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HOW TO NETWORK ONLINE LIKE A TRUE PROFESSIONAL

28th July 2016  |  Career Management , Individuals

There’s not much social media hasn’t mastered in the last 10 years, from viral posts, news sharing, advertising, and now, networking.

Traditionally when we hear the term networking, we think of face-to-face discussions, attending networking events in crowded function rooms and meeting people for the very first time. Thanks to social media sites, the traditional form of networking has shifted, welcoming social media networking.

The power of having the ability to communicate with a variety of businesses and professionals through social media networking certainly presents itself as a great opportunity to get your foot in the door.

Here’s a guide on how to exploit these opportunities now presenting themselves.

Using LinkedIn to network

Even though you can directly approach individuals on LinkedIn, it can be seen as rude if you don’t know them. Our step-by-step guide below is a great way to network on LinkedIn:

1. Join groups of interest

A great way of allowing a potential employer to familiarise themselves with you and your skills is to join popular groups of interest which are related to your industry/occupation, as there’s a good chance that a prospective employer will already be a part of this group.

2. Get engaged with the group

The next step is to contribute meaningful comments and content which are relevant and thought provoking, as this will help you to get noticed. By doing so you will establish an online presence within the group, resulting in starting to get noticed by other members.

3. Approach a group member directly

Once your presence has been established, use a bit of tact to determine when would be the right time to approach another member directly.

Once you’ve established a connection with a member of the group, even though you’re looking for a job, asking for a job is the last thing you should do. Again, this bad etiquette, so focus on questions which allow you to get to know the individual instead. Ask questions on how they got to where they are, or what are best pieces of advice they can offer you as your goals align with theirs.

4. Initiate a catch-up

As your relationship grows and trust has been established, you could even organise a face to face meeting. Ask your connection if they’d like to meet for a coffee; there’s nothing quite like human contact so take that next step and solidify your connection. If you’ve reached this stage, it’s a safe bet that you’ve endeared yourself enough for them to keep you in mind for current and future employment opportunities within their organisation!

In addition to networking with other members, an increasing number of companies are now advertising vacant roles on LinkedIn which you can apply for directly. LinkedIn actually shows you which of your contacts are employed in companies which currently have vacancies advertised.

Therefore if you’re interested in an advertised role, you have the option of contacting a person which:

  • Works for the organisation, and
  • You already know!

Another important element of your LinkedIn profile, is ensuring you are endorsing your own personal brand. This provides yourself with an identifiable brand, and helps you to market yourself effectively.

Social networking on Twitter

Probably not as synonymous with the employment market as LinkedIn, but is certainly gaining popularity in this regard.

1. Follow groups of interest

First and foremost, start following organisations you’re interested in working for – as a large amount will Tweet about new job openings prior to them hitting the market. You may have noticed that employees also will Tweet about new job openings so it may be an idea to follow them also.

2. Get sharing

Once you’ve built up your professional Twitter network you can start sharing industry specific content that will stir discussion, which of course will help you to build up your online Twitter brand and make you stand out from the crowd. Write tweets sharing your own professional words of wisdom, or even share humorous Tweets or content related to your industry or occupation as this will be sure to draw attention!

3. Tweet your aspirations

Now that your online Twitter brand has been established, you may feel comfortable to Tweet about your current employment goals. Because Twitter has a 140-character limit, this provides you with an opportunity to be straight to the point regarding your career goals and aspirations.

 

What are you waiting for?!

A common theme found here at INS when career coaching clients, is that they’re aware that you can network via the above-mentioned social media platforms, but aren’t exactly sure of the right online networking techniques to use and therefore unfortunately it gets neglected.

Networking via these online platforms is then easiest way to access the hidden job market. According to forbes.com, half of available jobs aren’t advertised – so why not make the most of it? Applying for jobs via online job boards and search engines means that you’ll be going up against large amounts of competition, so despite how good you are and what skills and experience you bring to the table, at times it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd.

So why not try your hand at online networking? It’s quick, easy, and best of all most of these platforms are completely free to use. What have you got to lose?

Matt Appassamy
Career Coach

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