Making professional connections is an essential part of the job search process and is also important when building your personal brand. Although you can’t physically attend networking events right now, you still can form meaningful connections for business and career growth virtually. Networking online requires the same amount of time and effort as if you were in-person. To help you get started, here are tips for strategically building your network from home.
Clean up your candidate portfolio
When was the last time you updated your resume or LinkedIn profile? You should be making frequent changes to both. During this lockdown period, take time to make any necessary edits whether it be a recent job change, a job promotion, furthering your education, a new skill you’ve learned, or maybe it’s a certification or award you’ve earned. Any changes in your career life should be reflected on your profile. Also, your resume and LinkedIn profile should contain the same information. Consistency is key, the last thing you want to do is confuse a recruiter or hiring manager when they're comparing the two.
Build your personal brand
Your personal brand is your online reputation and establishing your brand is something that will continue to develop as you move through your career. How you interact and engage on social media helps you build your brand. Joining relevant Facebook or LinkedIn groups, sharing articles that are interesting to you, following industry and thought leaders, or reposting and commenting on other people’s content will get you involved in the virtual conversation and make your online presence known.
Who to connect with
Once your social media presence is cleaned up and your active, start connecting with people. Use LinkedIn to connect with alumni, co-workers, friends, family, and recruiters. When finding new people to add to your network attend virtual webinars or conferences and connect with speakers and guests, join networking groups and connect with people you talk to, or connect with industry leaders and influencers. People are always looking to expand their network and are usually happy to connect with new people.
Take advantage of all the possibilities technology provides. Even though you can’t interact in-person, you can still connect digitally. If you’re making the first introduction with someone, connect with them on LinkedIn and send a friendly message. If you’ve previously connected with them and are comfortable enough, schedule regular check-ins. To develop personable relationships that will last, send out a recurring Zoom coffee date or happy hour calendar invite. You can also reach out to people via text message or by giving them a call. Ask how they’re doing and that you’re thinking of them. Right now people want to talk and technology makes it easy to check-in and build and solidify strong relationships.
As we continue to social distance from one another, now is the time to virtually connect and build deeper relationships both personally and professionally. Checking in with your connections and making new ones is a daily or weekly task you can look forward to while staying inside.
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