How to Harness Your Virtual Networking Skills

As we are all aware, COVID has dramatically changed the landscape of the job market and, within this, how people find their ideal job. It has become so important that recruiters can see your personality and capabilities from behind a screen.

The focus in networking is on establishing good relationships with professionals that you can use to exchange information, gain advice, or find out about jobs not posted on company and public websites.

Within this, it is important to make sure you are improving how you communicate virtually before you can start thinking about effectively virtually networking. So here are some top tips for improving your general virtual professional communication firstly:

  1. Make sure your email communications are well written and concise. Whether you are reaching out to a LinkedIn connection or writing a formal email to an employee of a company you like the look of, you need to make sure you come across professionally and get all the information you need too out there, without writing them a 2,000-word essay.
  2. Join online events and put your camera on. Even if you are unsure and don’t want to ask any questions in front of everyone, having your camera on can help recruiters put a face to the name and you can show that you are engaged in the discussion without having to comment. It is very disconcerting for the recruiters and leaders of virtual employment fairs when they are looking at 50 black screens.
  3. Check your social media is up-to-date and suitable that if an employer was looking at your profile, it shows the type of person you want to show them. This way you can also use your social media, especially LinkedIn, to connect with people and they can instantly know your current employment status and what you’re looking for.

Here are some tips to expand your networking skills and build better relationships from behind a screen:

  1. Don’t focus on one specific person to connect with. If you want to reach out to a company, you can try multiple people to showcase your enthusiasm. A warning with this is don’t copy and paste the exact same email/LinkedIn message to every employee of the same company.
  2. Networking is most effective when you start with a clear purpose. Look at people you want to connect with on LinkedIn and understand how each of them can have their own unique take on securing a job and improving your skill set. Make sure you have clear questions for people and know what you want to accomplish from a connection with them.
  3. If you’re at the beginning of your networking journey, start with who you know. Look for active users on LinkedIn in your contact list and engage with them. If you are unsure on how to start up a conversation, pay attention to stuff they are posting and sharing and use that as your conversation starters. You can even ask friends/colleagues if they can introduce you to people in the industry that you’re looking to go into via a quick phone call or Zoom meeting.
  4. Remember, when approaching new contacts, networking is about building relationships that will be beneficial to your professional career, and not necessarily just asking someone if they have a job going and then dropping the connection if they say no.
  5. While it may seem correct to keep any conversations or communications work-related, it can be good to bring up other topics, including hobbies, to try and find common ground with the person. Personal interests can get the conversation flowing more and help establish these connections more naturally.

Try these other blogs from Henley Careers to further your understanding of LinkedIn and Networking:

5 tips to make the most of your LinkedIn

How to see LinkedIn as a Career Builder and not to get swept up into its destructiveness

Virtual Networking Tips