Discover the use of online networking and use it as an essential tool for a successful outcome for your business development or for job search.
Networking has always been a reason for our development into new ventures. Face to face meetings are best to build our chain of relationships with others but don’t neglect online network connections when we emphasize on quality networking. Online networking does the best job with people who like to spend time on computers and the internet as they have access to reach numbers of social sites on the web. Many of us still prefer to have in-person networking while others are more comfortable using tablets, computers, phones, and monitors based on their preference. If you can spend little time on the internet to interact with new contacts it's more likely you will find online networking a great tool to convert online connections into a face to face meeting.
Online networking is nothing but engaging oneself to develop professional and social connections online using digital tools to build relationships. For job hunters, it may sound difficult as networking takes a lot of time but it is indeed an essential part to lean to find the job you really want. Nearly 80 percent of jobs are hidden, to find a job networking plays a good role to help you find one suitable for you. Before you jump into any online networking sites have a purpose or goal why you want to connect with people. May be someone wants to take a bit of advice for a new startup or venture, to get a new job, to build a pool of networks, to learn and expand knowledge, or to be social in any particular region or industry. Have a purpose to meet your goals and to help you connect with people easily.
Start preparing early if you are going to networking for a professional event or fair. Start by making a list of your contact whom you like. Contacts who have to help you with some important work or have inspired you. Start your network by a warm call and reach out to people you already know for long. Make a call even to those you have not called for years. This will take you to further step of increasing your connection with them via social networks like LinkedIn. You may reach out to some people who are experts in the same field as yours or can get contact with their known group of people having similar goals as yours.
Make a list of people you want to know. If you have less contact on your list then switch to a list of people or companies you would like to know. Let’s take an example if you are looking for an entry-level job at college. Then start making a list of professors in your region. You can visit a website of the college and read their staff page. You may find people who are in a position you would like to be in. Search them on social media and schedule a meeting online with the help of LinkedIn or other social media platforms. After a reasonable connection, you might become a part of their contact. You might get email ID’s, contact of references, or other sources of contact having similar interest. Another best example is to connect with the alumni of your college. You can start by looking at alum in your college and seeing if any of them work in a similar field.
Keep a record of contacts. While you start networking, keep a record of your contacts in a separate excel file or manual file. Making a list of your connection in a spreadsheet or using Google Docs might be more useful in the future and definitely worth it. You can keep records by creating columns for people name, company name, location, contact details, email ID, designations, area of work, date of contact, or any other if you want to include further to track your network in a time frame. This is a help to you by keeping records if you have sent an important document or information with your contacts as it is hard to remember everything in mind.
Build a network with care. Online networks work differently for different people. Some might take longer to connect and some might jump direct to the purpose of their goal and ask for an opportunity. You can fail to build a good network if you go fast. If you want to succeed in networking, you need to build trust and offer value to others to build a strong connection and no fake one. You can start a conversation by complimenting them on social media content or like or comment your views on their content. You can start a light conversation to know them and their interest to find out the similarity of topics you can converse on. Make trust first to have long-lasting online networking.
A note of gratitude is important if you are networking. It is important if your purpose is to build a lasting connection or to get a new job or have advice on your new venture for business development. An email or handwritten note of thanks works well when you want to impress or stay connected in the long run. It will take you less time from your busy schedule to express your appreciation and it will go long way.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
— Maya Angelou
Follow your network. People always want to follow up to whom they respond with an expectation of any outcome. It is always good to follow up on the network if you don’t hear from them for too long, usually for 2-3 weeks after your first initiative. Following up saves your time, in the long run, to get an answer from your connections. This way you bridge the gap of non-communication and promote yourself based on your skills and experience. However, if they don’t respond on follow up you can leave them and move on to next.
Maintaining a relationship with networks is important to keep things going. You can maintain by any initiatives you prefer might work well for you both. A small email update, or a coffee meeting. Maintain your network connections with natural and safe and not forced. It is an essential skill in modern time to grow your professional network which started with an online initiative to help you reach out to your goals.