How to build your professional network in Cape Tow

professional networking
Updated 2019-10-04 09:39

Have you just been posted to Cape Town? Perhaps you have finished your studies and want to try your luck in what is often seen as one of the last Eldorados of the world? Have you decided to change your life and reinvent yourself by living in Cape Town? Here are some tips to accompany your new life.

In our article "How to develop your social circle", we give you some ideas to help you find a buzzing social life in Cape Town and how to integrate best into different social circles. Naturally, these same tips are applicable to the professional field too!

As with personal circles, developing a professional network requires time, patience, commitment and a little creativity! To help, here are some additional tips, specially adapted to the world of work.

Networking at your workplace

If you have been transferred to Cape Town, steps can be made naturally enough through your company network: this is the ideal place to create professional connections. You will probably need some time to integrate - Capetonians are friendly and warm, but it can be difficult to make a deeper connection as their family circles, school network, friends and professional connections are established and well-rooted. Take small steps. Propose lunch together or even a dinner at home for colleagues with whom you get along best.

Sport can be a great way to break the ice with colleagues: golf, tennis and surfing are often practised here among business leaders and executives.

Popular networking events in Cape Town

Depending on your field and your position, don't miss the social events in Cape Town that may be of interest to you: The Jazz Festival in February, The Polo Clicquot in March, the Franschhoek Champagne Festival in November, and many others.

You may also want to consider the very select international private clubs like Rotary or Lions. Don't hesitate to contact the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Town which regularly organises informative conferences and can really help boost your network.

Finally, don't forget, for some executives, there is the possibility of being appointed Foreign Trade Advisor: this is a voluntary position, but can be effective enough to develop your relationship.

If you have come to Cape Town without a specific job, are on the job-hunt, or are planning to start your own business, there are several possibilities.

Contact the MAZARS French Desk, a real professional integration tool for Cape Francophones, who can assist you with legal matters and business creation, but also direct you to the right providers on all visa issues. Often, the most difficult thing in Cape Town is not finding a job or start a business, but obtaining the necessary work permit, as South African legislation in this area has been tightened over the last few years.

French Tech and Cap40 offer regular conferences and round-tables, useful when you are starting a business or looking for a job in Cape Town. They can also assist you with your research.

If you are looking for a "classic" job, contact these two "French friendly" recruitment firms: Polyglot Group and ADEPT Recruitment

Think about an advertisement on Facebook groups such as "French Cape" and "Young French Cape": they are responsive and bring great value in terms of information and solidarity: a great way to circulate your CV.

You can also contact Internafrika, a trainee placement service: luckily, French workers have a good reputation.

Expat networks in Cape Town

Depending on your personal situation, it may be useful to approach French or English-speaking expat networks, which, though they may not be able to offer concrete solutions, can often give great advice or point you in the right direction. Consider ExpatValue and the Forum to get you started.

Coworking spaces in Cape Town

Finally, an interesting option is that of coworking or renting a workspace amongst those in a similar situation: you will find a good professional mix, meetings, positive conversations, etc. These hubs are full of information and resources and are ideal for developing your network. Work & Co, located on Bree Street in the city centre and run by a Frenchman, is probably the best current proposal in Cape Town.

Good luck!

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