Networking activities sure have pivoted in the last few months. Social distancing and quarantine have forced us to be very creative in how we connect for our careers and job searches. Things have started to open back up. Restaurants are inviting diners in now. However, people are still being cautious about meeting in person, which is a good thing.
Thankfully, technology allows us to continue to connect virtually. Many networking groups like BNI, local Chambers of Commerce, National Association of Career Women, and more have mastered virtual networking activities with Zoom.
Here’s how you can participate and keep your game going while we emerge from the lockdown and figure out this new world we live in.
Networking Activities to Start Today
Research Local Networking Opportunities
Spend some time today researching opportunities to connect with other business professionals in your area. LinkedIn and Facebook are two good places to start. Look for events and meetings you can join virtually. Create a list of groups you are interested in and make a note of when they meet. Most organized networking groups meet regularly (online and/or in person). Don’t forget to put them in your calendar or set reminders for yourself of when they are happening.
Research Your Target Companies
We’ve written before about the importance of figuring out the types of companies you want to work for and then making a list of the specific ones to start really zeroing in on. This is a very critical part of your job search. It will save you a lot of time in the long run. You will avoid wasting time applying to companies that aren’t a good fit.
The first step is to see if you know anyone who works there currently, has worked there or has done business with the company. Start by searching the company on LinkedIn.
Conduct One Informational Interview a Day (at least)
Informational interviews are one of the MOST effective tactics in a successful job search. An informational interview is a structured (and scheduled) conversation you have with someone who either works at a company you are interested in or in the field or industry you are after. The more conversations you have with people who are doing what you want to do, the more opportunities you have to learn and make connections. People generally like to talk about their job and their work, so typically it is pretty easy to find out what you are after.
The best jobs are found through people you know, not a random job posting and online application.
Steps for setting up an informational interview:
- Make a list of people to contact
- Send an email or call them. Introduce yourself if you don’t know them.
- Let them know why are you contacting them. Explain that you are interested in what they do and would like to learn more.
- Request to schedule a time (no more than one hour) where you can interview them about their job and ask questions.
- Respect their time and stick to the time frame.
- Be sure to ask them if they know anyone else who might helpful for you to talk to. Ask them to introduce you.
- Ask if they know of any job openings at their company or somewhere else.
- Follow up with a “Thank You”
Connections are really important in your job search and in your career. Continue to foster good communication and relationships with professionals in your industry. You will be better informed and better at your job.
Good luck and we are here for you!
Need more job advice?
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