Networking with professionals in your industry is intimidating as is, let alone when you’re navigating it with potential language barriers and cultural differences. For Hispanic and Latinx professionals who have recently immigrated to the United States, networking can offer new and exciting employment opportunities and access to quality career-related advice.
Though networking in a new country can be intimidating at first, it won’t be for long once you put the following tips into action. Remember, career networking can get your experience and skills in front of the right employer.
Here are some helpful networking tips for newly immigrated Hispanic and Latinx professionals to use in today’s modern job market (and why they’re useful):
Interpersonal skills include how you communicate with others, so this is going to be something you’re going to want to enhance before you start networking. In other words, take some time now to get comfortable with the idea of pitching yourself.
Though you may be able to relay what you do and what your skills are to your close friends and family, doing so in front of strangers isn’t always easy. And, unfortunately, this is a huge part of networking!
But don’t worry – you can hone your interpersonal skills by determining what you have to offer employers and practicing your elevator pitch and small talk skills. Don’t be afraid to have fun with this. Try answering questions in front of a mirror or practicing fake interviews in your living room.
Though they may sound like funny tips, the more you can practice this stuff out loud, the more confident you’ll become. It’s easier to figure out what details you should omit and what to keep when you hear yourself out loud. After all, everything tends to sound better when we just practice in our head.
One of the easiest and most efficient ways to connect with industry professionals is to attend a local job fair.
Job fairs allow you to meet professionals from all types of industries and learn about the positions they currently have available, which can range from entry-level to executive. For Latinx professionals who recently immigrated to the United States, you may want to check out Hispanic-based and centered job fairs.
For example, Prospanica offers virtual job fairs for Latinx professionals, as does the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, which gets you in front of employers looking to hire new staff. A quick Google search for “Latinx job fairs” will yield a ton of results, including in-person and virtual events that are designed to help the Hispanic community connect with recruiters and employers.
Even if your resume isn’t chosen now, the connections you make at these events may result in a call later down the line.
Though networking will be used to advance your career, it doesn’t always have to be done in a professional setting like the job fairs mentioned above. Remember, networking is all about making genuine connections with people, and what better way to do that than by volunteering in your community?
When employers hire a new candidate, that person’s educational background, skills, and experience only account for part of the hiring decision. The other half has to do with hiring someone who they think will work well within the team dynamic and one way to get to know more about someone’s personality and interests is to see if they volunteer and where.
For example, if you volunteer at an animal shelter and apply at a vet’s office or groomer, your love for animals will already be demonstrated on your resume. This is good news for you considering that employers are more than 80% likely to hire applicants with volunteer experience, especially if it’s relevant to their industry.
Most of all, volunteering allows you to get to know people in your community. So if you want to start a career working with animals, for example, volunteering at a local shelter gets you in touch with people who may already be working in that industry who can refer you for the next job opening. This applies to every industry!
Entering a new country can be both exciting and scary, so knowing where you can turn for resources, advocacy programs, and people who can relate to what you’re going through can be a huge help while you’re getting acclimated.
What’s so great about these groups is that they allow you to get comfortable in a new culture in a non-intimidating setting. These groups even offer classes that can help you hone your networking skills. Furthermore, other members of the group may be able to offer advice on how they got started with their own networking journey. You might find their personal accounts extremely helpful!
The United States is a melting pot of different cultures, including language. As a Hispanic/Latinx immigrant to this country, you’ll find that your ability to speak a different language will give you an advantage in the workplace, as bilingual skills are one of the most sought-after soft skills employers look for. In fact, bilingual speakers will generally have an easier time landing jobs than other applicants in certain industries, such as healthcare, education, human resources, hospitality, and customer service. Why? Because these industries tend to be very client-facing, and as such, the ability to help diverse customers is beneficial.
While your native tongue offers you many benefits in the workplace, it can’t be overlooked that the United States is a predominantly English-speaking country. As such, improving your English will help you communicate with industry professionals, both in and out of the workplace.
Many local immigration centers can help you take English language classes for free, so use these to your advantage to make your networking journey easier.
With the Right Networking Tips, Navigating a New Country and Culture Doesn’t Have to Be Scary!
The bottom line is that when you’re immigrating to a new country, doing anything that gets you around people can help you network. Whether you’re taking a class to learn the culture and practice English as a second language or volunteering, you’re still exposing yourself to new people who may have connections you can use to your advantage.
After all, when it comes to getting a job, it’s not always about what you know…but who you know. With these tips, you can find the right resources that can help you hone your interpersonal skills and network with people from the community who can help you locate employment opportunities and advance your career.