Networking in a Virtual Environment
Network Within : The first,
easiest, and one of the best ways to network is to reach out to people
within your organization. Networking with colleagues throughout your
company and in various departments will help you understand where your
organization is headed, its culture, and what it takes to get ahead.
Your colleagues can also help introduce you to people outside your
organization, expanding your network even further.
When you introduce yourself to new colleagues, be sure to explain your job and how you impact the company. In return, ask about your colleague’s job, any projects they are working on, and how you might assist. Even if you can’t help them, asking them sparks trust, leading to a solid work relationship. Networking is built off of give and take, as well as trust.
Social Platforms : Platforms such as LinkedIn allow people worldwide to expand their network and gain knowledge, but using it strategically is a bit of an art. Sending invites and simply connecting does not grow your network. To strategically network on LinkedIn, you must provide your connections with relevant and current information. Sharing information such as industry news and published articles are great ways to help your network stay abreast of current trends. You can also network by showcasing your skills and sharing your voice through posts and articles of your own. This type of networking can open new doors to companies and people that you may have never had an opportunity to “meet” otherwise.
Recruiter : Connecting with a recruiter can be one of the most beneficial and easiest ways to network. A recruiter has access to many decision-makers, vast market knowledge, and up-to-date information on current events and trends. Since a recruiter’s job focuses on connecting and networking, they can help introduce you to people or groups that you may not have known about otherwise.
You can generally find and connect with a recruiter on LinkedIn or visit various staffing websites. Once you connect with a recruiter and find they are the right match for you, keep in mind that networking is a two-way street. Recruiters seek candidate and client referrals and typically give referral payouts to those who provide a successful referral. Checking in with your recruiter every so often will allow both of you to stay in the know of each other’s status and goals.