The Importance of Networking in the Era of COVID-19
By Mia Ingui
Editorial Assistant at MyDomaine
Many are feeling the aftereffects of the coronavirus pandemic as unemployment, job insecurity or loss of opportunities take the forefront as the road to a new normal develops. With a slow job market for those in the media industry, it can feel impossible to land the job of your dreams in light of this past year.
In this time, it is important to turn to different forms of career building and focus on controllable factors for your personal career journey, and networking can be one way to greatly help.
Continuing to network in the world of coronavirus is more important than ever, as it is beneficial to still create industry connections, gather advice and receive insight on new opportunities that may come in the future. There are a few ways to network that are safe and easy and several benefits to gain from expanding your network — even virtually.
Start by reaching out on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great place to begin gaining connections. On this platform, someone’s profile only shows the first 500 connections they have, and after that, it appears as “500+” connections, which is a great goal for your own personal list. Keep in mind that LinkedIn protocol is different than your personal social media: you do not have to personally know your connections, just simply share interests or career fields, and grow your network with as many quality connections as you can to establish credibility.
When sending a request to someone outside your network, be sure to attach a personal message explaining why you would love to connect and cultivate this online network by asking professionals for career or profile advice.
Set up virtual informational interviews or coffee dates
In the world of COVID, not all employees are back in their typical offices or can meet up in person for coffee, but utilize online meeting platforms to have conversations with alumni or other mentors in your desired career. By scheduling time to chat, you show dedication and interest in learning rather than just getting a job. Your connections will see your enthusiasm and offer their expertise, or even insight on jobs that later become available at their companies.
Informational interviews with companies you would love to work for are another great option, especially when your preferred job is not on the market. Reach out to a member of the department you are looking to enter and see if they have time to do an informational interview on the company as a whole and what it would look like to work there. This is a great way to gain valuable knowledge and get on an insider’s radar if future opportunities arise.
Reach out often, not just for a job referral
It is so important to upkeep professional connections the way you would any personal relationship, and you should not only reach out when there is a job at stake. Networking will lead to great jobs and career moves if you cultivate connections with empathy. Make connections with those you not only find beneficial for your career, but that you connect with on a personal level, and those will be the professionals in your network for a long time to come.
Stay positive and informed
It is easy in these times to feel discouraged when incessantly checking job boards and not finding a bounty of options. Keep a positive mindset and know that the time will come to apply to your perfect fit. In the meantime, utilize your professional network to continue learning about your field and take advice from others who may have been through a similar experience.