Networking — it’s not always the easiest thing to do, but it is critical for opening new doors for yourself. Thanks to online communications platforms and social media networks, meeting and finding new people has never been easier. Of course, that doesn’t make the idea of reaching out to someone new any less intimidating. That’s why we created this guide to successfully networking, both online and offline.
Many times, when a prospective employer searches your name, your LinkedIn profile will pop up in one of the top spots. Make sure you are making the right first impression with a complete and thorough profile. Creating an effective LinkedIn profile involves more than just listing your job title and adding a photo of yourself for your profile picture. Include a headline and blurb about your experience in the “about” section of your profile. Make sure you include relevant keywords relating to your skills and interests, such as “social media marketing” or “executive assistant” for recruiters in the description. Just as you would with your regular resume, remember to list your past job experiences, education, and accomplishments. Keywords are important in these sections as well!
Once you finish your profile, it is time to expand your network. Use this platform to connect with alumni and fellow co-workers. With LinkedIn, you can find professionals in your industry within minutes. Let’s say you have always wanted to work at Netflix. Simply search for “Netflix” under the “Companies” category. On the left-hand sidebar, is a tab for “People.” Using this link, you can find school alumni, past colleagues, and employees with mutual connections. If you want to connect with alumni, send them a concise but thoughtful message. Don’t directly ask for a job. Instead, introduce yourself, mention your mutual connection to your alma mater, and inquire if they would be willing to chat with you on the phone for a few minutes. If they live near you, propose a coffee meeting with them. However, don’t be offended if they prefer a phone call instead, as they may be quite busy with work and their own networking endeavors. Don’t be discouraged if some people don’t get back to you. Sometimes, all it takes is one person to help you land your dream job.
Online Facebook groups can be great for seeking out mentors in your field. Many people join these groups to share advice, meet new people, or even find support for achieving personal goals and milestones. Some people even publish job postings. To remain active, you can also share relevant links, start discussions, and answer questions that fellow members ask.
Networking can seem like an extremely daunting task at first. However, the more you practice it, the more confident you will grow in your abilities over time. What are your networking tips? Tweet us and share! For more helpful content, check out our blog.