The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the lives of nearly everyone. Millions of Americans found themselves suddenly limited as shelter-in-place made staying home practically mandatory. As a result, certain traditional networking options simply weren’t there, as getting together in large groups wasn’t permitted.
Even today, as an increasing number of states strive to reopen, big gatherings are, at a minimum, frowned upon. Adhering to social distancing requirements at a major event can be almost impossible, for one. For another, many professionals are focused on their safety, causing them to opt-out of these get-togethers.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t network at all. If you want to spend some time networking even with the pandemic, here are some tips that can help.
Focus on Virtual Events
In response to the pandemic, organizations from around the country found ways to make their events virtual instead of in-person. Whether it’s a web conference for professionals in a specific industry, message board-based discussion groups, or other iterations, many groups have found ways to bring their happenings into the virtual world.
While the experience isn’t an exact replica of face-to-face gatherings, it is a reasonable substitute. Plus, they are more convenient and cost-effective, as you don’t have to worry about travel costs and entry fees might not be part of the equation.
If you’re looking for virtual events, start by exploring professional organization websites that align with your field. You can also check trade publications and professionally oriented social media pages.
Reconnect With Existing Members
If your current network has been neglected a bit in recent years, now is the ideal time to reconnect. Reach out over social media to catch up. Find out how they are doing and if anything new has happened in their careers.
You can also schedule virtual meetings. For example, sharing a cup of coffee over a Zoom call could stand in for getting together at a café. Make an appointment to join each other on a video conference and have a conversation, even if it’s mainly casual.
The goal is to rekindle the connection, so offer your support and guidance whenever it’s requested. That way, should you need assistance in the future, the relationship is strong, increasing the odds that they’ll lend a hand.
Do Some “Recruiting”
It is possible to expand your network during the pandemic. Begin by examining any second-degree connections that could be of interest. You could also explore other accessible groups, such as an alumni association network or professional organization directory, to identify relationships worth pursuing.
When you spot someone, if you share a connection, request an introduction. Otherwise, consider crafting a brief introductory message that showcases your common ground (such as going to the same college or belonging to the same industry association) and ask them something about their career or for professional insight.
Not everyone will respond, but some people will. Just keep the message short and focused. You never know who may reply.
Ultimately, all of the tips above can help you network during the pandemic. If you’d like to learn more, the staff at CPS Recruitment can help. Contact us today and see how our professional networking expertise can benefit your Upstate NY job search.