The stay at home order has made it more challenging than ever to get a job. Savvy online networking will help you stay on top of trends in the industry, the job market, meet prospective mentors and even tip you off to new job opportunities.
While the lockdown has made in-person meetings less likely, there are many virtual tools, such as LinkedIn, that can help you make meaningful connections with industry professionals. Here are 4 tips that will help you make a strong virtual network on LinkedIn:
1. First impressions matter.
Your profile should immediately catch a prospective employer’s attention. Be specific about your career goals and use relevant industry keywords throughout your profile. Your picture should be professional. The top banner image should relate to your career, or the industry you are interested in.
The “Summary” section should provide a brief overview of your education and work experience. Add links to videos, articles, and posts you’ve written or contribute to in the “Feature” section.
2. Expand your network.
Once you’ve fully created your profile, invest time in developing network connections that align with your professional goals. Use the filter function to find professionals in your desired location, company, or industry and send a connection request.
When sending an invitation to connect with someone new, choose the option that allows you to add a personalized note. Introduce yourself. If you find a person who accepts your request, without responding to the message, follow up a day or two later with a second one thanking the individual for connecting, then ask for a few moments of their time. Request a video or telephone chat instead of meeting in person. Once you’ve connected, continue to show your passion for the industry, by sharing relevant articles and commenting on other people’s posts.
3. Strengthen your network.
Reach out to your existing connections. Ask how they are doing during this time and how you can be of assistance? A small note of kindness can go a long way in deepening relationships. As Maya Angelou said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This is especially true during a time of uncertainty.
4. Don’t “over” connect.
When making new connections, limit them to one person per company. Focus on the department you are most interested in. Once you have a solid, single connection, develop the relationship and see if they can connect you with someone else in the organization.
Online networking is an investment in your career, but like many professional skills, it takes practice, the more you do it the easier it gets.
Monika Monga (Business Management ’00; Human Resources Management MA) is a HR professional who has worked in both the public and private sector where she gained experience in recruitment.