8 tips to help you network like a pro online

The internet connects the entire world. If you’re online, within seconds YOU can contact someone on the other side of the planet. Thanks to the instantaneous and border-free nature of online communication, professional networking has evolved rapidly. Although in-person networking is the best way to make new professional connections, learning how to network online can vastly improve your overall networking game. Consider the following tips and you’ll be networking like a pro in no time.

 

1. Think about what you want to accomplish

Consider why you’re networking in the first place. What goals do you hope to accomplish by growing your professional network? Are you looking for a job? More clients? A mentor? It’s a good idea to know what you’re trying to get out of networking because these reasons may change certain aspects of your approach. Trying to connect with as many people as you can may lead to the appearance of a strong network. However, the truth is quality connections outweigh a large quantity of connections.

 

2. Choose your platforms

With half a billion reported users, LinkedIn is a good place to start networking online. With millions of job postings, it’s a reliable tool for finding work, connecting with professionals and learning more about the companies you’re interested in. Setting up a Twitter profile linked to your LinkedIn that includes a professional description and a professional email listed, is another way to connect with people. Other networking sites like AngelList are helpful for joining a start-up company, while BranchOut is a similar platform to LinkedIn to get connected to other professionals and job listings.

 

3. Create your profiles

Investing time and energy in creating a thorough and accurate profile is an important part of learning how to network online. List all your relevant experience, be honest and fill out as much information as you can. If you’re unsure about how to complete a field, look for some older, more established professional profiles for guidance. Make sure you have a professional photo for your profile and use the same photo for as many platforms as possible to be consistent and recognizable. Also be sure to connect to any friends and connections you already have. Look at business cards in your wallet, friends on Facebook, emails from the past… add everyone.

 

how to network online

 

4. Consider a professional website or portfolio

Sites like Weebly, Wix or even WordPress can be wonderful sites to showcase your work, advertise your experience and expertise and put yourself out there.

 

5. Set your goals

Know what you want to accomplish through your networking efforts and when you want to accomplish it. Set aside time each week working towards your goal.

 

6. Communicate clearly and concisely

When reaching out to people online, be sure to keep things short and to the point. People are extremely busy and are likely to be frightened off by a long email. Give a short introduction, try to establish some common ground, ask your question or make your request and wish the person a good day. All correspondence should be spelled correctly.

 

how to network online

 

7. Opt for in-person communication when possible

Networking online is efficient because you can connect with many more people in a short period of time, all from the comfort of your home. On the other hand, networking is generally most effective in-person, where you can have face-to-face communications, establish common ground, trust and build a relationship. Networking can only go so far on the internet.

 

8. Include your social media information where you can

Getting your name out there is a crucial aspect of networking. Make sure to have your professional website and LinkedIn connected to your email signature. Also have your sites linked to your social media and printed on business cards. The more interconnected your social media platforms are, the better.

 

 

 

Now you know how to network online more efficiently, learn more about how to boost your career abroad.

 

Sources: http://fortune.com/2017/04/24/linkedin-users/, http://www.success.com/blog/5-tips-for-successful-online-networking, https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/tips-for-social-networking-online, http://www.businessinsider.com/7-subtle-ways-to-network-more-effectively-online-2017-2, https://www.searchenginejournal.com/8-alternatives-linkedin-professional-networking-needs/71263/

Photos

1. based on Computer Keyboard, by J M, Public Domain

2. based on handshake, by 드림포유, CC-by-ND 2.0

3. based on DSC00227, by Andrew_Writer, CC-by-2.0

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Elizabeth Trovall

After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her fourth year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.
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