Torrential rain. I check my online agenda. Today I have a meetup after work in an unknown place downtown. I hold my breath to cross the city with this horrendous rain. This type of meetup is called 5 to 7 (5à7) because it lasts literally from 5 pm to 7 pm or even later. It’s basically an outside work activity. You have to socialize with people who usually have something in common with you, wich could be literally anything. Maybe a cultural o professional interest, or just the wish to meet some new interesting people. It is, in a way like “the bar scene” but with the sole purpose of making new friendships.
In my case, since I am introverted to a ridiculous level (and people do not believe me!), it is almost a torture that I undergo too frequently. I have a good reason to do it: this is the only way to access the hidden job market of the city, which makes for almost the 80% of the job offers. See the challenge? If you don’t know anybody, you just have to keep applying those job ads from several well-known websites with ridiculous possibilities to be hired or even interviewed. Most of these jobs ads in are in the spirit of “okay, we don’t have a clue about people who can /may like to do this job, so please apply and good luck.” Nevertheless, the hidden job market (or HJM as I’ll call it from here on) holds those dream jobs where people can shine and make themselves a name in any local industry. You just arrive there by recommendation, with references from your connections: people from your network.
Some German tourist I met some time ago said she was amazed by how people were networking here, even in meetups not business related. “What is the meaning to give your card to someone who you just meet?”, she says. I hadn’t had the time to explain to her all the stuff about the HJM and all that it means in a culture like this. I was already busy trying to find someone who can recommend me to some another who will know some other who will need an employee with my skills. I sipped my Gin & Tonic and discreetly ran away to some other group where to interact. Here we go again, I said to myself, jumping to the next target. Do I mimetic myself in such short time to this culture?
Whatever, this event makes me discover the city. The Centre Ville, its nerve center, full of fancy and funny bars, one better than the other. Some of those places are ultra chic, where you can only afford a drink that will be boiling in you hand the whole night; others are modest pubs open to all public, where once in a while you can find someone who just came for a drink and found people networking and did not mind at all the mistake, so the conversation begins like “hi, how are you, what do you do for a living, when did you come to Canada…?”
Ps. This could be your main resource if you just arrived in Canada and want to do networking. Internations.com