Networking in a digital world

Dan Wilbeck, HR consultant
February, 2024

Online networking plays a crucial role in shaping our careers, particularly for those new to the workforce or looking to switch roles. Navigating the digital space can feel overwhelming, but there's lots you can do to get ahead

Tactics for success

A good place to start is LinkedIn, which offers various tools such as content sharing, personal profiles, and access to over 700 million users. It is an excellent place to start when seeking new opportunities and enhancing your social presence.

To take your career to the next level, participate in online workshops, career fairs, and webinars. Just attending these events isn't enough; actively engaging with them in discussions or a follow-up DM or email can help you broaden your knowledge, and connect with industry experts and potential mentors.

Keep in mind that these events can help you establish valuable connections that might lead to job opportunities. Show your enthusiasm, ask questions, and make your presence known. Even if there aren't any current job openings, you can still contact your connections and seek guidance, support or mentorship.

You may also want to explore industry-specific networking platforms, such as GitHub or Behance, that cater to your particular career interests. These platforms can provide you with opportunities to connect with like-minded professionals, exchange knowledge on industry trends, and stay informed about the latest developments in your field.

Standing out in a virtual crowd

Your online persona is an extension of your professional self and serves as a representation of who you are to the outside world. It's important to note that your online presence should not remain static, but rather evolve and adapt as your career progresses.

Keeping your online profiles up-to-date, especially on platforms like LinkedIn, is essential to avoid any conflicting information or errors when you submit your CV, and by regularly updating your digital persona and highlighting your achievements and expertise, you can build a strong professional brand that will help you stand out in the competitive job market.

In creative careers, creating a virtual portfolio is like building a personalised exhibit showcasing your professional journey. Your content is not just text, but it can also be videography, audio, and imagery. Remember - you are creating a space that works for you.

Networking etiquette

It's important to remember that online interactions require proper etiquette and social awareness. One place where proper digital etiquette is especially important is during video calls. Whether you're participating in a workshop or webinar, it's crucial to represent yourself professionally and authentically.

Think of your virtual presence as you would your digital wardrobe and your webcam background as a personal stage; this means dressing appropriately in formal or smart/casual attire, being mindful of your body language, and ensuring that your surroundings are clean, organised, and free from distractions.

It's also a good idea to follow up after making initial connections with a reflective message or email about your chat. Consistently following up with people while remaining sincere is an effective way to strengthen connections and foster strong relationships, ensuring that your relationships thrive and flourish.

Overall, practising digital etiquette is a vital part of building and maintaining positive online relationships. By being mindful of others and representing yourself in a professional and authentic manner, you can help create a productive and respectful virtual environment for everyone involved.

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