Building Your Network in a Digital Age
Networking is an important and continuous part of building a career. Having a strong digital presence on LinkedIn and knowing how to build your network in a digital age has never been more crucial than it is right now. In fact, an article by Forbes says that everything from “an article you share on LinkedIn” to the “person you choose to sit next to at lunch” are all a part of the networking mix. How you successfully build your digital network is just as important as who you’re spending time with in the office. To help round out your digital networking skills, we’ve compiled our top 5 ideas below. Use these to build your network in a digital age!
1. Attend webinars in and out of your industry.
One of the best ways to enhance your digital network is to attend webinars held by industry experts. If there is a certain topic in or outside of your industry you’re curious about, sign up for a webinar to learn more! Often, the moderators will have a Q+A section built into the agenda so you can ask your questions. They will also email out a recap to attendees at the end. After this, you should take the initiative to connect with them on LinkedIn, and send a note to thank them for their time and insight! Make sure the note is concise, specific, and friendly. It starts a conversation that will enable you to keep in touch with thought leaders in your industry. Additionally, it enables you to passively see what they’re up to as they post on LinkedIn, grow their careers, and share new market insights.
2. Research dream companies and discover your mutual connections.
When you’re researching companies, pay attention and see if any of your connections or people from your alma mater work there. Then, before you apply, send a quick note. You can ask them about the open position, their experience, and if they’d be interested in connecting on the phone or on Zoom. Extending the first contact and steering the conversation is key - plus, an internal referral goes a long way!
3. Be an active LinkedIn user.
It’s 2020 - if you don’t have an active LinkedIn profile, you need to. With its 675 million monthly users, the platform has more users than Twitter, WhatsApp, and Snapchat. According to that same article, the platform gets 15x more content impressions than ordinary job postings, meaning that posting on your feed = great professional exposure!To maintain an active LinkedIn profile, make sure you’re commenting on posts, tagging individuals, and sharing posts from users/companies that you find worthwhile; updating your notification settings can make sure that the right content is consistently finding its way to you. Additionally, when someone says something you resonate with, send over a connection request and start the conversation. You can also turn on the setting to let recruiters know you are open to new opportunities. Finally, make sure you’re posting when you hit career milestones, like a promotion or location change.
4. Scrub those other socials clean!
Nowadays it’s second nature for our recruiters to check social media accounts before we pitch candidates for any job, because the fact of the matter is that someone’s LinkedIn presence might not align with their Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Scrub clean your social media accounts, and make your accounts private.
5. Maintain contact with previous managers and coworkers.
When you leave a previous position, it can be easy to lose touch with individuals that you once worked closely with, except for the occasional reference request. Try not to let this happen, as everyone you were once on a team with could be a possible contact in the future. When you leave a company or role, make sure to get updated contact information for those you worked closely with. Use email to check in with them every once in a while. If you’re comfortable, use your personal social media account to further stay connected. By keeping your relationship going, you ensure that your old coworker keeps you top-of-mind. Odds are, they will vouch for you or reach out if they see something that might work for you.
While in-person networking is still very important, it might not be as possible right now. The digital renaissance has opened up a whole new place to build professional connections. Individuals must now make sure that their online network is as robust as their in-person one. By following the steps above, working hard, and being enthusiastic about the process, you’ll be well on your way to building a network fit for this digital age.