online networking

Candidate Career Lab Video Series – Online Networking Using LinkedIn

Traditional networking in the form of corporate events, breakfast seminars, brown bag lunches etc have, thanks to Covid-19, become pretty much redundant. For some, who find in-person networking hard to stomach, this will come as welcome news. For others, it’s a missed opportunity. Either way, forget everything you thought you knew – it’s now time to pivot to online networking. 

I recall working at HubSpot back in 2012 when we were first opening our EMEA office as a start-up. We began as a team of 10 and we had the most aggressive hiring plans I’d ever seen. Every month we would hold different networking events, sometimes at the offices where we would put on a presentation, sometimes more informal get-togethers in local bars or restaurants. We would put out an open invite to anyone who was interested in learning more about the product, company, culture and we’d welcome anyone who wanted to come along for drinks, food and a chat about what we could do for them if they came to work for us. We would literally throw everything we had at attracting talent and it was very much an employee’s market.

Fast forward to post-Covid 19 and not only has there been a shift in HOW we network due to social distancing but we are now in a very different market state, where there are significantly more people competing for significantly fewer roles.

So, how do we network effectively without actually being able to meet anybody?

LinkedIn is still the number one tool at our disposal and, after building out your profile (see last week’s post) the next step is to use it to start networking following 3 simple steps – Grow, Engage, Contribute.

  1. Grow Your Network by adding contacts. People you know, people you want to know, people you admire, people doing the same job as you in other companies, people doing the job you WANT to be doing in other companies, department heads, thought leaders in your space etc. Make sure you also follow the companies you are interested in – stay up to date with their launches, product information, blog posts – understand what THEY are interested in.
  2. Engage With Your Network by interacting with their posts and updates. When commenting on content do so in a genuine, meaningful way. Don’t create online noise for the sake of it, or simply to further your own gain, instead try to take part in the conversation by adding to the narrative. If a colleague gets a promotion – congratulate them, but do it because you mean it not because you want to be seen. Share someone else’s post that you found helpful and say why. Join Groups that you are interested in with people in your industry or areas that you are involved in. These spaces are a great place to build up your network and make meaningful connections through a shared interest.
  3. Contribute To Your Network by creating your own content. Write LinkedIn articles or blog posts for your company sharing your own experiences or insights. Create your own personal online brand by differentiating yourself as an independent thought leader. Even better, commit to a schedule and create your own content plan. The same way a company uses it’s website to drive traffic and leads we can all use our LinkedIn accounts to do the same.  And if you need additional professional help there are some fantastic expert services out there such as the likes of John Espirian

What do you think about the shift in how we network for career growth?