Virtual networking during the pandemic
Because of COVID-19, large social gatherings are currently not an option which makes traditional networking a challenge. Networking opportunities like conferences, local industry events, and happy hours are now replaced by video calls from our living rooms. Given the situation, how do you leverage the tools available to keep on top of your networking game? Whether you’re looking for immediate employment, a future position, or just want to maintain and grow your contacts, here are a few tips for you to think about in this age of virtual networking.
Ramp up your social media activity
You’re probably scrolling through it all day so put it to good use!
- Make sure your LinkedIn Profile is optimized. It’s easier to find you if you have the right keywords in your profile. Check out our recent post on LinkedIn Profile optimization to get started. If you are looking for a job, consider taking advantage of LinkedIn’s #OpenToWork feature to make yourself more visible to recruiters and potential employers. Read more
- Interact with people in the comments of interesting posts, answer questions that others are posting, and pose some yourself. If you’d like to take it a step further set up a call with them or send them an invitation to connect, you will have already had one successful interaction! Social media is all about engagement.
- If you don’t already, follow interesting hashtags on Twitter and LinkedIn. This can lead to interesting webinars or conferences in your area of interest. For example, if you’re a social media coordinator you might want to be following #digitalmarketing for the latest upcoming events. Try following a thought leader in your chosen industry. They likely have up to date information on news, events, and more.
Attend virtual events and conferences
Many industry organizations now have virtual events and conferences in place of in-person events. You may even already be a part of one of these groups in your area (like the DC AAF). Stay connected to these groups or even try new ones. Many national industry organizations offer virtual events as well. If there’s a national event you hadn’t considered previously because of its location, this is a great opportunity to reconsider.
Alumni/college groups are another great source of online networking events! Check your college career services portal and see what they have to offer. Most career centers have shifted all of their events online and have even created new ones that are specific to the pandemic job market. You can now find webinars such as “Adapting your search to the pandemic” or more general webinars like “COVID and the future of digital marketing.” To stay on top of your university’s online programs go on LinkedIn to get the latest info and updates. You can also use their alumni network to build your own contacts by connecting with fellow alumni.
Leverage your existing network
You’ve likely built up a strong network already and this is a perfect time to reconnect. Send a personal message and check in how your connections are doing during this chaotic time–or even give them a call. Feel free to ask if they know of anyone else you could connect you with. Many people forget to do this at the end of their calls or LinkedIn messages, and it’s definitely a missed opportunity.
Say something like, “it was really nice chatting to you about your relocation to Europe. Do you happen to know of anyone else who I can talk about international work opportunities?” Make it easier for them and point out exactly what you are looking for. You’d be surprised how often they will have someone in mind. They might even be looking for a new job themselves which gives you the opportunity to help each other out through new contact introductions.
Although in-person interactions may be limited right now due to social distancing, this doesn’t mean you can’t still nurture and build your network. In fact, this is just the right time to reach out and use all the available tools you have.