Networking online is the easiest way of growing your network quickly and efficiently, though starting can feel daunting. Here are our tips for how to start simply and focus on what matters with virtual networking.
First, set clear outcomes to focus your efforts. For example, reach out to 10 alumni on LinkedIn in a week, ask a question on an employer’s live Instagram video or participate in an employer’s webinar. Little and often is better so try to factor in 10 minutes a day rather than 1 hour every month.
Next, LinkedIn has a fantastic alumni tool. Use this to discover what past and current students from Kings College London are doing in their careers. This tool is a great first step to find individuals either from a similar degree discipline to yours, or those who work in roles or organisations that you are interested in. There’s a helpful set of filters on the page to sort through alumni based on region, organisation, degree background, role and skills.
What should I write to them?
When you want to connect with a potential contact, always include an introduction message. This can be as simple as the following example.
I’m ***, a student studying at KCL. I saw that you work as a strategy consultant and this is a career that I’m interested in learning more about. I wondered whether we could connect and arrange a chat over the phone or a coffee?
From the provided example, they know that you are
- a student at KCL
- interested in learning more about strategy consulting as a career option
- seeking a conversation on the phone or over a coffee
Where do I find new contacts?
There’s a similar tool on LinkedIn to explore the profiles of employees on company pages. You can find KCL graduates employed with an organisation and connect with them to find out more about the route they took to join their organisation.
To summarise; you can search through the broad range of KCL alumni and filter through the results. Alternatively, you can focus on individual employers and find connections with KCL graduates through their list of employees on LinkedIn. You can find a list of their employees by clicking on ‘People’ on the left-hand tab of the page.
Groups on LinkedIn provide the option of networking based on common interests. By joining a group, you will have a common connection with each member of the group. This allows you to easily connect with members of the group, and post messages on the forum. Many groups have active members who are happy to share their own knowledge and experiences. Addressing questions to the membership of a group will result in people contributing their own answers, hints and tips.
#Research #with #hashtags
Another feature of LinkedIn that is like other social media platforms is the ability to filter information and follow posts and content based on hashtags. Individuals and companies post on LinkedIn and use hashtags to target relevant audiences. Search for a hashtag by using the search box and prefacing the topic that you are interested in with a hashtag (e.g. #sustainability). This will curate recent and relevant content that includes the hashtag. By following the hashtag, your LinkedIn homepage feed will feature updates, posts and other content that use the same hashtag. This is incredibly helpful when researching sectors and market trends.
Profile on fleek
Finally, do not worry about having a “perfect” LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a professional networking platform, not an online CV. The essentials of a good profile are:
- A professional photo
- A tailored headline (e.g. MSc International Marketing student at Kings College London, experienced in digital marketing and seeking a career in strategic marketing)
- Narrative of your career to date (which can initially be copied over from your CV)
- Educational history including relevant modules (limit this to your most recent qualifications such as undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications; there’s little need to include high school grades)
These are a great starting point, and you can continue to develop your profile over a few weeks.
The tips here are just the beginning of the benefits of LinkedIn. Here are a few additional resources to help you further!
Thanks for tuning to another #MyNextSteps career advice blog! Next week, our topic is about Virtual Work Experience. Book yourself into our online session by clicking here and keep an eye out for our accompanying blog post!