The past year has brought about more changes to our professional lives than ever thought possible. Remote interviews and meetings transitioned from mere convenience to necessity, employees are working from home in record numbers, and many industries have had to shift their entire business model to stay afloat. One area of change which overlaps both our professional and personal lives is in how we network.
It’s been estimated that 85% of all jobs are filled as a result of networking. Unable to attend the conferences and meet-up events we once relied on, your professional growth depends on finding new ways to connect. Even if you’re not currently job searching, the benefits of a wide-reaching network can’t be overstated. With that in mind, we’ve prepared 5 essential tips for successful remote networking.
Dust Off Your Online Profiles
With new social media platforms seemingly popping up daily, it’s all too easy to get burned out. We’re generally aware of the importance of having profiles on platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook, but many of us are guilty of taking a “set it and forget it” approach. It may be acceptable to use these channels as nothing more than virtual business cards under normal circumstances, but our current situation is far from normal. With most interactions relegated to the internet these days, social media is a prime area of opportunity for making new connections.
There are a many reasons why you should take some time to revitalize your social channels. The most obvious of these is the importance of having up to date information. Has your position at work changed? Your profile should reflect this. Completed a certification course in your field? Update your list of credentials on LinkedIn. Your social profiles should serve as an up to date record of your experience, not a time capsule.
Following up on this, all social media platforms tend to share one common principle; active users are heavily favored. Profiles with recent activity, be it an updated CV or a shared post, are more likely to appear in new contact suggestions. Simply put, the more you use and update your social channels, the higher the likelihood of getting noticed.
Leverage Your Existing Network
If the six degrees of separation theory is to be believed, we are never more than five mutual connections away from anyone in the world. Now, it may not always be that easy in practice, but you never know what connections your existing network could leverage on your behalf. A message to the right person or a well-written public post could be all it takes to get you a warm introduction or a promising lead.
Reaching out to someone you know well or talk to often is a simple process. However, if you aren’t all that close or haven’t spoken in a while, it might feel awkward to come out of nowhere with a request for an introduction. One easy way to bridge this gap is with a thoughtful comment on one of their social posts. For example, if they recently published an article on LinkedIn, sending a message that explains what you found interesting about it is a great way to open the lines of communication and break the ice.
Be Open to Learning New Tech
Thinking back just one year ago, how many of us knew what Zoom was, let alone how to use it? In that time, it’s grown from a rather niche program to an essential business tool. Since then, countless new technologies have sprung up to revolutionize the way we connect with the world. To step back and look at it, the number of communication platforms at our disposal is downright overwhelming.
With so many options available, it’s easy to get complacent and single out one as the only communication platform you will use. However, like anything else in life, your favorite may not align with everyone else’s, no matter how popular your choice is or obscure there’s might be. That’s not to say you need to sign up for every new communication service that hits the market, but be willing to try alternatives. You’ll open yourself up to new connection possibilities and maybe even discover some game-changing tools in the process.
Join a Digital Community
Industry meet-up events have long been an invaluable resource for expanding one’s professional network. However, like so many other in-person gatherings, social distancing has forced us to change the way they operate. While not entirely seamless, carefully moderated virtual events can serve as a temporary replacement. Not only are they safer, they’re also free from geographical restrictions, allowing you to connect with professionals in similar fields from around the world.
The best way to socialize with others in your industry is by joining a digital community. This could be a simple posting forum like LinkedIn Groups, or more of an instantaneous chatroom like Slack Communities. One digital community that’s currently taking the social networking world by storm is Clubhouse. This voice-based chat app allows users to host or join conversations covering every topic imaginable. Although it is invite only at the time of writing, it currently boasts millions of members, many of whom are influential figures in the tech industry.
Share What You Know
Social media and the wider internet are already brimming with self-serving posts. It’s entirely justifiable that you want your networking to advance your career goals, but viewing it solely through this lens might not be the best approach. Rather than centering your outreach around how others can help you, stand out from the crowd by asking how you can help them. Take a look at your social media feeds and see what common questions or issues people are encountering. By offering to help or sharing your knowledge on a topic, you’ll add value to your network and cause others to take notice.
Well-written LinkedIn articles or industry-related YouTube videos are a great way to share your expertise with a wider audience and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field. For a more modern approach, consider hosting a virtual event on a platform like Eventbrite and encourage your existing network to invite others who may be interested. In doing so, you are creating a conversation around topics that matter in your industry, which will undoubtedly lead to new connections.
Socially Distant, But Not Disconnected
The way we network has changed, but those who can embrace these changes will be better for it. No longer limited to in-person events, a new world of connections is now open to you. Whether you’re searching for your new career or looking to hire talented professionals, our global network of recruiters is ready to help you make that connection.