5 ways to network during a pandemic

With the second wave of covid19 looming in many parts of the world, we are likely going to be working from home for the for-seeable future. So how do you network in such times?

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Since the COVID19 pandemic began, workplaces have been thrown into new normal. Many people are working from home and will likely continue to do so well into 2021. Traditional methods of meeting and networking are now limited: many professional conferences have either been cancelled or have moved to virtual formats. Having coffee with colleagues is no longer possible at least not face to face.

Despite this, some industries not only continue to hire, they have actually grown during the lockdown. With working from home and virtual becoming normalized, the professional limitations are also being lifted. It is now possible to work from practically anywhere which means there are even more possibilities for networking. So how do you continue to connect with companies and learn about new professional opportunities in this virtual world?

1. Linked-in is your friend

Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn are even more important now more than ever. Seek out and connect with professionals in your niche or in your geographical area. This includes people you know and people you don't know both in your immediate and not so immediate circle. There are over 625M users on LinkedIn making it one of the largest professional social networking platforms. So if you're not on there yet, do join.

2. Set up virtual informational interviews

One of the advantages of having everything online means that you can easily schedule an informational interview with someone either through zoom, MS Teams or Citrix depending on what is available to you. At the Career Slay Mama Masterclass - Network Like A Boss, I talked about informational interviews. I will also be sharing this information in the coming year so stay on the look out.

3. Word of (social) mouth

Word of (social) mouth is still a very powerful way of tapping in your network and putting word out there that you are looking for opportunities. How do you do that during a pandemic? Put a post on your Facebook, Instagram Stories or Twitter and LinkedIn to let people in your circle that you are looking for a job. Facebook has 2.7 Billion monthly users and is therefore one if not the largest social networking platform. Tap into it beyond looking at memes so you can build your professional network. Something as simple as: Public Health friends, please let me know if you hear of any opportunities, I am looking for greener pastures. A word of caution with putting yourself out there, your current employer if you are employed may also read these posts so out of courtesy do let them know that you are looking otherwise use your discretion and make sure they are not a part of those who get the message if you are not yet ready to let them know that you are looking.

4. Send your resume out

Just because we are in a pandemic, that doesn't mean that you can't send your resume out to folks and ask about potential opportunities. Send cold emails to folks and let them know that you are looking for opportunities. Apply, apply, apply. On the one hand it is important to try to meet as many people as you can, on the other hand you need to apply and keep applying for jobs. Many organizations have hiring practices and protocols that need to be followed. Even when you do an informational interview with someone, they will need to go through the hiring process. So get ahead of the game by applying for any and all jobs that you are qualified for in the organization.

5. Get creative

Desperate times call for desperate measures. There are lot of people who are out of work and for certain fields, the job market is overflowing with applicants. Make yourself stand out by creating a visually appealing resume or snapshot of information that makes you stand out. Consider making a 1 minute video clip that provides some information bout you and post this on your social media or on LinkedIn to set you apart from everyone else.

Regardless of what you do, remember to remain professional and positive in your job search or your goal of levelling-up your career.

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