Everyone knows how important networking is for your career. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our attitudes and strategies surrounding networking have changed.
The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic not only changed how we work and interview, but also how we connect with others. Networking is all about making connections with new people, so of course we saw a change in this area as well.
Here are three ways COVID-19 has changed networking, and how to get the most out of your networking efforts with these changes in mind.
A Change In How We Network
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 61% of people attended career fairs as their primary way to network, according to a recent study. Obviously, in-person events like career fairs couldn't happen due to COVID-19, so professionals were forced to adjust their networking strategies to adapt to the circumstances.
Now, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, most professionals are primarily using platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn to build and nurture their professional networks. While online networking has always been popular, now that it's at the forefront, that may be compelling individuals to pay closer attention to their online networking strategy and be more intentional and consistent about their networking efforts.
What you can do: Make sure you're spending enough time networking online to make up for the lack of in-person networking opportunities in today's current climate.
A Change In How Many Networking Opportunities We Have Access To
Another change to networking brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is the number of networking opportunities available to us. Because of the increased emphasis on online and virtual networking strategies and events, more than 7 in 10 people say COVID-19 has increased their access to networking opportunities, according to the study mentioned above.
Anyone can attend online and virtual events. Where you live no longer limits your ability to attend and participate in the networking events that were once in-person events. Also, if everyone is online trying to build their professional networks instead of attending in-person events, there will be a greater amount of opportunities to network and make connections with new people in this way.
What you can do: Find out if any in-person career fairs or other networking events you used to go to are now online, and use that opportunity to attend virtually.
A Change In Our Opinions About Networking
Lastly, COVID-19 has changed how we think about networking. According to the study referenced above, 40% of people say the COVID-19 pandemic has changed networking for the better.
It's no secret that a lot of people hate networking. With an increase in networking opportunities and the ability to network with anyone from anywhere, perhaps we are starting to realize that networking really isn't so bad after all. It also probably doesn't hurt that networking from the comfort of our own homes has been normalized, taking a lot of pressure off of us to attend in-person networking events, which take a lot more time and energy.
What you can do: If you hate networking, or haven't made networking a priority in your career lately, give online/virtual networking events a try. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy them!
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot about our daily lives, including how we network. As you continue to build and nurture your professional network, keep these three changes in mind. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and adjust your current networking strategy for better results!
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