Online networking has become an integral part of career growth in the modern world. Regardless of your age or your position, there are benefits to online networking that are too great to be ignored. You can make contacts and keep in touch with individuals who can help you both maintain and grow your career.
In the end, it is still about who you know, and online networking lets you make valuable connections in ways that were either not possible, or not as accessible before networking went online.
The Importance of Maintaining and Expanding your Connections.
There are a number of reasons why you need to engage in regular online networking:
Most positions are far from guaranteed in today’s business world. Companies expand, contract, go under. Management changes. Company objectives shift, necessitating changes in staffing. No matter how secure your position may feel, there is always a chance that you could find yourself without work.
But if your network is well-maintained and diversified, you can create some stability for yourself. The more people that know you and value you, the less likely you are to be discarded. If you are let go from a job, you have a number of different people you can seek out for new career opportunities.
Accelerating your Career.
Most people hope to advance in their careers, preferably sooner rather than later – and to a position that is more lucrative than the one they are currently in. Of course, it is fairly well-understood that staying at the same company is unlikely to help you move up the ladder quickly. The quickest way to advance your career is to find a better position at another organization.
Any position worth having tends to attract a lot of applications, making it difficult to be seen or noticed simply by applying. Knowing someone with some pull is easily the best way to increase your odds of being hired.
Networking helps you make the connections that will influence how often you win out over other applicants, and therefore how quickly you are able to advance your career.
Tips for Online Networking.
Online networking might expand the opportunities for making connections, but it is still important to focus on quality over quantity.
Some tips to remember when networking online:
1. Face to face interaction is still the goal.
It is difficult to fully appreciate someone that you have never met in person. No matter how charismatic you may be in your online interactions, your goal should still be to have some face to face time with any connection you value. By meeting each other in person, you build rapport that is not possible any other way.
2. Practice proper etiquette.
Communicating clearly is difficult online. You cannot read body language through text, which leaves room for miscommunication. It is so easy to have your meaning misinterpreted online. The safest way to avoid such misinterpretation is to remain professional and polite when messaging any professional contact.
3. Seek local connections.
With the ability to communicate with people across the globe, it can seem odd to prioritize local connections. But remember that you want to really connect with people – which is easier when you are near one another and can meet in person without too much effort. Build your local network first, and then work to expand your reach to areas that interest you.
4. Put in a little networking time every day.
Networking can be intimidating and exhausting, even when done online. That is why most networking experts recommend putting in a little time every day. You can avoid fatigue and still get good results over the long-term if you set a small, achievable networking goal that you work on regularly.