Online career networking - our top tips for a digital refresh

Active professional networking is vital to career growth and having an online presence is seen as essential now at whatever stage you are in your career journey. Networking can help you to build long-term relationships as well as boost your reputation by meeting and getting to know people who you can assist, and who can potentially help you in return. Reciprocity is important!

The growth of LinkedIn, other online social media channels has encouraged more of us to connect and e-meet than ever before. Doing this well can mean the difference between a mediocre career and a phenomenal career.

Marian Derbyshire, Post-Graduation Careers Consultant, Postgraduate Careers (Business School) sets out to demonstrate how you can utilise tools and digital platforms to enhance your career opportunities and position yourself or your business ahead of the competition.

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  • Develop a strategy

Formulate a strategy that works for you. What is the aim? What is your plan? What will your actions be and what are your goals? For example, you may want to connect with potential future employers or recruiters with the goal of elevating your career.

It may be that your aim is to connect with colleagues or peers to discuss professional issues, share ideas and experiences. Or it may be to develop new business or maintain a client base.

  • Choose the right channel

Where might you best achieve your aims? Think about your niche interests, job function, industry, and location - are there relevant and specific networks/groups that you can join? Which channels can help you to steer and pivot in the direction you want to go.

Where do you want to be located in the global marketplace? Different countries use different channels. For example, in October 2021 LinkedIn announced that it would no longer host social media and content sharing in China. Instead, LinkedIn launched a Chinese job search application - InCareers - serving job seekers in China. But the new service will not allow users to create and share content so may not be the right channel to use if the aim isn’t to seek out new job opportunities!

  • Share your goals

Focus on activities that will help you reach your goals. It might not be appropriate to share news widely that you are looking for a new role but you can do this privately by targeting and approaching individuals to gather information and test the waters.

Remember that networking is more than just about getting a job, it’s about sharing, not simply taking. It’s about forming trust and helping one another towards goals. Regularly engaging with your contacts and finding opportunities to assist them helps to strengthen the relationship.

  • Raise your profile

Being visible and getting noticed is a benefit of networking. It is therefore essential that your social media profiles are up-to-date so that connections can understand who you are and why you want to connect with them.

Your profile is not just your CV added to your social media channels. It needs to be focused on your direction of travel so consider the best way to showcase your top achievements and interests and relevancy to the connections you want to maintain and develop.

  • Don’t stand still

It’s important to engage often and be regularly updating your social media channels. A static social media profile won’t attract interest. Find ways to share original content with your network such as blogs, presentations, digital certificates.

Also share, like, and/or comment on articles, videos, quotes from news publications, guest bloggers with content that you are interested in that would be relevant to your network. Engage with others too and be supportive.

  • A picture paints a thousand words!

In our experience, the social media posts that grab more attention and engagement are those that contain images or pictures. The images help to click on a link or draw them to read on. They also help to break up text in blogs and articles making the communication of key points much easier to read.

While doing all this be yourself, be authentic, and be prepared to reciprocate!

If you would like to discuss how you can make more of your online presence please get in touch. For Business School MBA, MSc and PhD alumni email Marian. For Business School undergraduates and graduates from other schools visit our careers website.