Most candidates know what they offer and what they want out of their careers but find it difficult to articulate those things on their resumes, cover letters, and online applications. For this reason, networking, be it online or in person, is a great way to organically spread the word about one’s career aspirations and, possibly, open doors.
Online & Social Networking
Joining and remaining active on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms is an excellent way to establish oneself as an industry leader and participant. Candidates in pursuit of greater opportunities can share news articles, research, and opinion pieces written by other authors and include personal context or experiences in the post. By sharing valuable content, those active in the industry will find common ground and ways in which to connect.
Candidates should also use social media platforms’ search tools to actively connect with industry colleagues and organizations. Most social media platforms allow users to search keywords, names, institution names, titles, etc. allowing candidates to respectfully follow and engage with leaders and peers in the industry. Establishing online contacts in this manner allows candidates to expand their pool and to learn from those making a difference within the industry.
Once connections are made, social media platforms like LinkedIn allow users to send messages for work anniversaries, promotions, and more. Using these friendly and professional greetings to engage with peers is a low-pressure way to stay in touch. Liking, commenting on, and sharing posts by organizations that may make a good match for employment ensures that candidates are staying on top of the company’s news, which would come in very handy during an interview.
Staying informed about advancements and promotions within one’s local industry is paramount to creating advancement opportunities. Now that in-person events, conferences, and conventions are on the rise, it’s important for those seeking out new opportunities to participate and engage with peers at these events.
While in-person networking may be difficult for some, due to social anxiety or disdain for small talk, nothing beats getting to know colleagues with shared interests and in similar roles. An easy way to make connections is to make eye contact and smile at other attendees. Especially if a candidate is not comfortable approaching a stranger, an inviting disposition will allow others to approach. Greeting those seated nearby during conferences and lectures is also an easy way to make meaningful connections, especially over multi-day events. And, of course, having a physical or virtual business card allows for possible follow-up if the need or interest arises.
Networking & The Follow-up
It is often said that “the fortune is in the follow-up” and that couldn’t be more true when it comes to networking for success. Especially after meeting colleagues at conferences, trade shows, etc., it’s important to follow up via email or connect on social media as a way to stay in touch. Most attendees at major industry events will meet dozens if not hundreds of contacts in a few hours or days, which means that only a select few will likely be recalled unless there is meaningful follow-up.
When following up, candidates should remind the contact how and when they met, reintroduce themselves, use no-pressure language, and offer to connect locally or provide a few ways in which they might work together in the future. Making connections in person and then following up by email ensures that fruitful connections remain as such, even after the craze of the event is over.
Using the Best Technology
In addition to actively networking, candidates should focus their efforts on using the most streamlined technology to make career connections. At Veterans ASCEND and Ability ASCEND, we match veterans and military spouses and the disability community respectively with employers using our AI-Powered Talent Sourcing Platform. Email us at email@example.com to learn how we help candidates reach their goals.