Networking, like many other activities, has moved online more than ever these days. Our very own JobsCentral Graduate Virtual Career Fair is completely online, and features the chance to have one-on-one consults with over 20 distinguished employers!
But how to remain in their minds after the fair ends? Aside from posting status updates on your LinkedIN and keeping in touch with contacts, what are some ways to refine online networking processes to foster valuable connections? And if you’re in the market for a job, networking is an especially valuable tool that lets you meet the right people in the right places.
For starters, we’ve listed 5 must-dos to keep yourself connected and in the know career-wise online:
- Network all the time
One amateur networking mistake a lot of people make is only networking when they need a job. While employed, the LinkedIN profile sees no use and messages go ignored or unseen. This kind of behaviour reflects badly on you, giving others the impression that you only engage when there’s something in it for you.
Instead, keep up with industry trends and comment on posts and shares. If there’s a company you’d like to work for, you can follow their pages and connect with people employed there. That way, people who see your profile and receive your messages will be more open to forming a deeper connection.
- Always follow up
Staying in touch with people isn’t that hard! Share information with people, and don’t be a stranger. We recommend tagging posts with people who might be interested in the information therein, “touching base” with contacts once in a while, and accepting new contact requests when they come in.
- Help where you can
Sometimes we have the false impression that just because a post is asking about a job and we have no jobs to offer, the post doesn’t relate to us. But there are plenty of ways to help out even if you can’t grant a request directly. For example, you can share a job posting or request, or send the person relevant information. Sometimes, a simple word of encouragement or check-in message can make all the difference to someone.
- Build deeper connections
What do you know about your professional contacts? If your answer is, “just their names and positions”, you have failed. When networking, aim to build deeper connections with people as people, not as businessmen or women.
When searching for new contacts, try moving out of your comfort zone by joining volunteer groups or clubs and societies. When chatting, ask about hobbies, families or pets. Many job hunters have landed exciting positions by connecting with people on a deeper level!
- Be accepting and open
One newbie mistake amateur networkers make is rejecting connections that appear too “low-rung” or “not good enough”. These include receptionists, frontline staff or secretaries. Their reasoning is that these people have no decision-making power, and hence there’s no need to cultivate relationships with them.
Aside from how shallow this mentality is, it can have serious repercussions on your job or professional search. These people may get promoted, or they may serve as gatekeepers for their bosses. It’s much better to treat everyone as equally worthy of your time and effort, and work on relationships with them as people.