It is well-known that networking is one of the best ways to find a job. But in a world where everyone is connected, virtual networking seems incredibly hard. How can you successfully stand out in a sea of information? Especially now, when the pandemic has forced almost everyone to depend exclusively on the internet for networking. Here are our tips:
Make sure your public social media profiles are professional
You can network on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and, in some industries, even on Instagram. Not all your social media profiles have to be public to potential employers. But if you are using your public Twitter account to reach out to someone, your tweets should demonstrate your passion and knowledge regarding the industry, and not include unprofessional content.
It can be difficult to strike a balance between authenticity and professionalism on social media, however, it is always worth investing a bit of time cleaning up your timeline and profiles. When you tweet or post, try to think about your potential professional audience and not just your friends or family.
And always make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date, with impeccable spelling and highlighting your key skills and achievements.
Participate in virtual events
Basically, all organizations have adapted their on-site events to online platforms. In some cases, this is great – conferences or seminars in expensive cities have suddenly become much more accessible. Seize this opportunity and sign up for events from the organizations you admire. Once you are there, ask questions and make yourself visible. Later, you can always follow-up with the organization or specific speakers with an email talking about your impression of the event and asking for an informational call.
Follow the debates about your sector – and get involved
Since the start of the pandemic, many sectors are having heated debates about how to handle it and what comes next. Especially on Twitter – the internet’s debating platform – a conference, a news article, or an opinionated Tweet can lead professionals to argue endlessly. Get involved in these debates, ask questions, share information. Once you are in the Twittersphere of a particular sector, it’s much easier to reach out to professionals and be the first to know about opportunities that do not get advertised on job sites.
Almost all graduates have Linked In profiles, but they rarely use the platform. Linked In is not just about having a digital CV. Like all social media, its end goal is to build communities. Try to find groups of professionals in your sector, follow popular hashtags, and pay attention to the main players. Comment, share, post, and after you have made the first impression as a follower, start approaching professionals you admire. Not everyone will answer but knowing a few key people will already help you find more opportunities. You can also try to follow human resources professionals of the organizations you would like to work for someday – you will be the first to know when there is an opening.
Do not underestimate Facebook groups
Especially when it comes to professionals looking for junior positions, Facebook groups can be a great resource. There are usually several groups devoted to specific sectors, and members share job and study opportunities, relevant news about the sector and main organizations, new trends and obstacles, tips, and advice. Participating in an active Facebook group can be a great way of obtaining information and knowing more about the daily tasks of people in your sector. Sure, maybe you will not find the CEOs as members – but you will find plenty of managers. So actively asking for advice and sharing your expertise on different subjects will most likely get you noticed.
One last piece of advice…
When you are networking, try to appreciate it for more than just the job hunt. Knowing experienced professionals in your sector and sharing experiences will always be rewarding. Try to resist the impulse to instrumentalize professionals for your own goals – instead, appreciate them for who they are and what they have achieved. People can always tell when they are just being a means to an end, so being authentic and passionate is the easiest way to stand out.