A networking relationship helps you develop meaningful connections that assist you with advancing your career or pursuing a project in collaboration with others. So, to network, in short, is to really build relationships with industry peers and leaders in order to grow in your field of work or study.
Job searching today relies heavily on networking. As much as 80% of jobs today are obtained through networking. Despite being intimidating, networking can prove to be extremely beneficial. While most people network online more than they do in person, not everyone really knows how to do this well.
In this blog we provide a list of tips that will help you to network both online and offline more effectively.
The move from warm & cold calling to online connecting
Two well-known and age-old networking methods include “warm” or “cold” calling. When we move this activity online, we refer to it as warm” or “cold” connecting. These two terms differentiate the types of people you reach out to. “Warm” connects are those that fall into your own personal network of friends, family and colleagues. Where, “cold” connects are usually reserved for company recruiters, CEO’s or industry peers you are not yet personally familiar with.
In networking, being tactful is incredibly important and leveraging your “warm” connects are vital. Sometimes without even knowing it, your immediate network could help to open a new door to new opportunities. “Cold” connects are also encouraged, even in today’s technology driven world.
Choosing to connect with new people through LinkedIn, Facebook Groups or other digital platforms like WhatsApp Groups and Instagram are all great ways to build your business network. Many people conntect with industry peers through Twitter that have similar interests and talking points. Leveraging your social media tools is an important aspect of networking which if done correctly can easily transform “cold” connects into “warm” connects.
Online networking is easy and free
According to VisualCV, a popular resume building tool, these tips are game-changers in online networking.
1. Connect Often – with or without a job
Sadly, networking is not something most people think about until they’re out of a job. It is advisable however, not to wait for unemployment before you start networking – as it takes time to build a network. The sooner you start making connections, the easier it will be for you to reach out should you need to start looking for new opportunities. A few comments on a LinkedIn or Facebook post or participation in a forum, for example, is an easy and non-intrusive way to introduce yourself to people.
2. Choose your network wisely
It’s important not to limit yourself to connecting only with people you think can help you. It is also not necessary to make powerful connections. Sometimes, connecting with people just for the sake of making friends or acquaintances is good enough. Being connected with your peers allows you to stay engaged in your profession and to feel a part of the industry.
3. Be active in your groups and communities
Being active in your online communities gives you a voice and means you are continuously putting yourself out there for networking opportunities. It isn’t enough to simply follow a whole lot of people and then wait for them to come to you. It is up to you to seek out connections. Find out where people in your industry gather online so you can get involved. For networking, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Slack are great platforms. They offer professionals the chance to exchange work, to share ideas, and to discuss important issues in their fields.
When COVID-19 restrictions clear, don’t be afraid to move your networking offline as well
TEAM Referral Network, a networking site where multi-industry people can discover each other on a single platform, suggests that networking offline can be just as effective as online networking if you’re willing to put the work in. Here are a few tips for networking offline:
1. Attend events
Attending industry-related events is a great way to meet and mingle with as many people in your field as possible, in the same place, on the same day. Developing relationships in this way becomes easier as often participants chat in groups and exchange ideas together.
2. Always have business cards on-hand
You never know who you might meet and what opportunities will unfold. Face-to-face networking can sometimes happen in the most unsuspecting places, so always have a business card available to share your details and more importantly, always ask for one in return. This way, you show interest in them and have easier access to pop them an email or a call later on.
3. Don’t be shy – you’ve got this
Making the first move and introducing yourself is bold and memorable for many people. Don’t be shy to do this. Likewise, don’t be afraid to ask about the work of others and their interests. Be attentive to who you’re speaking to and give them equal attention as to what they are giving you.
In conclusion, networking is an important aspect of building your professional connections with people, but it can also sometimes develop into greater relationships like friendships or business partnerships. So, don’t delay in getting yourself out there, whether it’s online or offline. Show them what it is you have to offer!