Real Life Virtual Networking Advice

It’s now been more than a year since the first case of COVID-19 appeared in the United States. As the pandemic drags on, most everyone has had to make major changes in how they work and live. Many now work remotely to avoid close contact with others and prevent the spread of the virus.

Whittier careers

The job search has moved online as well for those who are looking for employment. Interviews are now virtual. One important aspect of the job search is networking, and that is now largely done remotely, as well. But networking in a digital environment is not quite the same as doing it face to face.

Here are some ideas on how to network virtually.

Where to network virtually.

Some career experts advise those looking for employment to devote most of their time to networking. Job candidates need to look for events online. When you fine one to participate in, introduce yourself in the chat area, let people know what kind of job you are interested in and in what area, and share your LinkedIn address.

Another way of networking virtually is to take a class online, one that relates to your career ambitions, and then network with the people and instructor in the class. Host an online coffee break, organize regular meetings with a few other people in the class, and follow the instructor on social media.

There are also many different conferences, podcasts and workshops available online in which you can take part. Some will offer breakout sessions with smaller groups where you can make contacts with other members. On your profile for the event, be sure to use your full name and include your LinkedIn address.

Who to network with.

One place to start is with former colleagues, even if you have not been in touch with them for a while. Acknowledge the lack of contact and express the desire to reconnect. However, initially, your focus should be on them – how they are doing, how their career is going.

You will not make a very good impression if you call the person out of the blue and ask if they can help you with your job search. You need to show good faith by offering ways to help them as well.

Another way to make connections is through LinkedIn. Look for people who publish frequently on this social media platform. They are likely to be willing to correspond with you, to talk to you about their interests and profession. After all, the reason they are writing is to increase their visibility and reputation.

You can find these people by simply doing a Google search for top influencers on LinkedIn. Before you reach out to the person, however, you need to do a little preparation. Read through their past blogs and other writings. Learn about their background and interests. Then follow them. All of this will lay the groundwork for the day when you do contact the person, raising the odds that you will be more successful.

Other people to consider are employees at companies where you would like to work and people who work in the profession or industry where you work or where you plan to work.

Another group of people to correspond with virtually are recruiters. They often know about positions that have not been advertised. They have developed relationships with people in various industries and will be able to give you insight into the jobs in which you’re interested, as well as the work environments at different companies.

If you reach out and don’t receive any response, don’t give up immediately. Try establishing contact two or three times before moving on.

Staying organized.

When networking virtually, it is important to keep good records. Using a spreadsheet can be a big help. On it, you can record all of the people you have contacted, or plan to contact, along with background information on each person. You should also note when you contacted each person and what form of communication was used (email, text, phone, etc.).

Your notes should also include information about what was discussed and any other details you consider relevant.

Whether you’re looking for short-term work or full-time employment, make sure you take a look at Helpmates’ current job and career opportunities. If you find one or more that sing to you, follow directions on the posting or contact the branch nearest you.

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