Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, networkingwas not the easiest thing to do. And since many of us have been workingremotely and quarantining at home for nearly a year, it hasn’t gotten any easyto grow your network.
But don’t panic just yet--it’s still possibleto virtually shmooze and connect with colleagues, friends, and communitymembers. Here’s our tips and tricks for virtual networking during COVID-19 andbeyond.
Before you throw your hat into the ring ofvirtual networking, you have to figure out your goals. What do you want out ofthis experience? Are you looking to change fields, level up in your currentrole, or re-enter the workforce after a break? Maybe you’re interested in freelancework or you just want to grow your network to keep an eye out foropportunities. Whatever your goal, set your intention before you start yourvirtual networking journey. That way you can measure your success and targetthe right people.
Oftentimes, networking gets swept under therug with a bunch of other things you were meaning to get to but never did. It’sso easy to scroll through your phone, do a load of laundry, or catch up on workemails instead of putting time into networking. That’s why you have to keepyourself accountable by penciling it into your calendar or planner. You canfigure out the best way that works for you--maybe it’s joining a virtual meetup for an hour on Wednesday nights, or setting aside 15 minutes a day to check LinkedInand share a post.
These days, social media isn’t the only way tonetwork online, but it’s still a good one. Just make sure you’re using theright social platform for your goals. Here’s a good set of guidelines fornetworking on different social platforms:
● Twitter is great for connecting with thoughtleaders and staying up-to-date on the latest industry news.
● Facebook is good for small businesses and hasexcellent industry and networking groups.
● Instagram is key for creative professionalswho want to show off their taste and talent.
● LinkedIn is great for scoping out jobopportunities and sharing industry-related articles.
Many of us may feel zoomed-out right aboutnow, but networking doesn’t have to be a drag like all those meetings at workwhere you have to try to look like you're paying attention even though yourcoffee is wearing off. Set up a virtual 15 minute coffee break with a colleagueor join a virtual meet up where you can connect with other professionals in yourfield. Don’t forget to take notes on everyone you talk to. Jot down theircontact info, any recommendations they shared, and personal info so you canreach out and reconnect.
Nobody said networking during COVID was easy,but it’s not impossible and it can even be fun! Virtual networking can help youstay safe and healthy while leveling up your career and building relationships.If you follow these tips and stay consistent, you’ll be able to reap all thebenefits of networking, even during a global pandemic.