by Madison Campbell, CEO of Leda Health
Just because you can no longer grab a coffee with successful individuals at your local coffee shop to network does not mean that your networking efforts have ended. There are so many ways to network virtually, and there are so many reasons why you should never stop networking. You never know where your connections will take you!
Working at Leda Health this summer has taught me that networking should be integrated into your everyday routine at work. You can never know too many people.
Finding individuals who have graduated from, or are still within the network of alumni of the academic institution that you are associated with is an important first step to networking. Individuals who share the same academic background or extracurricular intentions as you are more likely to want to help you and respond to your inquiries to connect with them. A lot of people have lost their jobs during the pandemic and are going through tough financial times. It is so easy to get lost in the buzz of searching for a job through online applications that result in automated rejection emails or even no response at all. Networking with individuals who work in the companies you are interested in is a great way to have your resume flagged for further interest – and may even be the deciding factor in giving you a job opportunity.
It is important to realize that a personal connection with successful individuals can aid you in so many ways. At Leda Health, knowing the character of individuals and being able to firsthand experience their work ethic is a really good determinant of success and employment, and gives individuals an upper hand over those who only submit online applications. Networking takes the entire job application process a step further.
Not only can networking aid in opening doors, it can also aid in narrowing down what opportunities you choose to pursue. In networking with individuals at Leda Health, I realized that this place really was a company that shared the same morals that I value in the workplace. Networking can help you figure out how different companies treat their employees and can help you determine what type of workplace you want to pursue. It can help you filter out all of the companies that you would probably not enjoy working at and can help you find companies you may never have acquainted yourself with in the first place.
During this time, while we are all home and unable to meet face to face, Zoom and phone calls are going to be your best friends! These can help make up for the lost physical contact that you may not be able to experience in your networking efforts and can still show individuals that you are enthusiastic about them and what they do. Making sure that you are showing how open your schedule is and trying to actually plan calls that are productive for you is really important. It goes a long way to the individual you are conversing with, showing them that their time spent with you was not time wasted.
Be sure to come to networking meetings with lots and lots of questions. It is important to not seem like you expect them to speak for the entirety of the meeting, use this time to be curious about their job and place of work, and be sure to ask questions – lots of them! Leda Health really values curiosity and willingness to learn more in their employees, and seeing that quality in individuals upon first meeting them can really help narrow down and make the job search easier.
Networking is essentially all about trying to show your interest and curiosity for the company or job you would like to find more about. Even if the meeting you are planning has no actual job attached to it, it is so important to realize that even an hour long meeting can expand your network, and help you find a job in the future when you may least expect it.
Madison Campbell is a young sexual assault advocate and technological innovator hoping to revolutionize the ways in which sexual assault is handled on a holistic scale. She is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Leda Health, formerly known as MeToo Kits Company.