Networking tips for success: online vs. in-person events

Careers expert Emma Alkirwi gives advice on how to use networking, whether online or in person, to your advantage.

Network of people in a team

 

If you’re:

  • Looking for a new job
  • Keen to meet like-minded professionals
  • Interested in making connections in a new industry

Then networking is key to success.

Networking isn’t just for business owners and entrepreneurs – it can help everyone in their career journey.

And for jobseekers, it is critical! According to HubSpot, 80% of job positions are filled through networking.

Networking today is a combination of online opportunities and face-to-face events. And you need to prepare differently for each.

If you’re new to networking, or have taken a break for a while, it can be a scary activity to throw yourself into.

Here’s our top networking tips to set you up for success – no matter what type you partake in.

Online Networking – LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great way to ease yourself into online networking – it is a less daunting kind of initial contact. You can also be specific about who you want to speak to and search for connections based on job title, industry or company.

This is a great way to make an impression before applying for a role or make connections at a company you would like to work for.

Tips to prepare:

  • Send a personalised message
  • Don’t go straight in trying to sell yourself to your new connection. This isn’t a job application or interview!
  • Try to build rapport instead. Ask questions, or talk about a recent post they put up or something you have in common. Give people a reason to respond and you will build a stronger connection.

Online Networking – Events

Online networking events are a popular way to meet other professionals.

Many people network online because it is so convenient. When you hop on a Zoom event, you don’t need to think about the time it takes to get a venue or a method of transport. You can connect with people from all around the world – this is useful if you are interested in remote working opportunities.

You can even do it in your pyjamas – although don’t quote that as a recommendation from us!

Tips to prepare:

Have a clear goal in mind

Online events are convenient – but time is limited. Your speaking opportunity may only be a 60-second pitch. So make sure you know what you want to achieve from each event.

Cover the key information:

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • Who you want to connect with
  • The opportunities you are looking for

It makes it easier for others to help you!

Show your personality

With busy calls and little time to speak, you need to make a great first impression.

Share a fun fact, some client results or a story from a previous job. Make yourself memorable. It could help you meet a new mentor, connect with similar people – or even introduce you to your next employer.

Arrange follow-ups

Think about online networking as making a quick introduction. You can’t get to know people in such a short time. Keep a note of everyone you meet and arrange a further chat with anyone you found interesting.

And don’t stick to the people you think will be able to help you straight away. Get to know as many people as possible. You would be surprised at the opportunities that could appear down the line!

Face-to-Face Networking

When networking online, your time to engage is quite limited, so you need to stay focused.

At in-person events you can have casual conversations, which helps build long-lasting relationships. It is also easier to focus. You won’t get distracted by emails, kids running around or household tasks that can occupy your mind when networking at home.

Tips to prepare:

Be enthusiastic!

There is no screen to hide behind – so attend in-person networking events with a positive attitude.

Greet people with a big smile and have open body language. People will gravitate towards you and want to learn more about you!

Be consistent

Face-to-face events give you the time to get to know people – but this doesn’t happen overnight.

If you find an event that you like, attend regularly. Your relationships will develop, and people will remember you. This puts you front of mind if an amazing opportunity comes up.

Ask questions

You have your reasons for attending networking events – and so does everyone else. Everyone will try to help you as much as possible, but this means you should return the favour. Ask questions and make introductions to support your new connections.

The more you help people, the more positively they will remember you – so they will make more of an effort to support you in achieving your goals.

Move around the room

Face-to-face networking can be intimidating, so it’s easy to spend the whole event speaking to one person. But your next employer, or a key player in an interesting industry, could be at the next table – you would never know!

You next opportunity can come from unexpected places, so try and speak to as many people as you can. Plus, your confidence will grow as you put yourself out there!

Collect contact information

You had a great conversation and are developing a connection with someone with your dream role. But they’ve left the event without giving you their information – so how do you keep in touch with them?

Attend in-person networking events with your information to hand. Exchange email addresses, hand out business cards or bring a QR code that links to your LinkedIn profile. Keep the conversation going after the event ends.

We hope this blog has given you some actionable networking tips to help you build connections and take the next step in your career. Online and face-to-face networking have different advantages. Our advice is to do both to create the strongest connections possible.

*Emma Alkirwi is the Managing Director of the CV Guru which is the leading service provider of professionally written CVs, LinkedIn Profiles, cover letters in the UK and they also provide specialist consultancy services.  The CV Guru listens to your past experience and future goals to create a first-class CV and Cover Letter and provides unlimited amends to make sure clients are happy with the end result.



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