Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Online networking: how to make professional connections remotely and why it matters

On paper, networking is a relatively simple task. Mix up with like-minded professionals while sipping wine and you greatly increase your chances of landing a coveted role, or building the career of your dreams.

Pre-Covid, preparing for a networking event, you might have walked into an venue thinking, “Smile. Remember your elevator pitch. If all else fails, talk about the weather.”

Now though, many of us are faced with a slightly different situation: how to network while working remotely. Working out of temporary home offices, with the kids stepping over the keyboard for tea or pets, we’ve collectively become BBC Dad, aka Robert Kelly. The Busan-based political scientist famously went viral in 2017 when his children interrupted a live interview he was doing on television, and his wife had to scramble to kick him out of her office.

As difficult as it can be to meet people in such situations, research shows that rising to the challenge is well worth it. According to an online survey, networking accounts for up to 85% of all filled vacancies. It could also lead to a substantial pay increase, as evidenced by a recent story of how an employee achieved a £24,000 salary increase through networking alone.

A group of smartly dressed employees eat canapés and chat while standing in an office space.
Networking is about showing interest in what other people in your field are doing.
Monkey Business Images | Shutterstock

My research shows that at the beginning of 2022, 44% of young people used social media to look for career information – up from just 19% a decade ago – and 42% took to their social networks to make career decisions. consulted. Online networking, even before the pandemic, was an important tool for career growth.

how to network online

Remote working has certainly made videoconferencing the norm. Online networking events are now regularly held on platforms including EventBrite, Slack, Yammer and Instagram Live.

So first, do your research: Identify the organizations, associations, and reasons that interest you most. Find blogs and forums relevant to your workspace, and sign up for as many mailing lists as you can handle efficiently. Find your people and follow them on social media.

The goal of this first step is to increase the amount of information that is passively received. This produces what is known as environmental affordability: the likelihood of an action being borne to you by your environment. The more regular updates you get about relevant events, the more likely you are to attend them.

Second, be strategic. In a world where conference dinners and instant water cooler conversations have been replaced by Zoom catch-up, things are not as smooth as they were before. Scheduling is key.

Create a personalized networking plan. Decide how much time you’re going to dedicate to online networking and note your goals: how many people you want to talk to; Which companies would you like to know more about; What specific people do you need to look for to discuss specific topics. Make sure to schedule on time to maintain your online presence. And opt for a variety of events such as webinars, online recruitment fairs, one-to-one Zoom meetings and online conferences.

Third, research shows that the most prolific networkers tend to have proactive personality traits, and are more likely to score higher on extroversion—a trait associated with being outgoing and seeking new experiences—on personality tests. However, this does not mean that you have to be an extrovert to be successful in networking. You just need to be proactive: proactive behavior is the strongest predictor of networking success.

If there is a specific person or group of professionals you would like to build a relationship with, contact them directly. Email them, message them on Twitter, set up a Zoom meeting, or research online networking mixers they can participate in.

A man in gray jeans and a black t-shirt stands in a large room in front of three tall screens filled with hundreds of zoom windows.
Schedule time to go to online events and follow people who share your interests.
Siam Stock | Shutterstock

Why networking is important to success

Networking underlies two key aspects of professional advancement: employability and self-directed career development.

The first, employability, relates to what economists refer to as a potential employee’s human capital: their external marketability and the relative value of their educational background, technical skills, and soft skills – such as communication, time management, and creativity – of employment. Market. Networking makes your human capital readily apparent to employers and drives hiring decisions.

Self-Directed Career Development, meanwhile, is an ongoing personal development project, whereby you gain career insight and take action towards long-term career goals. Here, networking is an important tool for getting career information. Both of these help in raising your personal aspirations and finding out whether a particular job, company or field is right for you or not. The direct experiences of others working in a given profession can be helpful in predicting whether you would be a good fit, too.

Networking also helps build relationships with mentors and role models, and provides access to peer support communities and professional groups. It is more than just getting a job. It creates a sense of belonging and professional identity, and in doing so develops what social scientists call “social capital”: shared norms, values, and beliefs in professional communities.

Networking involves many skills – connecting with others, finding common ground, maintaining relationships – that can be practiced and learned. Of these, listening—not speaking—is perhaps the most important. Express interest in other people’s work and ask them questions, and you’ll be well on your way to building meaningful relationships that not only benefit you as a person. Because they promote the sharing of knowledge and collective problem-solving, they also benefit your community.

Quarter life, a series of the conversations

, This article is part of Quarter Life, a series about issues affecting those of us in our twenties and thirties. From the challenges of starting a career and taking care of our mental health, to the excitement of starting a family, adopting a pet or just making friends as an adult. The articles in this series explore questions and bring answers as we navigate this turbulent period of life._

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World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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