For a lot of us right now all over the world we have lost the opportunity to network face to face. To go to large scale events. Meet-ups. Conferences etc. Our traditional ways of connecting with others are largely gone. But, just because our ability to connect easily face to face has changed, doesn’t mean our ability to network and maintain a real depth of connection needs to.
I get questions from coaching clients regularly about how to network in an online world without coming across as non-genuine, or desperate. This can feel particularly difficult when you are proactively looking for a job, and therefore you know that you have a reason for wanting to connect with others.
But, here is the long and the short of it in the world according to Claire (Hello there!). Networking shouldn’t be viewed as something that you only do when you need something from someone – it shouldn’t even be viewed as something that you do when you need something at all.
Networking needs to be an activity that you view as part and parcel of your career learning and growth, now and forever more. It isn’t something that you only do each time you are looking for work and need help getting a job.
Networking should be viewed as an opportunity to do one or more of the following 3 things;
Consume – whereby you are genuinely engaging in other peoples knowledge, thoughts, opinions and ideas, and you add even more value to them online (not detract as I see so many people do these days online!). There are numerous platforms for you to do this on, but LinkedIn is a no brainer here from a professional starting point. Other opportunities would include online networking groups for professionals in your area of expertise, online group chat forums etc.
Connect - meaning you create a sincere and authentic connection with someone who you believe you have both something to learn from them, and some value to provide to them in return. When you do connect with people don’t just go and click “connect” on LinkedIn with every person who has a title or a position that you aspire to. Actually write them a personalised note of why you want to connect – this comes across as far more sincere and will have a much greater chance of working in your favour. Once your request has been accepted, actually connect with this person and try to engage in a conversation – again, not about your needs, but about their world.
Contribute – I imagine for most people reading this who previously went to face to face networking events or functions, that you didn’t just rock up, stand in the corner and contribute nothing (even though I imagine there were times when you wanted to!) – then don’t do it online. Share your own thought leadership, your ideas, ask questions to get to know others, share articles that you’ve read that add value, and contribute to the conversation.
For those reading this who are consciously looking for work right now, please ensure that you are also proactively doing the following things online consistently and not just when you need something;
Showing you how you can build a conscious network map and nurture it for the long term is part of our private 6 month ‘Sell yourself with Confidence’ transformational program. If you know you need more help selling yourself online, in person, or even to yourself (Hello self-doubt and Imposter Syndrome!), click here for more information on this absolute career game-changer! You’ll get a free downloadable PDF that will tell you everything you need to know about the program to work out if it is right for you (Psssttttt…. It totally is though!)
Claire Seeber is a self-proclaimed travel addict, mini-sausage dog mumma, avid blogger, a lover of a good glass of pinot noir and believes a solid belly laugh should be part of your every day.
She is also a professional coach, speaker and People and Culture consultant. Claire started her business in 2017 whilst working full time as General Manager of HR for a large retail business. What she loves the most about the work she does is being able to work with passionate, motivated and courageous people who genuinely want to reach their full potential and are ready to put the hard yards in to get there.