Most of us are no stranger to networking. Shaking hands and passing business cards became second nature throughout our careers. However, working remotely forces us to move away from traditional networking introductions. Though we can’t meet at large gatherings, we can create career opportunities—even without meeting face-to-face.
Now more than ever, you should look to build professional relationships. But, why is your network so important?
Why is Networking Important?
- Understand different companies and career trajectories
- Discover areas of opportunity
- Build out a network of people who will be advocates and/or mentors to you
A strong network can help you secure future interviews and clients. Particularly relevant now, how should you reach out to professionals in a remote setting?
The following strategies will help you form meaningful connections while working or recruiting from home. Read until the end to find out what you need to make the most out of remote networking.
1) Find the Right People and Their Contacts
- Find individuals in your extended network, such as collegiate alum and personal introductions from friends, and research company pages and LinkedIn profiles before you reach out.
- Keep an excel sheet of emails and phone numbers (if applicable) in case you want to follow up with questions or life updates. They’ll be happy to hear about your progress!
2) Email and Request a Call
- Send a concise email introducing yourself and your interest in connecting (see our “How to Write Your Best Cold Email” here for a step-by-step guide and free cold email templates).
- When noting your availability, suggest multiple time blocks to choose from. Also, don’t forget to include the time zone in case the recipient is located in a different region.
3) Follow Up if Necessary
- People are very busy, so don’t become discouraged if they do not respond right away. Oftentimes, they may have missed the email or intend to respond but haven’t gotten the chance to do so yet.
- Sending a follow up to your initial email is a gentle reminder and a way to put your email back to the top of their inbox.
4) Prepare for the Call
- Before the call, research the individual or company. Provide yourself with some context and try to find common ground.
- Write down questions that you might want to ask, and practice a brief introduction about yourself to limit stuttering and rambling.
- Make sure you are in a quiet environment with no distractions. If it’s a video call, make sure to dress appropriately, have a simple background and good lighting.
5) Take Notes Throughout the Call
- By taking notes, you remember important details that the person may have rushed through. Bonus: use these pointers for great conversation starters and personal touches when following-up.
6) Send a Thank You Note
- Always, always, always follow up with a thank-you note the same day of the call. This is a kind gesture that shows appreciation for the time set aside for your benefit.
To make the most out of virtual networking, show your initiative, trust, and adaptability. Following these steps, you can build rapport with like-minded people during these turbulent times.