17 Tips for Building Your Network Online
Online networking has revolutionized the way people build and maintain relationships and search for jobs. Imagine being able to go into the offices of everyone you know and search through their Rolodex or have a conversation with dozens of people from all over the world, all from the comfort of your keyboard. That is the power of online networking.
Here are some tips on how to maximize your online presence, build meaningful relationships, and connect with people who may be able to help you in your search.
- Create profiles on business and social networking and online identity sites to make it easier to be found by hiring managers.
- With traditional networking you can only be in one place at a time; with online networking you can interact with multiple communities simultaneously.
- Put your name in quotes into a search engine and see what comes back. Do you exist online and is your online presence distinctive?
- Networking sites are not just for socializing; they are robust searchable databases full of critical information on people and companies.
- Every online community has its own culture. Spend some time observing the culture before you jump in.
- Nix the "I'm looking for work" status updates when chatting in online communities. They make you sound desperate and don't show your value.
- Online networking does not have a "build it and they will come" mentality; work your online network daily.
- Spend about an hour a day working your online network.
Hiring managers conduct online searches on candidates before the interview and may reject candidates based on what they do or do not find.
- People who don't think online networking is relevant to their job search will become irrelevant to the hiring managers who think it is.
- Add a professional headshot to your online profiles. When the photo is missing, people wonder why.
- When inviting someone to your online network, be authentic and write a personal message. Nothing screams "lazy" like a canned invitation.
- Take the time to create a robust profile on your networking sites; a complete profile is more searchable by recruiters and hiring managers.
- Create a public profile with a vanity URL on your networking profiles, with your first and last name, to maximize your exposure.
- Commit to adding at least five new contacts per week and reconnecting with at least five people in your network each week.
- Reconnecting with someone you haven't spoken to in years by calling them is awkward; reconnecting through social media platforms is not.
- Online networking is a great option for shy job seekers because unlike live networking, you can craft or edit a message before you hit send.
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