2020 certainly has been a hard year because of the pandemic and it is going to be around for a good part of 2021. For those who are looking for new careers or wanting to move up, here are a few networking strategies when you are stuck at home. Below I am going to give you five directives for successfully networking right in the comfort of your own home.
Identify Your Current Connections
You already have many connections that you may not be in your career network. Your advisors, friends, former classmates, colleagues, parents, mentors, and more are all connections. Each of these people could have some possible contacts who could help you find more work.
It is a good idea to begin by contacting the people with whom you are closest. Tell them you are looking for a job. Ask if they would be willing to introduce you to someone in your preferred job sector.
Review and Update Brand
Review your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts to see what are they saying about you? It is important to know what the world sees when they search your name. This step will help you see what hiring managers and recruiters see when they search your name on the Internet. Having the right information and messaging increases the likelihood that these people will respond when you contact them.
Here are some tips:
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- Use the Chrome browser and click on the 3 dots in the upper right-hand corner and choose “new incognito window”. With the new window open, type in your name and see what appears once when you hit enter. Ask a friend or family member to Google your name after clearing their cache and have them tell you what comes up. Next, ask them for their feedback on your different account platforms. What does each platform tell them about you as a professional?
- Based on the feedback you receive and your career direction, update your platform content and focus. Add some keywords, phrases, videos/photos, and other professional experiences related to what you want to do. This way you are starting to show yourself as someone with experience in this area.
- Utilize a feature on LinkedIn called ‘recommendation’. Ask your key clients, colleagues, and allies to write a recommendation of your services and how you help them achieve or move forward as you work together on a project. This will help increase your appeal to your connections and others on LinkedIn.
Research Some New Network Contacts
As you are thinking about changing your career or getting a promotion or new position within your current field, it is important to connect with new professionals who can offer insights and information to help you. Take some time on LinkedIn to find professionals with whom you want to connect. Research potential contacts whom you relate to best and connect with most often. Choose 50 or more people with expertise who could help you and enter them in a spreadsheet to have a record of when you reached out and whom you connected with from this exercise.
Make Some New Connections
Even when the circumstances are ideal, meeting some new people will require clarity and authenticity. The biggest mistakes in networking are sending a random email that does not acknowledge any mutual interests or sending rambling emails that do not articulate well. You need to peak their interest and find a way to connect when you are writing the email, so as to encourage them to write back and connect with you.
Engage Current Connections
There is one thing about COVID-19 that can make a difference in networking – it’s widespread. This means that no matter who you are, where your connections are – everyone is being affected by it in some way.
That being the case, even when you have connections with whom you have not contacted for a while you now have an excuse. “Hey, I know we haven’t spoken in a while, but I just wanted to see how you are doing. Hope you and your family are staying healthy and safe.”
Even if you do not get a response, this brings you back into their minds and who knows what the future could bring? Your kindness that you are thinking of them could make a difference down the road. You always need to warm your network and be of service to them.
Beyond sending out emails to your network, you can go on social media and make comments on others’ posts and articles. Read articles and blogs; then email the writer directly and let them know that you liked the information and tell them what you learned or how it helped you. You can even do it while you watch television or wait for your dinner to cook.
These are five directives that you can do to network when you are stuck at home due to COVID-19. Yes, before the Internet, networking during a pandemic would typically be in person. But with your Internet connection, you can make connections that may put you on the course to a new career.