Online professional networking for beginners
Maybe you think that professional networking is not done online, even though you have many Facebook friends and spend enough time on Twitter. Or maybe you think that networking is only for managers and salespeople at a fair or a conference. Or maybe you want to keep your private life and your professional lives separate. Maybe you think that professional networking takes too much time, and that it is boring.
Networking is a very essential part of your search for a new job, regardless of the sector or your career path. You are whom you know, and that is now truer than ever before.
Below are a few tips for successful online networking:
Keep it professional
Large amounts of ’new networkers’ are working on a professional image online. This does not mean that you can only talk about professional subjects online, just like you do not only talk about your work while you are at work. You can talk about your private life, travel plans, pop culture and so on, but do use common sense. A good rule of thumb is if you do not want a future employer to see it, then you better not put it online...
Even if you use common sense, it is handy to keep your private and professional contacts separate. A good way to do this on Facebook is by using BeKnown, a Facebook-app from Monster which allows you to manage your professional contacts without sharing your personal updates with them.
The value of an offer
This biggest mistake that beginner networkers make is that they only get in touch with someone when they need something. If you only start networking when you need something, then you are actually too late. The best moment to make contacts that you do not know yet is when you (possibly) have something to offer.
Approach your professional contacts on BeKnown or other networks, not only when you need to get your foot in the door at a company where you want to work, for example. Get in touch with people when you have something to offer, whether it is a potential project, a job offer, or good advice. Keep this in mind and in no time, you will be a fantastic networker.
Look beyond your field
Another mistake that beginner networkers make is that they only network within their sector or field. Do not hesitate to look outside of your field. A good professional network is made up of diverse contacts.
Show your best side
For professional online networking, it is best to place a clear photograph of your face. This emanates professionalism, whereas a cartoon, a group photo, or snapshot of your dog may not have the same effect. By smiling in the photo, you ensure that you appear friendly, so that people are more inclined to accept your request.
Do you find it scary to introduce yourself to a perfect stranger online? The best way to introduce yourself is by paying the person a compliment. Is a ‘friend of a friend´ of yours working in the marketing department of a company where you want to work? Then, write for example: “I thought your last marketing campaign was fantastic. I also work in marketing and I saw that we both know Kevin, so that is why I wanted to introduce myself.”
Your professional and private contacts together on one platform? Manage your professional contacts on Facebook with BeKnown from Monster, without sharing your personal updates with them.