It’s no secret that one of the best ways to build your brand and get ahead in your career is by networking. In fact, a survey by LinkedIn revealed that in 2016, 70% of the people hired that year had a connection within the company. But networking can be a lot more daunting when you’re forced to stay at home due to a global pandemic. Fortunately, in this digital age, physical barriers are a thing of the past. That’s why we’ve come up with three effective ways to continue networking while under quarantine.
1. Nurture Existing Relationships
When talking about networking, we often think about meeting new people, but per Duke Today, it’s “equally important to maintain the connections you’ve already made.” Even though you may be unable to keep in touch by meeting in person and attending events together, there are plenty of other ways to connect.
If your time is limited, a simple email is a great way to check-in with the people in your network. However, a more personal touch in the form of a phone call or video chat makes a world of difference. For that reason, you must personalize your approach; the last thing you want to do is sound like a Hallmark card. People appreciate authenticity, and approaching the interaction from a perspective of genuine interest will yield far better results.
2. Don’t Underestimate Social Media
With more people spending time indoors than ever before, social media use is booming. Now is an excellent time to go over your social media profiles and ensure they are up to date. You can also use your social media to promote any projects you’ve taken on since the pandemic hit, as well as highlight how you’ve managed to adapt to a highly unpredictable work environment.
The key to building a successful online presence is focusing on what makes you unique. Law Times points out that when you focus too much on marketing yourself to as many employers and connections as possible, your profile comes off as painfully generic; “Because it’s loaded with buzzwords and generic information, it could apply to almost anyone.” This makes it harder for anyone to see what you, as an individual, can contribute.
3. Take a Chance and Put Yourself Out There
Communication online is very different, and the societal norms that generally dictate social interactions don’t apply in the same way. People tend to be more receptive to a bold approach from a stranger when contacted online as opposed to being approached face to face. If there’s a particular person with whom you’ve been wanting to connect, but have yet to find an organic lead, you currently have the best chance of being successful with a “cold call” approach.
This applies to organizations as well. So many businesses and nonprofit organizations have put forth a wealth of opportunities for online networking, including digital courses and public forums. Best of all, there’s no invitation necessary to participate in such things. Take advantage of the lack of barriers to pick up a new skill or introduce yourself to a new community.
Putting These Tips Into Action
We’ve outlined a few crucial steps towards successfully networking as the country faces the pandemic; however, you might find yourself wondering how to actually apply the advice given. If you’re unsure of how to achieve the right balance of professionalism with personal interest when connecting with someone in your network, how to make yourself seem unique without limiting your opportunities, or how to reach out to someone you’ve never worked with before, Susan Ascher can help. Learn more about our career coaching program and start expanding your network today!