The pandemic has been challenging for many businesses and employees, with networking being especially hard hit. In the past, most successful networking opportunities occurred in person with lunch meetings and morning coffee. With many employees now working from home, the ability to network has been significantly impacted.
However, if you want to come out ahead after this pandemic, this is the perfect opportunity to start building an impressive network you can tap into. Much of your future success will depend on the relationships you make today.
When the pandemic is over, what will you wish you had done during your isolation?
Why networking is vitally important
Experts agree that your network is essentially your career net worth. While many of us like to work alone, the truth is we need people to help us accelerate our careers and open new opportunities. Human connections are extremely powerful, and when people work together, previous obstacles can be overcome.
Mutually beneficial relationships will connect you to other networks to tap into when you come across a specific career or business need.
Use these 7 pandemic networking techniques to get noticed both during and after COVID-19
Set yourself up for success by creating a network of career professionals to formulate win-win situations both now and after the pandemic is over.
1. Have a clear goal in mind
Thinking about your networking goals ahead of time will maximize your networking efforts, so you focus on your time on connections that matter. Avoid building connections with little to no value to you, so you focus your attention on mutually beneficial relationships.
As you continue to build your network, focus on connecting with people in positions you would like to work in the future and others who offer a mutually beneficial connection.
2. Use LinkedIn to your advantage
If you haven’t already, start building connections through LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an excellent resource to connect with business professionals who are actively seeking networking opportunities.
With LinkedIn, you can search for professionals based on their experience, current employer, and interests.
Use this social media tool to your advantage to meet like-minded people who are actively looking to increase their existing network and seeking opportunities.
3. Send text messages and emails to your already established connections
Your current network should continue to be nourished to make way for additional opportunities.
Reach out to those in your network personally by asking them how everything is going and if there is anything you can do for them. Avoid blanket emails or text messages that are impersonal.
Ask those in your network about their current projects, and if there is anything you can help them with. You never know what opportunities are waiting for you.
4. Use Zoom for quick 15 minute meetings
To make up for the lack of coffee shop meetings, ask current or potential connections if they have a quick 15 minutes to jump on a Zoom call to discuss current events and opportunities.
We are all stretched thin on time, so establishing a firm time limit can show your potential connection you value their time. Virtual face to face meetings is a great way to add a personal element to an impersonal situation.
Force yourself to get out of your comfort zone and start reaching out for quick 15 minute meetings. You may be surprised how many people are willing to jump on these impromptu calls.
5. Use your current network to increase opportunities
Tap into your current network and ask them to introduce you to others in your related field.
Each connection has their own personal network they can introduce you to. Leverage your current network to increase your connections and offer additional mentors and mutually beneficial relationships.
6. Be clear about what you can offer
When reaching out to a new connection through social media or email, clearly state what you can offer them. This is not the time to sell a product but use this opportunity to show the possible connection your ambition and willingness to help others.
By starting without expectations for something in return, you will quickly build trust and a stronger connection you can leverage at a later time.
7. Increase your contact with established connections
We could all do a better job of communicating with our current network. Use this time to send personalized messages to as many people in your network as possible to foster these relationships.
You never know who has moved on to bigger and better opportunities and what that means for you. Offer your support to your current network and let them know you’re interested in collaboration for the mutual benefit of you both.