Networking has and always will be a little (a lot) difficult. Even so, it’s a major part of the job search process. Networking is something that people struggle with, even during “precedented times”. With things moving online, the networking process has changed a little. Gone are the times of walking in a physical room and shaking hands. So today, we are talking about how to network in a remote world, and how to do it well!
Thinking about networking as making connections and having a conversation helps make networking less awkward. Networking has this weird connotation that brings about a lot of pressure. Changing your thought process to have it be more fluid helps break that pressure down. Don’t be afraid to reach out. You even have a built-in conversation starter: the pandemic. And remember, the worst thing that can happen is that you’re ignored.
Use the above mentality when reaching out to new connections. It can be intimidating when reaching out to someone you might not know. When doing this, take a deep breath and have a personalized message when connecting. Thank them for accepting your connection, talk about why you’re connecting (friend in common, their work history resonates with you, etc.), and have something to offer them (an article, a connection, etc.).
Growing Your Network In a Remote World
When it comes to networking online, LinkedIn is one of the best ways. Over 95% of recruiters are on LinkedIn, looking for candidates. When it comes to LinkedIn, you want to make sure that you’re easy to find and that you keep your profile up to date. Have a picture that is up-to-date – people rarely accept profiles without a photo.
Make yourself someone others want to network with, instead of just someone who always networks outward. This means being visible online, being welcoming/friendly, being relevant, being a connector, and having a decent “hook”. This could be a tagline, a unique feature about you – just something that makes you stand out a little.
Virtual is now becoming the norm, and virtual networking and conferences are following suit. Do some research and figure out what networking events are going on in your industry (or desired industry). This also opens up conferences in all locations since you’re no longer restricted to where you live.
When you’re on the call, make sure to be engaged, have your video on, and utulize the chat! Share your email or LinkedIn and connect with others on the call.
Informational interviews are a great way to expand your network. Simply put, an informational interview is a conversation with someone who is in your desired field. It’s not about landing a job, it’s about a way to get information about the job/industry and allows you to “interview” without any of the stress. In addition to learning more about the industry, this also builds connections that could be used in the future.
Making The Most Of Your Connections
Be a Giver, Not Just a Taker
You don’t want to come across as self-seeking, you want to bring something to the table as well! This could be an article that you’ve read that you think they’d find interesting or anything of the sort. You want to let people know that you’re not there to take advantage of them, but that you’re an active participant who goes the extra mile.
And it might go without saying, but don’t ask for a job in your first meeting. You need to develop a relationship of being a giver before becoming a taker.
Do the Legwork
If you set up a time to connect, do the logistics. Be the person who sends the invite, is the host of zoom, etc. Also, make sure that you’re genuinely interested in their journey and that your intention comes across. Ask them: “What led you to where you are?”, “What helped get you here?” “What do you wish you knew back then that you know now?”
You want to make sure that you are making it as easy as possible to network with you!
Keep Your Contacts On Simmer
When it comes to connections you already have, check in and see how they’re doing periodically. You don’t want a job opportunity to come up where they are a connection, but you haven’t talked to them for a year and now you’re asking for a favor. Keep your contacts on simmer so that you’re top of mind when opportunities arise!
Networking is tricky and intimidating, but hopefully these tips on how to network in a remote world will help. If you need more support, join us for a special Ama La Vida Members Only networking event!