Virtual Networking in 2020 and Beyond
You’ve heard this 100 times now, but we’ll say it again – the pandemic has completely turned 2020 around. This has affected almost every aspect of our lives collectively, and has especially changed how we do business.
How are you supposed to network when going to the coffee shop on the corner isn’t an option?
The answer is virtual networking.
In these unprecedented times, it’s important to adapt. Luckily, we’ve got some tips to help you round out this year and go into the next feeling prepared for whatever the world can throw at you.
- Take advantage of your alumni networks.
It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know. This phrase might sound like a cliche at this point, but it’s true. Search LinkedIn to find out where other alumni are working, send some messages and try to connect, check to see if your college or university has an established alumni association. Whether you’re looking for a new job or simply trying to expand your network while things slow down for the holidays, these are great ways to reconnect with valuable contacts you might already have.
- Stay social.
While social media has its dark side, it has also become an incredibly important way to stay connected during a time where in-person interactions are severely limited. And remember – it’s not enough just to have a profile. Like and comment on the content that other professionals in your industry are posting and start a dialogue. It’s also probably a good idea to do some personal housekeeping and make sure there’s nothing lurking on your profile that might raise some eyebrows.
- Think local.
It might not be an option to walk down the street and scope out ‘Help Wanted’ signs right now, but that doesn’t mean that you have to look very far to find opportunities in your area. Reach out to friends and family, see if they have any connections that are relevant to you, and schedule a Zoom call to pick each other’s brains. There are avenues for connections all around you – your church, your gym, your kid’s school, your former coworkers, the list goes on.
Things to avoid…
- Pajamas on a Zoom call. It’s tempting, we get it… but at least keep it business casual from the waist up.
- Less-than-professional usernames that will pop up on a video messaging platform. First and last name will do just fine.
- Too many DMs. Don’t immediately bombard someone’s inbox with resume, cover letter, and the like. Create a relationship, then see where it can take you.
Sure, COVID-19 has changed our definition of “normal”. But whether a first impression is over Zoom or in-person, it’s still important to make a good one.