We live and work in two different worlds, one virtual and one in-person. With the rapid growth of technology, it’s not uncommon for much of our networking to be done virtually. So what does one have to do to connect and establish a presence in the online communities? And, more important, what are the benefits of doing so?
Deborah Shane, contributor to CareerRealism, points out the “Five Benefits of Networking Virtually.” Shane’s list includes: establishing brand leadership; boosting your subscriber list; sending and receiving information immediately; and making immediate referrals. To establish brand leadership, individuals can make their presence known on online communities such as LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great tool to use to network with other individuals and grow your own personal network. Sending and receiving information immediately allows you to be seen as someone who responds in a timely manner and not weeks later. For many employers, time is crucial to their hiring needs and they don’t have weeks to wait on a response from you. If you are looking for groups on LinkedIn whose members’ professional interests mirror your own, begin by joining the groups endorsed by AMU and APU.
Forming strategic relationships with others can allow you to not only support one another but help grow your networking community. Lastly, make referrals. Support your other peers in the virtual community. Shane argues that supporting others’ work, accomplishments and activities is a key part of any kind of relationship building, in-person, or online.
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