Whether you are looking for full-time employment or your next internship, Networking is key! With more traditional avenues of networking, like happy hours or professional meet ups, being closed down, how on earth can you network?
Fortunately, modern technology is here to help keep your network growing and your relationships deepening! Here are a few ways we suggest that will appeal to the person who is following the strictest guidelines of social distancing.
Make the effort. The most difficult part of actively networking right now is that the natural opportunities are all but gone. So if this was your primary source of connecting, you’ll need to be more intentional about it now. Perhaps you were used to making the rounds at the office, catching up over happy hour, or shooting the breeze with your running group. Or maybe you’re an avid speaker, conference participant, business traveler or co-working space member who met new contacts regularly through daily interactions. When these opportunities are shut down, it’s easy to let one week, then two, then a month go by without connecting. Since we don’t yet know how much time will be needed to successfully flatten the curve, don’t wait. Be proactive in finding new ways to network daily such as emails, social media, webinars, online group chats or whichever technology feels most comfortable to you. This way you’ll stay top of mind and be exposed to new information more readily.
Think long-term. Even if you’re not in an urgent job search or your business isn’t forced to curtail activities due to quarantine restrictions, what you do now can have a major impact on what opportunities flow your way down the road. If you have a business, connect with customers to share updates and ask how you can support them even if they aren’t in a position to engage your paid services. Provide free tools if you’re able, either through your organization or others that might benefit them. If your current employment situation hasn’t been impacted beyond an increase in working remotely, recognize that it may be if this quarantine lasts longer than a few weeks. This isn’t meant to instill fear but rather meant to instill action. Staying connected to your network, helping others where possible and building goodwill can only serve you well in the future.
Embrace the sense of community. Government and corporate support are growing as organizations figure out new ways to assist those who’ve been impacted, but since we can’t know what each of our individual futures hold, waiting to see what happens isn’t a prudent choice. It can be tough to take action without clear direction, but sometimes it’s that action — even if it doesn’t seem directly beneficial in the moment — that opens your eyes to a new perspective or idea (see Managing Your Career During The Coronavirus Crisis). If you’re in a position to help others now, do it. Reach out, contribute, support, connect, or encourage. If you’re in a position where you could use help, don’t isolate. Let people know specifically what you need. Not everyone will be able to support you in the way that’s most helpful, but they likely know of a resource or contact who can, and if not, they can do some research within their networks. Tough situations can bring out the best in communities to rally support, and most everyone I’ve interacted with wants to help and are looking for ways to do this. Give them the opportunity and you may be surprised how it deepens the relationship on both sides.
Want more great tips on networking from home? Read more at Forbes