Networking 2.0: Going Beyond LinkedIn
The world of networking is ever-growing and evolving. Gone are the days of our fathers, where networking happened on the 9th hole of a swanky golf course while smoking cigars. Today, networking, like almost everything else, has gone digital. With the click of a few buttons, you have the ability to instantly connect with corporate executives, business owners, and other business professionals. Online networking, or social networking, is now the quickest and most effective way to network with others. If you are looking for the best way to network in order to land that job you want, then here are a few things you will want to know.
WHAT IS LINKEDIN?
LinkedIn is the largest social networking site for business professionals. Established in 2003, it now boasts over 65 million users. The purpose of LinkedIn is to allow its users to establish and connect with a network of business professionals. As the user, you post a profile which contains your employment history, skillsets, education background and contact information. Your profile now acts as your resume as you start to network with other professionals. You can then request connections with others and join common groups. LinkedIn is a great tool to help you network with those professionals that you would generally be unable to connect with both locally and even internationally; however, the downside of LinkedIn is that you can have hundreds of connections and the majority don’t really know who you are. You are just one of the many profiles they’ve collected in their “network.” For this reason, you do not want to limit your networking to LinkedIn alone. You need to diversify your networking to better accomplish your goal.
OTHER NETWORKING SITES TO UTILIZE
There are a variety of different social networking sites worth taking part in. Here are some of the top sites we would recommend learning more about:
- Nexxt – allows you to network with professionals and find jobs
- Meetup – this is a networking website that connects you with other likeminded individuals who wish to meet together
- Networking for Professionals – allows you to network and attend in-person events
- Facebook – utilize the group searches to find others with common professional interests
- Instagram – this site can allow you an outlet to highlight your business and professional skills
- Twitter – you can network in the same way you would with Facebook and Instagram
Make sure that when utilizing these sites, you are putting your best foot forward and using the same etiquette you would use face-to-face. Introduce yourself right away and make sure you know the rules of the site or group so you do not cross any boundaries.
OTHER WAYS TO NETWORK
Network Your Inner Circle – When networking or searching for a job, you should never underestimate the power of your current network and personal connections. They already know you and your professional abilities and can be your greatest resource. If they don’t know of an opportunity, they may know of someone else who does. For this reason, you should reach out to them and pass along your resume.
Get Business Cards – Another great way to network is in your daily interactions. You should always carry current, professional-looking business cards and pass them out to the people around you. This could include the people in your spin class or the other parents at your child’s basketball game. You never know what kind of opportunity may present itself.
Volunteer – Volunteering is actually a great way to interact with other professionals. Many corporate businesses encourage and compensate their employees for volunteer hours, so this is a great way to network while also making a positive impact.
The bottom line when it comes to networking is to literally exhaust all resources. The more people you can encounter and connect with, the greater your opportunity to land a job or advance your career. When job searching or networking, you cannot afford to be introverted. You need to present yourself confidently with the mindset that you are a professional asset. So get out there and strike up a conversation!