Here’s how to network with industry from home
We’ve talked before about how important networking is in any successful career, and while social distancing measures mean in-person meet-ups are no longer advised, there are a number of effective ways you can foster new (and existing) relationships with industry from home.
Here are just a couple of examples of how you can work on your networking skills, without leaving the house!
Perhaps the most obvious option is LinkedIn. With over 660 million users, it is the largest and most utilised platform for businesses and individual professionals to connect.
As a student, establishing a thorough presence on LinkedIn is a great idea. Not only can it help you build your professional reputation with other members of your industry, but setting up a detailed profile is a great way to work your resume writing skills (and gives you a source to draw from next time you apply for a job).
To get started, if you’ve never created a LinkedIn profile (or just really need to update an existing one) we’ve got a few resources available online to help you out.
First, check out our LinkedIn Playlist. Across a number of videos, our Drop-in Team Leader, Sarah Marlor, walks you through how to set up your profile and start using LinkedIn to advance your career.
You can also check out some of the posts we’ve written in the past, that detail how to make the most of your LinkedIn profile. From the initial set-up, to the perks of publishing on LinkedIn, and inside tips on how to make the most of it while studying.
Once you’ve created your ideal profile it’s time to connect with your colleagues, friends, and fellow students. Be sure to personalise any invitations you send out, and avoid sending our numerous invitations to people you don’t know – start with the meaningful connections you’ve already made IRL, and you will gradually begin to come across other industry connections organically as you use the platform.
Then you can start researching and following the companies, startups and influencers in your industry that interest you. Engage with the content they post, and join in on industry discussions that you come across. You can also join groups and meet people that way.
To really make the most of the platform as a networking device, it’s important you engage – with connections’ posts, group discussions, industry news, and by publishing your own posts and content where you can. Like an in-person networking event, if you don’t interact with people then you won’t be making lasting connections!
Connecting with a mentor in your industry is so, so important. Not only can they provide guidance and advice, but they also bring with them their own professional network and experience to support your journey.
In terms of networking, a mentor is a fantastic connection to have, and can provide invaluable insight into your industry and the current jobs market. There’s a lot you can learn from a mentor, and setting up that connection while still at university is a smart idea.
The Professional Mentoring Platform is a pretty ideal way to connect. It’s flexible, so you and your mentor can establish the amount of time you devote to it, and there are multiple communication options available (including video chat and messaging) so you can keep in touch regardless of where you are (yep, it’s available worldwide).
Plus, by joining the platform you have access to a number of discussion groups and resources so you can stay connected.
Get social… media
We’re living in the social media age, and so many businesses, industry associations and groups are using platforms like Twitter and Instagram to initiate discussions and release news or updates. It’s therefore not a bad idea to make your personal profiles on these platforms private, and create professional profiles to use while interacting with industry.
Follow the hashtags businesses in your field use the most, comment on posts/tweets, and follow influencers who create content you admire or find interesting. Chances are, the more you engage on these platforms the more you’ll become familiar with other profiles who do the same, and will start forging connections in no time.
As a side note: many industry associations also produce newsletters, press releases and have online discussion boards to keep members up-to-date on the latest news and developments in their field. If social media engagement isn’t really your thing, have a look into what associations are connected with your faculty or degree and consider signing up. Many offer student discounts (or may even be free) so it’s worth doing some research.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
By Mia Casey