It is possible to build a network from the comfort of your couch. COVID has changed the way we interact with each other, but it doesn’t have to stop you from growing professionally and connecting with peers. There is nothing more important in your career than expanding the group of individuals you know. Here are our tips for community engagement during a pandemic.
Social media was made for this
Social media exists for much more than political arguments and spying on former classmates. LinkedIn is by far the most professional social network out there, so start there. Publish articles on LinkedIn specific to your industry or a topic of interest. Once people engage, connect with them and start a conversation offline. Join groups depending on your industry. Marketing, engineering, finance—you name it, there is a group on LinkedIn. Connect with those in the group, engage in conversations around a post and invest the time into growing those relationships. It doesn’t matter what social network it is. Get creative. Post on Instagram that you are looking to connect with other professionals in your industry. Share an article on Facebook and ask others to join you for a Zoom happy hour to discuss.
Work your network
You know people, right? It could be the person you used to sit next to at work or a connection from an industry event you attended before isolation. Set up a coffee meeting (socially distanced) or a Zoom happy hour, and ask the other person to invite someone from their circle. Boom, you are networking. Look at you go! You can also work remotely from a coffee shop, library, or local chamber of commerce. Get out, wear a mask and say hello to people in the real world.
Volunteer your time
There are multiple organizations and associations in need of volunteers to assist with various roles. We recently got involved with Women in Defense and are assisting with their marketing efforts. We have virtual committee meetings and happy hours. It’s called networking. Reach out to an industry association and ask how you can get involved.
Letter writing 101
Stay up-to-date on local happenings by reading through community business journals, publications, etc. Send a handwritten note congratulating another professional on an accomplishment or mention you saw in the paper. People love to receive mail that isn’t a bill, and knowing you took the time to reach out will stay with them.
We have no choice but to adapt, so get to it and stop whining. Need more tips? We’re always here for you. Just reach out.