Posted on April 6, 2021 at 8:46 PM
It’s no secret that networking is vital for your career. Whether you’re just starting down a certain career path or you’re a seasoned veteran, making connections is important. You might be reaching out for help with a new position, or you just need some advice on how to handle a situation the best way possible. Networking comes in all shapes and sizes.
With the spread of COVID-19, virtual networking has become more important than ever. There aren’t many face to face gatherings going on yet, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t connect online and grow our network.
While there might be no right or wrong way to network, there are mistakes to avoid if you’re looking to create a long-lasting relationship.
1. Don’t Be Unprofessional Because You’re At Home
If you’re getting ready for an interview over Zoom, Skype, or another video app, you need to act as though you’re at an office. Make sure that the lightning and volume is good before you begin, and you should also be wary of your background. If your room or home office is a complete sty, that will reflect negatively with the people you’re networking with.
Still try and dress the same as you would if you were going out, make sure your room is clean and everything is functioning properly. First impressions are essential and do the small things to ensure that you make a good one.
2. Remember That Networking Is A Two Way Street
People often forget that networking should be beneficial for both parties. We get caught up in self-promotion that we tend to forget about the true meaning of networking. It’s all about helping each other out, and people that forget that don’t often form long lasting connections.
If you’re asking for a favour, then offer to do one in return. You need something from them and there’s a good chance that you could be of service to them.
3. Start A Conversation With Existing Contacts
Networking isn’t just about seeing how many connections you can get, or only contacting people when you need something. It’s about much more than that. So don’t just focus on new connections or simply reaching out when you need something.
Start a conversation just to catch up. Ask how they’re doing during COVID, how they’re holding up. Your connections will appreciate that and it’s a great way of networking. Nobody wants to be contacted simply when there’s a sales pitch. Start a real conversation.
4. Don’t Send Random Connection Requests Without A Message
This one relates to LinkedIn. If you’re trying to grow your network on this platform, remember to add a personal message to go along with any connection requests, if you don’t already know the person.
Most professionals don’t mind connection requests from people they don’t know. That’s how the platform works. But they want to have an idea of your interest in being their connection. That’s why a quick message stating why you would like to connect is a good idea.
5. Remember That People Operate In Different Time Zones
There are many different online events being prepared by professionals all over the world. Something to remember when doing this, is that people are operating in different time zones. You need to make meetings and webinars accessible for everyone.
Pick a time that works for your global team, and make sure that you ask them beforehand, and this way you can plan around everybody's schedule.
Networking is a great thing and the possibilities are endless. You just need to make sure that you’re being thoughtful and caring when it comes to networking. You’re likely on different social media platforms, just think about things that you don’t like, and remember them when you’re growing your network.