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Top tips for virtual networking

Book open Reading time: 4 mins

We talk a lot about networking here at Bright Network; it’s in the name after all. However, how do you still network in the uncertainty of COVID 19? Where do you start? 

We’re here to help you navigate through it all and the good news is: it’s completely possible! We’ve created this handy guide to show you can maintain and even grow your own network from your very own home. 

What is the point of networking? 

The point of networking is to build relationships with other people which you can then use to help guide and motivate your future career. It's an accepted practice in pretty much every industry; there are a surprising number of experienced professionals who will give up their time to share their advice and experience. 

How can I do this from my own home? 

Of course, it may appear easier to grow your contacts from an in-person event dedicated to networking. However, thanks to living in the digital age, it is entirely possible to build out your network online and discover plenty of useful, relevant connections from the comfort of your home. Here are some of the top ways you can do this:

1. Reinvigorate your old network 

Are there people that you have fallen out of touch with lately or kept meaning to email and never got around to it? This is your perfect opportunity to get in touch and rediscover your old contacts. Find out what they have been up to recently, how their careers are going and which companies they're now working at. You may be able to learn from this or even help them out too. Even if you don't think you'll learn anything from that person immediately, you will be cementing a contact that may be useful to you in future - so while you have the time, make sure to nurture and develop these existing connections. 

2. Discover new contacts

Use this opportunity to skype or email your family/friends/lecturers about your goals and aspirations and ask if they know anyone who works in your ideal industry or a similar industry. Despite lots of us now working from home, there is now more focus than ever on connecting with others. Additionally, people are likely to have a bit more time on their hands for a quick phone call or Zoom and help you boost your future career. You may not get a reply from everyone you reach out to, but even one reply could make all the difference to your graduate job search. 

3. Virtual events

Many companies, including Bright Network, have been quick to innovate and adjust to this new way of living. Make sure to take a look for any webinars/insight days or up-skilling events that are taking place digitally and use them as an opportunity to connect with the firms. These events may contain panel sessions, virtual tours or networking sessions with recent graduates or managers. Have a glance through our latest virtual events here. These will also look great on your CV as it highlights your proactivity during this challenging time. 

Take a look at our biggest virtual careers event of the year, Bright Network FESTIVAL, below:

4. Use LinkedIn to your advantage

Take this time to really perfect your LinkedIn and make sure that you are presenting the best version of yourself by using these five simple steps. Once you have crafted your LinkedIn profile, go through your connections and see if there is anyone whose career you would like to find out a bit more about. If you don’t know them too well, introduce yourself with a bit of your background and let them know why you are reaching out and ultimately what you would like to achieve from your conversation, whether that be learning about their career, discovering more about your own career choices, or even having a face-to-face (or skype) chat. 

It’s also a great time to build out your network and discover who exactly you want to meet. Whether it is a manager at your dream firm or a graduate at the company you are applying for, searching for key terms in the search bar will mean you will have a wealth of contacts just a click away! When reaching out, be sure to only add people who you think will be genuinely useful for your career and also personalise your connection request with a message - briefly explain who you are, why you are reaching out and what you would like to achieve, and connect away. You may need to check in once you connect to see if they got your message, and they may not always say yes, but with so many people on LinkedIn, you will be bound to make a great connection. 

Virtual networking is a brilliant tool - do try to utilise it while you have the time!