Networking is an essential part of the job search process. But, networking is changing!
Prior to COVID-19, remote networking opportunities were an option. Now, these opportunities are essential.
Whether you're trying to move your career forward or making a career change, the need for networking opportunities never slows down. Since remote networking is going to be the only game in town for a while, here are the basics for being successful at it:
Get Familiar With LinkedIn
Most professionals have a LinkedIn profile, but not everyone actively uses it. Well, if there was ever an opportunity to start using it, now is the time.
Using LinkedIn is a great way to keep up with industry trends and catch up with your professional network. Most importantly, connections you make on LinkedIn could someday prove vital to your career.
For example, a person looking to break into the online marketing industry may need some advice on how to position themselves to make the career change. By utilizing your professional network or the professional network of one of your connections, you may be able to identify someone that works in the industry—maybe even for one of your bucket list companies—that could provide you with some career advice.
Having a mutual friend make an introduction would be ideal, at which point you could easily make the connection and see if this person would be interested in talking with you about the industry. Otherwise, you'll want to make the connection on your own by sending a personalized connection request.
In the connection request, mention that you've never met before, but reference a mutual friend or something that you have in common. You can also say that you discovered them by researching the industry and you admire their work. Then politely ask them to connect.
If a person declines your request or doesn't respond, don't take it personally! People are busy, and there are some people who may be trying to control the size of their network.
If a person accepts the request, thank them and let a little bit of time pass before asking them if they'd be interested in connecting to talk about the industry. Once again, if they decline, don't take it personally. Some are willing to share their experiences; others aren't.
Embrace Virtual Networking
With many working from home as a result of COVID-19, people are starting to get used to having virtual meetings via Zoom or other video conferencing platforms. Virtual interviewing was also on the rise before COVID-19, and now has become the norm.
Virtual is also the new normal for networking. You'll start to see some large-scale networking events being organized, while those looking to meet up with LinkedIn connections will have to do so via computer or by exchanging messages.
While the means of connection are different, the same networking rules apply. It's important to dress professionally and make sure that the conversations don't become one-sided. You're not the only person trying to gain something from networking, so make sure to offer just as much advice as you get.
Beyond the typical networking events, try to think outside of the box. You could host your own virtual meet-up where you and fellow colleagues talk about industry trends or projects that you're working on, and share some laughs. This is still networking, but in a less formal virtual setting.
In some ways the virtual setting opens up more opportunities for networking. People may be more willing to take advantage of these opportunities from the comfort of their own homes.
Stay Active And Relevant
It's actually very easy to stay relevant to your professional network. Not only can you share articles on LinkedIn, but you can write your own. You can also create a video.
In addition to creating your own content, you can share the content created by people in your network or others you respect. Comment on some of these posts and get a discussion going.
All of these steps seem simple, but it all adds up. It's all about starting a dialogue and moving conversations forward. This not only gets your name out in front people, but you're serving your network by propping others up as well.
Are looking for additional ways to stay relevant within your network? Check out this episode of the "JT Talks Jobs" podcast.
Did you know that you can network on Work It Daily?Join today and you'll not only have access to one-on-one coaching, courses, and resume and LinkedIn reviews, but you can also network with like-minded people also going through the job search process.
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