How to Network Online

It’s hard to plan for the unexpected. If you’re suddenly out of work, or ready to take the next step in your career, it’s a good idea to focus on building and strengthening connections. While attending networking events or socializing in person, like we used to, is currently out of the question, there is no better time than now to grow your network online. Reach out to old contacts, and make time to find new ones in various industries. Be genuine, and look for ways to offer help. 

As you navigate through a career pivot, make time to explore what you want, and identify your unique purpose.  

Ask yourself: 

  • What am I all about?  
  • What is my unique purpose?  
  • What do I do well and am passionate about?

“Recruiters want to know you are self-aware and not claiming to be a fit for just any role,” says Julie Kratz, certified master coach, author, CEO, and founder of Next Pivot Point.

“I recommend taking an inventory of your skills (the things you’re good at and excel at naturally) and your wills (the things that drive your confidence and energy). The intersection of both of those things is where you should focus your job search. Find job descriptions that align with your skills and wills list and apply for those positions.” 

Searching for a job during quarantine? Here are ways to network effectively online. 

1. Take the initiative to say hello. 

When using LinkedIn or any social media platform to make connections, don’t just add contacts and forget about them. Reach out to your network with a personal message to introduce yourself. Let them know about your current situation, what you’re looking for, and how you can help them. 

Do your research and personalize each message, especially if it’s the first time reaching out. When searching for meaningful connections to make, ask yourself why you want to connect with this person and explain that to them when you’re reaching out. 

Include a call-to-action question that motivates them to write back. If you’re not sure what to write, you could ask, “who else should I be connecting with?”

2. Be Personal. 

So many people hit connect and neglect to talk to their network until they are searching for work. Spend time engaging and getting to know your contacts before you start searching for a job. If you’re currently searching for work, ask them to keep you in mind if they see an opportunity that matches your skills. 

“Start by reaching out to 50 new people per day with a short custom note asking them to connect and see how your network grows.” 

Once you’ve established a connection, don’t be shy about asking for a brief 1:1 phone meeting to learn more about your new contact.

3. Add Value. 

Be intentional with the agenda and send questions in advance. Take your time to research their role in the company and ask relevant questions to help you during an interview. 

Don’t take it personally if you don’t hear back. Chances are, they haven’t seen your message yet. Avoid following up to soon. 

Stay in touch and share updates on your job search and what new skills you’ve learned. 

4. Don’t get discouraged. 

While it’s easy to get unmotivated and feel discouraged when you don’t hear back after applying for a job, try not to lose focus. It can be hard to deal with rejections, and after time, those no’s can start to weigh on you. 

Use this time to start freelancing, update your resume, optimize your LinkedIn profile with keywords so recruiters can find you, and invest in yourself. 

“The new normal will be very different in the workplace,” says Julie. “Be prepared to answer questions about your comfort with virtual work, your flexibility needs, and employment changes with COVID.” 

Your dream job is out there. Don’t forget about your network once you get hired.