MBAs. Source Ready, B. (2023) Domestic Enrolments Surged During COVID After International Students Locked Out, MBA News. Available at: MBA News.