The more people you know, the more employment opportunities will come your way.
That’s the reason behind PEI Network, a program from the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce. The service helps new graduates and new Islanders make connections with the business community that could lead to employment.
The program focuses on three groups:
- New immigrants to PEI who have come here with skills, education, and good language skills. “But what they don’t have is a professional network,” says Alana Walsh, Program Manager, PEI Network. “We help them establish a network on PEI of people who can lead them to employment opportunities.”
- Islanders who have moved back to PEI. “As Vivian Beer from the PEI BioAlliance says, they are looking to establish a ‘legacy career’, build on their skills and experience, and find meaningful work.”
- New graduates, both domestic and international, who need to establish relationships with people who may be able to advance their careers.
The traditional way to find employment is to look through job listings and email your resumé and cover letter. However, employers often fill positions through their network of connections.
“When I moved here in 2002, I was told to become part of the community,” says Nindiya Sharma, Marketing and Program Officer, PEI Network. “I volunteered with United Way of PEI, which helped grow my professional network, and I got to see how the Canadian culture works.
“Besides getting a good education, job seekers need to meet people who can give advice and help them meet others in the community. There are a lot of opportunities for new immigrants and international students on PEI, but many don’t know about the possibilities for employment.”
“The role of PEI Network is to open doors,” says Alana. “It can be difficult to do a cold call to ask for advice or a meeting. We do that for them. We speak to the immigrant, Islander who has returned or new grad, find out a bit about them, and then introduce them to someone in their field. We can draw on a network of up to 18,000 individuals connected to the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce.
“The Connectee meets the Connector to ask questions and get a perspective on what it is like to live and work on PEI. We encourage connectees to speak to multiple people this way. As our CEO, Penny Walsh McGuire, says, this process gives resumés lift. An unfamiliar name becomes familiar.”
Alana encourages job seekers to attend chamber mixers and other events, and to use LinkedIn to expand their network.
“Those willing to meet with our Connectees want to expand their own networks, and they know there is a shortage of skilled labour here on PEI,” says Nindiya.
“Connectors come from many different industries, such as construction, bioscience, and aerospace.”
The program has been running for a year, and now some Connectees are helping other new Islanders connect with the business community.
“When you look for a job, you need a great resumé, be talented and personable, interview well, perhaps pass written tests, and maintain your network,” says Alana.
“If you have a good network, do good work, and keep authentic relationships going, your network will take care of you.”
New and returning Islanders and recent graduates want to connect with employers and those interested in meeting new talent can sign up online at www.peinetwork.ca.
For more information about PEI Network, call 902-628-2000 ext. 255 or email [email protected].