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.

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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.

Resume Rules for the 2020s

Technology has made work more complicated because it requires more sophisticated job skills. It’s also made looking for work more complicated because it takes longer to explain exactly what we accomplished and how.

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Plus, many recruiters and HR professionals now use technology that screens resumes for certain keywords, keywords that are supposed to show a candidate has the needed experience and know-how to do the job.

Submitted resumes tend to head first to a company’s recruitment database, allowing recruiters to find several candidates with the exact skills they’re looking for in mere seconds.

And, with the pandemic making it even harder to look for work, now what?

Here’s what:

Resume Rules for the 2020s

  • Focus!

Your resume needs to be as focused as possible on the particular job to which you’re applying. Does that mean you’ll need to change up the resume for every job? Yes!

Don’t worry, you won’t need to do a complete re-write; but you do need to re-work it so that you clearly showcase the skills and background you possess that the job description requests.

  • Create a resume that speaks to both the computer algorithm’s and the recruiters/hiring manager’s needs.

How to do so? Make the resume’s first page all about the position’s needs, such as skills and education/experience background. Doing so will help it rank higher in the recruiter’s search results because the keywords that describe your job skills and education, etc., often are the same keywords the company’s computer looks for.

You also should have a descriptive phrase at the beginning of that first page that “tells a story” about how you can do the job.

Doing so helps draw the recruiter in and helps make the argument that your resume is one to look at, thus encouraging the recruiter to read your resume carefully.

  • The “resumes should be one-page only, unless you have a LOT of experience” rule really no longer applies.

Not that you should pack everything into your resume. No. But if you have a lot of experience that’s applicable to the job opening and you can stay focused on showcasing how that experience and skills applies to this job (and you edit that experience tightly), a two- or even three-page resume should be fine.

Here’s why: leaving out relevant keywords and information could mean the database algorithm misses your resume and you’ll thus have less of a chance of it being read and – most importantly – “selling” whoever reads it on your skills.

Don’t worry: recruiters are happy to read “long” resumes…so long as they provide value.

Bottom line: the key to resume success in 2020 is to include appropriate keywords AND making it easy for a recruiter/hiring manager to see how you’ll provide value and help the company solve the problems the position is supposed to solve.

Most people don’t know how to do this. But you now do. So move ahead: create a resume that does that and you’ll have a leg up on other people applying for the same position!

Helpmates always is looking for great people to work on assignment with our clients. Take a look at our current opportunities and, if one or more look interesting, follow the listing’s instructions to apply.

 

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