“Your Network is your net worth” - Porter Gale
We all know how important networking is for our career development. Especially, if you are thinking about re-launching or transitioning your career. And now that we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, this will be even more challenging. However, the good news is that despite this challenge, it is still possible to maintain your connections through technology and social media. And even create new professional network during the lockdown and while social distancing.
Looking for employment within the current climate is tough. Career opportunities are immensely low in this pandemic; unemployment is increasing day by day as the economy is going down.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Once the economy starts to reopen, many firms who have laid-off workers during the lockdown will need new staff. This will create opportunities. Employers will be redesigning and rethinking their workforce, and digital roles will be more important than ever.
Active networking will play a vital role in lockdown to connect with prospective employers. Often confused with selling, networking is actually about building long-term professional relationships and gain an honest reputation over time. It involves meeting and getting to know people who you’ll assist and who can potentially assist you in your career growth in return.
Since social media is an inherent part of our lives during the current lockdown, networking through it can play a very crucial role in the job hunt. Here are a few quick tips on Networking:
- Start adding people you know in all social media platforms especially LinkedIn, from the field of your profession like your Ex –colleagues and mentors.
- Most companies prefer hiring through employee referrals. So, try to add to people who work in your dream companies and can help uplift your career.
- Build a rapport with these people by talking to them, following what they share.
- While sites like LinkedIn are best for making professional connections, other social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. can also help you in your career development and in marketing yourself to potential employers.
Plan “How to Network?” – It’s Important!!
1.Update your Profile
Now is an excellent time to make sure your profile is up to date with a professional-looking picture. It is essential that you are visible on social media especially if you are thinking about re-launching or transitioning your career, as companies and recruiters are currently spending more time than ever on social media.
Remember, these short bios and profile pictures might be the first impression that a recruiter will have of you – so make sure it’s a good one!
- LinkedIn: Your LinkedIn profile is like your launching pad. Everyone who visits and views your profile is going to create an impression about you.
So, while you invest in building your commercial awareness and learning a new skill, it is worth setting some time aside to create or complete your LinkedIn profile. There are plenty of options across the LinkedIn page where one can add various details about yourself, including a headline, current position, industry etc. – use these to your advantage and create a profile that is professional, succinct and offers a well-rounded picture of yourself.
- Twitter : Twitter profile can also be used as a networking tool with professionals, consider the following:
- Is your username professional and easy to remember?
- Is your profile picture professional and relevant?
- Much like a so-called ‘elevator pitch’, does your Twitter bio provide a succinct summary of who you are and where are you currently on your professional journey? If applicable, it might be worth adding a link to your professional website, a YouTube channel or your active LinkedIn page.
- Is your header background professional and relevant?
- Facebook: Facebook is also an effective networking tool. Remember recruiters do an online search before inviting you to an interview, so why not take some time to ensure you are making the most of the various social media pages. Much like LinkedIn and Twitter, Facebook also has the option to include information about your professional life – for example, your university and degree subject, any training contracts and your blog or website.
- Instagram: Same as other platforms Instagram also has space to add useful information about yourself and your experiences so far, plus a professional photo and a link to a blog, podcast or YouTube channel where you are creating content relevant to your industry.
2.Contact people, you haven’t heard from in a while
Spend some time each day contacting people you haven’t spoken for long and ask them how they are doing? A friendly gesture that they will remember and help you keep in touch.
- LinkedIn : When connecting with a fellow LinkedIn user, you are given the option to personalize your ‘invite’ – this can be useful if you’re connecting with professional whom you have previously met at a networking event, job or university – reintroduce yourself and continue your professional relationship with them.
Apart from connecting with others within your industry, it is also advisable that you ‘follow’ LinkedIn users to “keep in touch with them and follow their content”. This is a great way for career development and to stay up-to-date with what they’re doing within the industry and create an active network.
- Twitter: Twitter is a platform where we can network with users without having to wait for them to accept, so we can follow the relevant recruiters, hiring managers and other professionals and start seeing everything that they post.
- Facebook: In order to connect with people on Facebook, you can engage with online communities, groups and events.
- Instagram : If you’re creating a professional account on Instagram to develop your online network and presence, it is essential that you follow accounts with similar goals to yours (i.e. other aspiring professionals), as well as leading professionals who are well known on the platform. Don’t just go through and follow everyone in business – think about whether they are professionals who are perhaps working in the area which interests you. It will help in career development.
- Video calls: Although we are not being able to have face-to-face meetings in the current climate, we now live in a world where virtual meetings are becoming the norm. There are several apps that can be used for professional video meetings, making it that much easier to stay in touch with fellow colleagues, as well as contacts from work placements.
3.Refine your digital footprint
Google yourself and see what comes up—does your online presence reflect what you would want the prospective employers to see? If not, now is the time to sort it. Make personal social-media profiles private and close any old accounts you don’t need. “Re-Check your CV, update your LinkedIn and close the skill gaps,”
An Immediate benefit of networking is fast-tracking your career growth and improving your communication skills. Having a good reputation with a wide range of people will increase your chances of getting referrals and job opportunities, so don’t restrict yourself to traditional networking circles. You never know who someone may be able to connect you to or what you might learn.
Remember, what you do now will have a strong impact on future opportunities, so staying connected and networking is more important than ever.
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