Continue building relationships that will help your career.
We're told that networking is the way to get recognised for our talents, find new jobs and level up in our careers. But how can one continue to network when the bulk of their working life has moved online? Whether because of the coronavirus lockdown or the growing popularity and benefits of remote roles, this is a new challenge for workers across the UK.
We've got some good news for you: Networking is alive and well in this time of remote work. With a bit of gumption and creativity, you can expand your network, even from the confines of your remote office. Here's how to do it.
Schedule virtual coffee chats
Coffee chats are a go-to networking device. In the age of remote networking, why not take them online? With bits of free time naturally shaved out of the day for many people from the elimination of lengthy commutes and watercooler conversations, now is a great time to fit yourself into the otherwise-busy schedules of those you want to network with.
Remote networking starts with the people in your own company. With less chances for organic interaction, it's important to keep connections alive by scheduling remote coffee hours, lunches and the like. There are also ways to network with your boss and the management at your company ‒ and you absolutely should pursue them. Engage your boss and other management figures in chats about how you can further your career at the company and what the shape of their own path to management was.
Don't be shy to schedule virtual coffee chats with people in your broader network as well.
Participate in virtual conferences
For some industries, conferences are a crucial place to meet similar professionals in your field, find new sales leads and grow your network. Whilst in-person expos and conferences may be put on hold for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these events are still taking place virtually.
The good news about virtual conferences? You don't have to take the time to travel there ‒ you can attend from the comfort of your own remote office. In addition, some entrance or participation fees may be reduced or waived. Now is a great time to attend conferences in your field that you may not have otherwise been able to partake in. You'll find connections there.
Developing content of your own is a great way to connect with like-minded people, fashion yourself as an expert and build your audience. Is there a topic related to your career that you think isn't well-covered or that you're passionate about? Start writing.
There are many ways to publish yourself, including going through the traditional channels of pitching to a media outlet, starting a blog or publishing on LinkedIn. If you're comfortable speaking, podcasts are another popular way to share information with an audience.
This method of networking is especially well-suited to those who are shy to reach out to their network to schedule one-on-one meetings. By publishing an article or appearing on a podcast, you're essentially putting out a calling card for others to reach you to talk about that topic.
Leverage your social media platforms
Are you looking for a new job? Want to talk to people who have expertise in a certain topic? Share your views about an area you're well-versed in? These are all areas in which social media is well-suited to give you a boost.
Using social media, you can find and connect people who have similar professional interests and career paths. You can do this by joining groups, commenting on posts relevant to your career or sector, and inviting people to reach out and interact with you through posts of your own.
Social media is also a good place to develop and maintain your personal online brand and share your expertise in your field. You might consider writing informative LinkedIn posts to boost your professional reputation or making videos around certain topics so your followers will know where to come when they have questions about it.
A word of caution, though: Just scrolling through social media isn't networking. However, if you take an active and informed role in your social media use for networking purposes, you will see the payoffs.
When you're first figuring out how to network remotely, it can feel overwhelming. Between social media, online summits and virtual happy hours, opportunities for remote connection abound. That's why it's important to ask yourself: What are you trying to get out of your remote networking?
Go in with a plan. Focus on networking in ways that help you reach your goal and won't leave you feeling burnt out. With a targeted approach to remote networking, you can make valuable, lasting connections.
A strong network is essential to the job search. So is your CV. See how yours stacks up with a free CV review.