According to Statistics Canada, between February-April 2020 5.5 million Canadian jobs were negatively impacted due to COVID-19. As people struggle to find a new normal, networking has become an important and effective tool to recover careers and get back into the job market.
Networking – Why now is it a good time?
Much has changed in the last few months due to COVID-19 and it may seem like networking has become more difficult. In fact, the situation has created more networking opportunities. If you’re an introvert or dislike face-to-face networking events, this is an ideal time.
Virtual networking has emerged as a powerful platform to share individual journeys, opportunities and challenges, both professionally and personally. Today’s work community has become more receptive to new contacts as everyone struggles with social distancing and staying connected online. The good news is, the pandemic has made us a little more human and empathetic.
People across various virtual networking and social media sites are showing genuine interest in helping jobseekers find connections and opportunities. Networking experts believe that ‘Now’ is actually a great time for networking, if done correctly.
5 ways networking can help you find your next job
1. Investing in your network:
Establishing a robust network takes time but is extremely important. You never know who the source of your next role might be. The best way to begin is to reach out to former colleagues, friends and other contacts and ask how they are doing. It is likely that a few of them may be in job search mode as well and can possibly share their best practices. It is also likely that they may think of you if they hear of a suitable job opportunity or know someone you would benefit from speaking with. This isn’t a one-way street. Share your contacts and insights. Building your network means giving as well as taking.
2. Letting your network know what you need
Whatever it is that you are looking for, let your virtual network know! It is possible that your connections may know of a new opportunity with their present or past employer and they can give you the necessary referral or provide a contact. Reach out to people who work in your field and let them know you are available. Consider sending them a message and requesting a quick call to let them know that you are looking. You can also ask your connections to introduce and recommend you in their network. Your potential network isn’t just work-related, let your family, neighbors and friends know the opportunity you’re looking for or the type of people you’d like to meet.
3. Networking Proactively
Many people describe having nothing to say as the biggest hurdle in establishing a new connection. If you are looking to connect with someone virtually, send a 2-3 sentence introduction about yourself and why you want to connect. Perhaps you share a common interest, friend or school. This can act as a starting point for a longer, targeted conversation. Many professionals who have lost their jobs due to Covid, share their profile or resume with their connections. Always ask first; never spam your network with your resume without context and permission. Connect with interesting people before, during and after your job search. It will not only build your network but make you comfortable with Networking before you need to rely on it to get a job offer.
4. Helping others
People are more inclined to help those who help others. Connect with your work community and offer to help them in any way you can - introductions, references, testimonials, etc. Be generous when it comes to aiding others in their career endeavors, job search, professional learning etc. and you will notice that people are more inclined to support you when you need assistance. Heard of a job opening that can help someone you know? Pass it on.
5. Learning & Networking
Touch base with thought leaders, business experts and influencers in your field and ask them for some informal coaching – perhaps review your resume. Many associations can connect you with mentorship programs. Not only will it help you get the right guidance on the next steps for your career, but also help you learn which existing skills you need to promote and what new skills you need to develop. Additionally, a brilliant referral from a business leader can be a great boost to your job search and add credibility to your professional acumen.
Networking may sound like a long and questionable process to find your next role when so many jobs are posted online. However, Networking often finds you the unposted jobs where there is little to no competition or that helps put your name on the top of the resume pile. With consistent effort and a genuine interest in meeting new people, it can be your best bet to regain employment.