At some point or another during your career you will likely be told to, “Get out there and network.” We full-heartedly agree networking is important, but what do you do if you can’t physically “get out there”? Well have no fear, you can still make new connections and grow your network from the comfort of your own home!
LinkedIn is the number one resource available for anyone looking to network. Start by making sure you have a detailed profile. Job recruiters use LinkedIn as a search engine and the more detailed your profile, the more likely you are to match one of their searches. Next, add anyone you have, or previously had, a professional relationship with. Recent grads who have smaller professional networks can add former classmates. Your classmates who studied the same subjects as you are likely working in similar industries and are great connections to maintain. To make new connections, join groups that focus on your industry and participate actively. Get to know the other group members and impress them with your knowledge and experience.
Most people do not fully take advantage of LinkedIn. Aside from maintaining connections, LinkedIn is a platform that encourages you to brag about your success; do so in more detail through status updates and blog posts. There is even a section on your profile to share any awards you have received. Many recruiters rely on LinkedIn to hire, so make sure everything you do is professional!
The more detailed your LinkedIn profile, the more likely you are to match a recruiter's job search.
You probably already know that you should keep all of your social media profiles appropriate in case a future employer looks you up, but here is another reason to keep your profiles clean. Social media can be a great place to connect with employers. This does not apply to all jobs and industries, but it is a possibility especially for more creative fields. Way back when, the only way we could contact future employers was through their website. Thanks to social media, companies nowadays are all over the digital world and lucky for us, we have more options to message and connect. Personal success story: Years ago when I was searching for internships, I private messaged a large cosmetics company on Facebook because I didn’t want my application to get lost in their generic help email. It helped me earn a connection and was given the email address of the head of their HR department! If you are not currently searching for a job, following companies you admire on social media, sharing their content positively and engaging with them can be great for making a sincere connection before you apply for a job.
Blogs and Forums
Follow blogs and forums focused on subjects you are passionate about and participate in comment sections and threads frequently. Not only will you gain more knowledge about the subject of your choice, but you will meet people with the same passions as you. Personal success story #2: A friend of mine used to frequently comment on a video game forum, asking questions about how the game was designed. His expertise and passion for game design caught the attention of someone who worked at the company. He was offered an internship while in school and now works for the company full time! Talk about dream come true!