We all know how important networking is for our career, especially if you are thinking about relaunching or transitioning, and now that we are in the face of a global pandemic this will be more challenging. However, the good news is that despite this challenge, it is still possible through technology and social media to maintain your connections, and even create new ones during lockdown and/or while social distancing.
Considering all the worry and uncertainty that we’re currently facing, it’s understandable that many people may find it challenging to build a great network virtually. But, it’s important to remember that strengthening existing professional contacts and pursuing new ones could be beneficial once the pandemic is over.
Here are four tips on how to maintain networking during lockdown:
- Contact people you haven’t heard from in a while
Simply spending a few minutes each day contacting people you haven’t spoken to in a while and asking them how they are doing is a friendly gesture that they will remember and keeps you in touch.
- Update your LinkedIn Profile
Now is an excellent time to make sure your profile is up to date with a professional looking picture. Ask your current connections for recommendations, join groups and engage with your connections by liking and commenting on posts.
It is essential that you are visible on LinkedIn, especially if you are thinking about relaunching or transitioning your career, as companies and recruiters are currently spending more time than ever on social media.
- Approach new contacts
Why not use the extra time you have gained from not commuting to think about new contacts you could add to your current network? But ensure that you build a broad network of knowledgeable connections, both inside and outside of your own field and industry, as research by Rosina Racioppi, CEO of the US firm Women Unlimited, shows that you will be more successful if you do this.
According to Racioppi, women especially are more likely not to approach someone whose work they admire out of fear of rejection or feeling reluctant to impose on someone else’s time and attention. But as she says, you should never assume rejection as most people are receptive, so consider sending a LinkedIn request with a thoughtful note that briefly asks for advice on a specific business issue or situation.
- Set up phone or video calls
Now is an excellent time to find out more about a job or career that you have been considering for a while. Reach out to old and new contacts and set up phone or video calls to gather information, especially from those who already work in the field you are interested in.
Most people are working from home at the moment and some will have time on their hands, so should be more than willing to help you.
Remember, what you do now will have a strong impact on future opportunities, so staying connected is more important than ever.
This article was written by Katherine Newnham, Marketing Coordinator at The Return Hub
* The Return Hub is an executive search firm that places professionals who want to relaunch or transfer their careers with employers in the financial services sector. They also advise on and implement practical strategies that companies can use to target, assess, hire and support returning talent.