It is widely accepted that professional success cannot be achieved alone. Not only is networking essential, investing in your professional and personal relationships pays you back in dividends throughout the course of your career. The benefits of networking are endless, from expanding your skillset to improving your knowledge to helping you find and secure new job opportunities. But amid the coronavirus, many are wondering how to grow their network and keep in touch with their current network.
While it may seem like the lack of face-to-face opportunities means the end of meaningful connections, virtual networking platforms, such as LinkedIn, were widely used to connect with others long before the coronavirus pandemic. Networking from home is not only possible but convenient. Those who found networking draining and dreadful might even see virtual networking as a pleasant alternative to making small talk with strangers at yet another industry event.
- Make an Effort: LinkedIn, Slack, Facebook, and other social networks are a great place to go beyond your immediate connections. Joining professional groups that are relevant to you allows you to gain valuable industry insight and gain exposure to work opportunities. As life goes online, groups like these are people’s main source of connection and those who might have been too busy to participate are more active.
- Say Yes to Online Events: In-person events are no longer an option, but online ones are! There are countless webinars out there, focused on anything from marketing, to finance, to business leadership, and, of course, networking. Eventbrite is a great tool for finding online events from all over the world. At the end of a webinar or event, it is helpful to ask a meaningful question. This might facilitate further communication with the host and other attendants.
- Polish Your Profiles: Make sure that your resume, LinkedIn, and whatever other informational materials you have are up to date. Spend time thinking about your career goals so you can clearly package yourself to secure the position you want. Join clubs, groups, and organizations centered around your goal field and role to gain valuable connections.
- Host Your Own E-vent: If you have specific professional skills or industry insights that you want to share, lead a webinar on the topic. It gets your name out there while also highlighting your business expertise. If you work within a company, particularly a larger sized organization, consider hosting an online social event within your company.
- Use What You’ve Got: You likely already have a network of coworkers, mentors, colleagues, etc. Over time it is easy to lose track of where so-and-so works, what their skills are if they’ve changed careers, etc. Keep in touch with the network you already have. If you need to learn a specific new skill or venture into a new field, chances are they can help or know someone who can.