We are being forced into a world where in-person, face-to-face contact will be limited. Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t network. It just means that you’ll need to use different and sometimes new tools to build relationships.
Networking is networking. As long as you have the right mindset – before any networking situation and every conversation your primary mission is to be thinking:
WHO AND HOW CAN I HELP?
Notice this isn’t about who can help you. Because when you network with a “me first” attitude, it comes across as pushy or self-serving.
The “me first” mindset is also the reason many people feel like networking is fake and makes them feel uncomfortable/yucky.
Networking virtually or in-person is about building mutually beneficial relationships. Both parties walk away feeling like they’ve gained something.
That’s what you want to accomplish.
Nurture Existing Relationships
Start reaching out to people you already know – your close friends, family, and colleagues. It’s easier and you’ll build your confidence.
Plus, now is the perfect time to check in on people you care about. Don’t be afraid to make your outreach personal by asking how they are doing and adjusting to the current situation.
Email and phone are still the best way to reach people. Don’t rely on LinkedIn messaging because most people log in less than weekly. (Pew Research, 2016) Pew’s 2019 research didn’t include LinkedIn data, however noted that there wasn’t much change since 2016.
By looking at this chart, I hope see the possible opportunities of networking virtually on Facebook and other social platforms too!
Here are tips to help you make the most of networking across Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. How To Use Social Networks to…Network
Grow New Relationships
Meeting new people online isn’t as hard as you may think. But you do want to have a plan. There are two ways to meet new people – strategically and serendipitously.
First, ask yourself who you want/need to meet. These are your strategic targets. They may work in companies you are interested in or hold a position like the one you are interested in.
Next, be open to the idea of randomly meeting people. You may share a common interest, a common connection or some other commonality like you attended the same university, live in the same city, or attended the same conference.
Allocate Time To Network Online
Here’s how to invest just 30 minutes a day to networking online using LinkedIn:
- Skim your LinkedIn homefeed to see what’s being shared
- Comment on interesting articles related to your industry or type of job you are looking for
- Re-share articles that relate to your career (but always write something to explain why you are sharing the article)
- View your notifications for birthdays or work anniversaries and send those connections a message on LinkedIn
- Find new companies of interest to follow
- Track down employees who might be able to refer you for a job you are interested in
- Look for people you may know but haven’t connected with yet.
Marc Miller of CareerPivot and I talked about the tips and tricks for networking virtually on his Repurpose Your Career podcast episode #135.
More Tools and Places To Network Virtually
Many networking events that were offered in physical locations are now moving online. Check out the event page to see if there’s a link to an online event.
Zoom – video conferencing (can be used with voice only)
LinkedIn Live – be on the lookout for Live broadcasts on LinkedIn
Facebook Live – “like” the pages of your favorite companies to see what they are doing on Facebook (or host your own Facebook Live) Career Sherpa is Live on Mondays at Noon ET.
Look for discussions on Reddit, Twitter and Instagram.
Remote Work Resources
Are you looking for training to help you manage your new remote working situation?
FlexJobs just made their LinkedIn Learning class free. Working Remotely
LinkedIn Learning shared this New to Working Remotely? These Resources Can Help
To learn more about job search strategies, check out these articles on CareerSherpa.net
- 6 Types of Networking Activities You Need To Land A Job
- Network Online and In-Person for Best Results
- 31 Tips for Your 2019 Job Search (from the pros)