While more outgoing people often thrive in face-to-face, ‘I’m here’ professional interactions, some of us prefer a subtler approach to making contact. The thought of attending a business networking event with teems of fellow attendees can be pretty overwhelming to those that aren’t so outgoing. And then there’s the daunting prospect of initiating phone and/or ‘coffee contact’ with someone we know or know of. It’s no doubt highly beneficial in today’s employment environment to network, network, network, but it doesn’t always have to involve picking up the phone or fronting up and introducing yourself with a hello handshake, followed by continual ‘remember me’ conversations.
“Focus on how to be social, not on how to do social.” (Jay Baer, Internet Pioneer & Best-Selling Author)
Use social media to advance, not dis-advance your career
Think we all know by now there are some negative aspects of social media that can tarnish your job prospects. For example, most prospective bosses are going to feel less inclined to draw up your employment contract if they’ve just spotted you on Facebook downing cocktails at the last Christmas work do, or if they’ve just read your latest rant about how someone at work has brought out your angry side. If you’re one of those individuals that more confidently engages via digital channels, just be sure to promote and represent yourself wisely. Always keep in mind that many organisations now trawl through your social media profile to better understand ‘what makes you tick’.
Focus on LinkedIn – the world-leading networking platform
As the more professional social media sibling, LinkedIn has delivered an abundance of career opportunities that were previously unavailable to many of us – particularly those of us that are less ‘out there’. Not only can we privately conduct comprehensive research on potential employers and networkers – as well as look up old workmates – but we can also initiate contact in a less intrusive, more considered manner. The numerous digital engagement tools on LinkedIn allow us to carefully deliberate our communications, including encouraging us to offer input and advice to others in our industry/network, to showcase our strengths and offerings without over-selling ourselves. Take a look at our article LinkedIn Proactivity to Reap Rewards for more insight.
Monitor your business relationships – don’t overdo it
Most recruiters agree that it’s not going to do your career any favour if you’re conveying desperation via persistent contact and transparent self-promotions. In addition to using LinkedIn and other social media to subtly highlight your skills, expertise and professional interests, online tools and databases can help you keep track of your networking plans and history. CRM systems will not only store all your critical contact details, but also enable you to monitor the ‘current state of play’ of each professional relationship (e.g. last time you met and/or last time you did work together).
Professional networking has been around for a long time, and has time and again proven to be a key component of someone landing their dream role. So if you’re someone who doesn’t want to have to really put yourself out there to procure such career connections, take the time developing an online presence and digital interaction routine instead. We’re not all extroverts when it comes to personally leveraging others to boost our job prospects, but we’re all capable and worthy of developing a digital profile that reminds others of the professional benefits we have on offer.
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