Talent Acquisition Specialist Jonathan Pavan shares how we can tap into our professional networks with authentic togetherness
Last week I had the opportunity to attend QueerTech’s QT Qonference as one of two speakers for a session on networking — “All in a Day’s (Net)work.” The conference took place in a hybrid format this year, and it allowed me to bring my full self, including my role as a Talent Acquisition Specialist and my queerness as a co-lead of Rainbow 6ix. The latter is Toronto’s local chapter of the Ubisoft UbiProud Employee Resource Group (ERG), committed to fostering inclusion of 2SLGBTQ+ people at Ubisoft Toronto.
QueerTech brought people of the 2SLGBTQ+ community as well as allies together to authentically and vulnerably talk about their queerness and how it intersects with a variety of areas from a sense of self to mental health. Having the opportunity to speak in person and virtually to people from all walks of life on a topic near and dear to my heart was really something.
Read on to learn more about the nuances of networking from a talent acquisition and inclusivity lens.
What is Networking?
Networking, defined by Merriam-Webster, is “the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” But its reaches go far beyond this.
A network or people connection can be…
- Personal or professional
- Ranging from family to colleagues
- In degree of familiarity
- First degrees are already integrated within your life, where as second degree connections are the people your network are connected to.
- You may want to engage your first degree network at access second and third degree folx.
It is for everyone, be it if you are an introvert, extravert, or ambivert. Networking is proactive and reactive, depending on who is aiming to network.
In networking instances recall the following:
Networking can happen at any time, or be leveraged with at any point with people you have met. Each networking instance is inherently unique. You may be more novice or advanced in networking, but I recommend always remember to:
- Be Prepared: Practice makes comfortable. Networking can happen in planned or ad hoc situations in our ever-changing hybrid environment. Stay in the know and come into networking moments with a receptive frame of mind and growth mindset.
- Be Genuine: A sense of togetherness can be built from showing vested interest in the people you interact with. You may be able to build accelerated, genuine rapport by actively listening. Understand your truth when people are trying to network with you, think how to best represent yourself in a way you are comfortable. Stay authentically you.
- Be Focused: Quality or Quantity? That is a question to consider. Rather, focus on zoom. For zeroing in, you can go in with an understanding of a win in mind. Zooming out, on the other hand allows us to think outside the box or think big. This can be a small or stretch goal, just ensure to go into conversations with intent.
- Be Mindful: What is in it for them? Being mindful in networking can come in a few forms. You want to be mindful of individual’s time and attention, as they may be spread. Ensure to appropriately read the room through inclusive language, thinking ahead, and understanding people’s reasoning to (or to not) network. Have balance in your conversations of how much each person is talking, ensure there is space for all parties to be engaged and talk. It may be most important of all, be mindful to yourself and your capacity to network.
- Be Memorable: Impressions can mean a lot, so how can you amplify resonance? Lean into your uniqueness. Make it count though by prioritizing topics that fit into the flow of conversation, as you may only have limited time to speak together. Ensure to keep your outlook positive and solution oriented. Leave those who talk to with a yearning for more. That can be through using the marketing technique of social currency, and the value of what you say to influence social behaviour. Be strategic how you plant these social seeds to be utilized effectively. Tread lightly to not peacock in conversations, where it can be perceived as being showy or excessive.
- Be Nurturing: Always see how you can keep your first-degree connections warm. You are never one and done in networking. Have concrete takeaways from networking, such as a timeline. To be ongoing, let the connection blossom with tailored messages and mindful frequency to not let connections get cold. You may also want to keep top of mind with indirect communication with your presence on platforms you and your network share.
Building a more inclusive tech and gaming community with QueerTech
QueerTech is a Canadian non-profit organization that breaks down barriers and empowers 2SLGBTQ+ individuals in tech to achieve their personal and professional goals, feel a sense of belonging and thrive in the tech industry with pride.
Its mission to “queer the tech ecosystem” is driven not only by a desire to have greater representation in the tech industry, but also to ensure that the jobs queer people are finding will be safe and secure no matter how someone identifies. Their initiatives provide career opportunities, build capacity, create safe spaces and offer support in ways that recognize and augment 2SLGBTQ+ voices.
We’re committed to creating a work environment that reflects the diversity of our gaming community, and respects the identities and experiences of individuals on our team.
Interested in being a part of our team? Visit our career page!