8 Ways To Network Online For A Job in 2023
Posted on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 by Faye Copp — No comments
Virtual or online networking was the only way people could network during the coronavirus pandemic - and although face-to-face networking events are now back to being the norm - making connections online is still important and a valuable way to network. While you may not be able to interact with people as naturally as you could in person, virtual networking has its advantages. Firstly it gives you the chance to start networking anytime, anywhere – if you have signed off while on tour or on operations abroad you can still begin to grow your contact list and find your next job. It also offers a quick way to contact multiple people so you can easily get good and varied feedback on what it’s like to work in a certain industry or job. Research is key to finding the right job after the military, so spending time reaching out to others will not be wasted.
Other veterans are often the best place to start when you begin to network both online and offline. There are 1000s of ex-military people who have successfully transitioned to civilian employment before you who are willing to help – all you need to do is ask. Whether you want to reach out to other ex-military people or to a broader range of industry professionals there are several ways to do this:
MAKE CONNECTIONS ON LINKEDIN
LinkedIn is a social media platform for professionals who want to connect and expand their networks. It is built to facilitate networking so you should use it to grown your contact list! You can use LinkedIn to reach out to individuals, contact companies and to join groups where you can interact with other working professionals. If you are keen to ask other veterans advice on how to get onto Civvy Street then why not join the ex-military LinkedIn group Sandhurst In The City? Or the Gen Dit Network?
UPDATE AND USE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
Although other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram aren’t specifically for professional networking this isn’t to say that you can’t use them to reach out to others. Depending on your networking style and goal it may be worth using each of the platforms to your advantage. Our article about how to optimise and use your social media account for professional growth will help you to prepare your profiles for networking success.
JOIN SOCIAL MEDIA GROUPS
When using social media to network it is important not to overlook social media groups. There is a vast variety of groups out there to help you to connect with like-minded people and working professionals. Some groups are set up solely to exchange knowledge and tips on specific industry topics, while others will be more community-based. It is worth doing your research and finding the right ones for you. If you need some pointers, why not join our Vetsnet group on Facebook and ask other veterans which groups they found most useful.
USE YOUR NETWORK
Contacts you’ve made in the past – as well as any groups or associations that you might be part of – can help you to discover the right person to talk to. Upload a status to say that you’re looking for work/ advice etc and someone in your network might respond. LinkedIn also has a useful feature that shows you if anyone from your university or previous job works for a company that you are interested in. For example, it might say “2 alumni from your university work at this company”. If such comments show up on jobs you are interested in take the opportunity to reach out and connect with these individuals. Ask them for insight into the business, hiring manager and the role you’re applying for.
JOIN INSTAGRAM LIVE SESSIONS
Instagram Live is a great way to connect with businesses and people with the same interests as you. Ask questions if you are interested in how the host or an interviewee got to where they are. Keep an eye on the comments section too as you can always interact with people who are engaging with what is said. Follow up with the people that went live or other commenters after the event to move on the conversation.
ATTEND VIRTUAL EVENTS
Since the pandemic many people develop and maintain their professional network by attending virtual events. Virtual job fairs or insight days are particularly useful if you are looking for your first ex-military job. Supportive organisations such as CTP and the Officer’s Association are good resources for finding out what is happening and when. It is also worth taking a look at our Directory of Forces-friendly employers if you are looking for information on opportunities with a specific organisation.
JOIN A VIRTUAL CO-WORKING GROUP
Although it may seem counterproductive to join a co-working group from home, these remote working groups can help you to grow you network and to be introduced to more people - even while you sit at home! If you can’t find a group that you like the sound of you can host your own. Invite a friend to work remotely with you and ask them to ask someone else and so on. Before you know it you’ll see plenty of new faces.
ARRANGE VIRTUAL COFFEE DATES
It’s common to message a contact or potential client to ask them for a cup of coffee so you can get to know one another better. Instead of an in-person meeting you can ask people if they would be up for a virtual coffee date so that you can ask them about their career or for advice. To build up your professional network of lasting connections you still need some ‘face-to-face’ time even if it’s virtual!
Choosing which way(s) you are going to connect with others online is just the start of your networking journey. Networking is not a quick fix but rather a long process that if nurtured can help you in unexpected ways throughout your career. Although online networking can be more relaxed than in-person networking it is still important to remain professional in all of your interactions. Avoid slang and abbreviations in your emails and messages, re-read everything before you press send and make sure you follow up and maintain your connections. If networking on social platforms make sure you actively like, and comment on people’s activity. Congratulate them on their achievements, help them out when they ask for it – and you are in a position to do so – and share any of their articles, jobs or opportunities with your connections if you think they are interesting or could help others.
Follow these tips and before you know it you’ll have a healthy network to support you throughout your career wherever it takes you.