Building a professional network

Finding a job in Vietnam can be more complicated than in France or some other European countries. There are popular online job websites, recruitment companies, and international job fairs. However, word-of-mouth and personal connections often have a much larger role in successful job searches.

The international contingent in Vietnam might be large, with more than one hundred thousand foreign nationals working here. But it is also concentrated in certain cities such as the capital Hanoi, the commercial center of Ho Chi Minh, the tech hub of Da Nang, and industrial zones like Binh Duong and Dong Nai in the Mekong Delta. It is also tight-knit, with people coalescing around certain communities within these cities such as Thao Dien and District 7 in Ho Chi Minh and Ba Dinh in Hanoi.

These communities are often described as bubbles. But this concentration makes it much easier to build personal and professional networks and meet people who share similar interests and work in similar industries. And these connections can open doors to new job opportunities that might not be advertised elsewhere.

Tap into existing networks

Building a new professional network from scratch can be a daunting task. Foreign embassies, chambers of commerce, and social groups hold informal networking events which can make this process easier. For instance, CCIFV organizes a "Cocktail de Rentrée" in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, as well as a welcome seminar, to welcome new members and facilitate meetings within our business community. We also hold events centered around specific issues, such as our CSR and environmental initiatives, or sectors, like our recent event on data management in healthcare. These events provide fantastic opportunities to meet new people in an informal and welcoming environment and build new networks.

These networks can be invaluable when new career opportunities arise. Job adverts will often be posted online, however, having a personal relationship with people in these companies will help to get a much-needed insight into their culture and working environment. This can be helpful during the interview process and to make sure the job is the right ‘fit’. Meanwhile, professional networks can often open the door to short-term consulting work which might not otherwise be advertised.

Three tips for a successful networking event

  • Bring business cards: It might be a bit of a throwback, but business cards still have an important role in Vietnam. Giving and receiving business cards is an almost ceremonial gesture, with the card being presented and accepted with both hands. Meanwhile, some senior business leaders might be less familiar with LinkedIn and social media. So, be sure to have business cards on hand to make those new contacts memorable.
  • Work the room: It can be tempting to spend the entire evening speaking to old acquaintances. But the whole point of a networking event is to meet new people. So, step out of that comfort zone and make some new contacts. For instance, don’t be afraid to approach a new group. Your business card can be a good icebreaker to join their conversation.
  • Observe etiquette: Networking events can be quite transactional. We are all there to make new connections and build new relationships. But don’t spend the evening looking over someone’s shoulder in case a more ‘important’ person enters the room. And, while networking events can be a great ‘shop window’ to promote ourselves, remember to ask about other people’s careers, companies, and aspirations.

Join CCIFV Events


CCIFV hosts over 60 events throughout the year, bringing together almost five thousand participants to network, learn, advocate, and celebrate together. Check out our website or social media pages for the latest events and opportunities to build a new network in Vietnam.

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Open to all, you can also take part in various seminars, trainings, workshops or networkings throughout the year and bring the French business community in Vietnam to life from the inside.

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