Coronavirus and Your Career: How To Network During A Quarantine
This article was originally published on LinkedIn and has been reposted here with permission by the author.
In the world of business, networking is an effective way to meet new people, discover life-changing opportunities, and find employment. However, with business events, job fairs, seminars, and training placed on hold indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak, the opportunity to network physically is more difficult than ever. Thankfully, with online platforms still fully functional, you can network online and find employment or increase your client base during the quarantine.
To help you build your career while at home, here are 5 ways to network during the quarantine.
1. Be consistent
If, before the quarantine, you networked by volunteering, attending seminars, and making rounds at your place of work, networking online might feel trying. You may find yourself procrastinating or networking half-heartedly. While this is understandable, it will not give you the result you need. Since the quarantine is indefinite, you need to be intentional and consistent with networking. You can do so by joining online networking platforms, sending emails or meeting new clients through your social media platforms. This way, when the quarantine is called off you will have a foundation on which to build on.
2. Join networking platforms
On these platforms, you will meet organizations and companies in your line of work that can offer you opportunities to build relationships or meet mentors and other experienced professionals who can give you tips or advice. These sites also send notifications for vacancies related to your job and actively connect you to important figures.
If you are not already on a networking platform, try joining professional associations related to your industry or social networking sites like LinkedIn, Udyomitra, Xing.
3. Think long-term
You must view networking as a long-term investment. Even if you aren’t currently in need of a job, networking now can provide big opportunities for you in the future. If you’re a business owner, find ways to make your services more convenient for your clients. You can add features to your site or provide free tools. If you are after a promotion at your place of work, an internship or employment, stay connected with the companies to ensure you remain on their minds. This will prove beneficial after the quarantine.
4. Build the bridges
With the spread of the virus and quarantine, almost everyone has a lot on their minds. This means most of your networks may be too occupied to reach out to you. Don’t hold back on networking because your networks are not messaging or calling you first. Build the bridges and maintain communication. Help out however you can and offer advice. This will make you stand out to your networks and bring your closer to achieving your goals.
5. Share your story
The quarantine has forced us all to slow down a bit. Use this time to share your story and really get to know people beyond their titles. Host online storytelling sessions that allow people to decompress and simply be in the now. We do not know what the future has in store for us however, what we can do is morph and adapt to change as it comes. Host online storytelling sessions. By telling your story and inviting others to do the same, you can create narratives that excite people to try out new things and connect through shared experiences which leads to not only quality networking but lasting connections and friendships.
While the quarantine may seem crippling, you can choose to take advantage of the free time and build your network. Shake off the disappointment from the inability to network physically and make use of the tools at your disposal.
By joining online forums, renewing relationships with dormant contacts, and establishing relationships with new ones, you can network effectively during the quarantine and keep your career moving forward.
Reesy Floyd-Thompson is the president of StoryMakers, a communications and messaging firm representing nonprofits, faith communities, socially-driven private companies & entrepreneurs. As communications and storytelling expert she helps leaders learn how to turn their life experiences into profitable brand stories and how to use strategic communication to move people to action.
She has been featured or quoted in Blavity, Entrepreneur, YFS Magazine, Forbes, The Huffington Post, Inside Business, CoVABIZ and Coastal Virginia Magazine. She was named Best Outstanding Emerging Professional and Best Social Media Personality by CoVA Biz Magazine. She is also a Women in Business honoree as named by Inside Business. Learn more about StoryMakers at storymakersconsulting.com