It could be argued that networking really isn’t a “secret sauce” at all. It’s really no secret that networking is important. People have been networking since they arrived on the planet, and they haven’t slowed down since.
However, there is a difference between knowing how important networking is and putting that knowledge to practice in some applicable way. The truth of the matter is that nearly all of us don’t network as much as we could or should.
The coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic have presented unique challenges within the employment marketplace and the job market. It has required creative and innovative solutions to overcome the problems that these challenges have created.
In a previous blog post, we built a case for why right now is a great time to grow your career. Following that same vein, we’re now going to address the critical role of networking and why increasing your networking efforts now will pay even more dividends, not in spite of the current crisis, but because of it.
Networking has always been critical in terms of career growth and development. The pandemic has greatly restricted people’s ability to meet in person, which means that it has greatly restricted their ability to network in person.
The evidence is apparent. Conventions, conferences, and trade shows have been largely cancelled all throughout the country and the world during the pandemic. Not only that, due to the recently surge in the virus, these events do not appear to be coming back in the near future to anywhere near the level they were before the pandemic.
So . . . what can you do?
The answer: get creative. Specifically, focus on virtual networking. That includes, of course, the Internet in the form of social media sites such as LinkedIn, but also other virtual networking channels. As the pandemic drags on, more and more events that were in person are now online, including industry-specific conferences and trade shows.
Of course, this may seem a little awkward at first, but it’s absolutely necessary to continue networking during the time of the COVID-19 virus. That means reaching out more through social media and making sure that your profiles are up-to-date and engaging. That also means being familiar with the technology necessary (such as Zoom) to conduct online meetings and attend networking events.
All of this requires a proactive approach, but it should come as no surprise that effective networking before the pandemic also required such an approach. The only difference now is that the channels for networking have changed and it requires more research and more effort to make the connections you need to benefit your professional situation and your career.
The bottom line is that networking is the “secret sauce” to getting ahead in your career during the time of COVID-19. This is true both for those who are employed right now and also for those who have seen their job eliminated due to the recession caused by the pandemic.
So be proactive, get creative, and be ready to put forth the kind of effort necessary to move forward and position yourself for success.
The Doepker Group has experience placing professionals in the Information Technology and Engineering fields, and we can place you, as well.