Whether you’re looking for a job, someone with a job, or a thought leader in your industry, networking is a critical part of anyone’s career journey. Connecting with others helps guide our career decisions and the paths we take along the way.
However, the networking game has changed in a workplace driven by remote practices. As a result, the way we used to meet people and build relationships is different. So, here’s what you need to consider when building a networking strategy for 2023.
- Be Open to Networking at Home – Start with LinkedIn but utilize all of your social media channels to expand your network. Connect with thought leaders, discover 2nd and 3rd connections on LinkedIn, and research groups on Facebook to see where your opportunities lie. Don’t be afraid to send direct messages when it’s appropriate. Also, research companies, industries, or cultures that drive your interests.
- Explore your Current Circle – Where in your career are you? What are you looking to do next? What are your professional passions and goals? Consider all of these questions when digging into your Rolodex and reaching out to people you already know. Keep your eyes open, too. It’s not just about who you know but who they know too. Do you have a connection who works with someone you’re interested in networking with? Reach out. Do you have a contact who is friends outside of work with someone in your industry? Ask them for an introduction.
- Make Yourself Known Online – Create an effective online presence. Everyone knows the importance of scrubbing your social media profiles to present yourself in the light you want when networking, but what about your presence in other areas online? Want to showcase your work or highlight your accomplishments? Create a personal website. This provides you with a place to develop your own narrative. You can share the link with others who might want to learn more about you or what you do. And as you build relationships, it’s a great place to drive people who might be able to lead you in a specific direction. Having a personal website also helps from a search engine optimization standpoint. It’s easier for people to find you on Google and connect.
- Still Get Out and Work It – It might be easier and more comfortable to sit at home and network there, but don’t be afraid to go out and meet with people face-to-face. Try not to overthink invitations to attend events. Just say yes. You never know who will be there or what topics will be discussed. Before going, prepare by remembering to actively listen to others you speak with, connect with multiple people throughout the night, and enjoy yourself. Don’t worry if you don’t walk away with new connections. Sometimes the act of getting up and out to network is great practice for future opportunities.
- Schedule Online Networking Time – It’s easy to schedule in-person networking because an event or conference happens on a specific day and time. But what about the networking you do online? Most of the time, this happens whenever you decide to open up your laptop and can be more spontaneous. However, make it a point to schedule your online networking time. Try to block off time for online networking at least once a week. This shouldn’t be something that takes over your life.