In our global business climate networking at a distance is useful to master for anyone and given the changes in how we will be working post-COVID-19 our distance networking skills will become increasingly important.
Here is a list of tips to get you in the game and become a distance networking pro.
- Define a purpose. Take a few moments to define what your purpose/goal for networking is. Are you looking for job opportunities in your current field? Are you looking for peers in your field to learn from? Are you looking for people that can be good asset in your company? Or are you perhaps looking to change your field of work?With a clear purpose you will quickly realize that it is easier to follow the other steps on this list.
- Create a great profile. A well thought through profile will enable you to both enhance and control your personal brand. When you are networking at a distance your profile and other online content will be what your peers see. Make sure you have created an online presence that will attract and catch the interest of the people you want to network with, and make sure it looks professional.
- Find relevant groups to join. Finds groups on LinkedIn and other social media that are relevant to your interests and start liking, commenting, and even publishing content. The more active you are, the more noticeable you are and this in turns means that you are more likely to attract attention. New connections are bound to happen.
- Find ways to support and boost others. Networking is not a one-way street, make yourself a good resource and a helping hand where you can. By giving you will soon find yourself in the receiving end. Giving can be something as easy as liking someone’s content, it can be a message or post to a peer about a job opening you think might entice them or it can be a straight offer to someone to help them with an area that is within your expertise. Either way your giving will be appreciated and your bond with people in your existing network or outside of it will get stronger.
- Value your existing network. While networking is about extending your contacts and meeting new people, it is utterly important to not forget about your existing network. Look at your network and identify those who are most important to you for your current purpose. Now reach out to people by starting conversations, liking and sharing content, and finding ways to support and help your contacts. It is by fostering the already established relationships that you will really get to know people and by doing so hopefully find yourself in a win-win situation with several of them further down the road.
- Make it easy to help you. When you find yourself in need of direct help/advise/favors bear in mind that most people in your network have lives and jobs of their own and are probably busy. Do not ask for too much, but instead be smart about it and make it easy for people to help you. For example, do not ask someone to re-write your whole resume, but instead present two versions of a paragraph and ask which one they think is better. I hope you get the idea.
By following the steps above and being respectful about the fact that networking, whether in real life or at a distance, is not anything that can be done over a day you have a great starting point to build strong and long-lasting connections that can lead to the opportunities you seek in the future.
The CIP team