Networking is something that most employed South Africans will have to rely on to carry them through the coronavirus pandemic. Even though our country entered a mandatory lockdown from late March, you still have to meet new people in order to advance your career goals. Not only do you need to know the right people, but you also have to learn from them.
Not sure how to boost your networking skills? Don’t sweat it, Adzuna has got you covered with some useful tips and tricks.
Top tips for networking during and after the coronavirus crisis
Practice makes perfect
If you find networking to be a daunting task, it’s best to start small and edge yourself in. professional networking sites like LinkedIn are great starting points for newbies. Connect with professionals in your industry on platforms like LinkedIn and start growing your circle, one connection at a time.
Stick to small meetings
Big group events can be intimidating, which is why it can be useful to talk to one individual at a time. This is a great way to begin to form a more personal relationship with your peers. Remember that networking is a lot like exercise. If you try to run a 20k without training, it’ll be the most painful thing you’ve ever done. The reality is that networking requires you to keep working at it, slowly but surely building the muscles and strength required to complete that marathon.
Keep up with the times
It’s important to keep up with what’s happening in the world and more specifically, your industry. Also, if you can, do a bit of research on the people you’re engaging with. As questions about their business and enquire about how they got to where they are. Networking might not be something we’ll get to do face-to-face for at least the next few months, but at least you can still get it done via tools like Skype and Zoom.
Be the bridge that connects others
Not everyone likes the attention to be on them, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t participate in conversations. You can also build your own network by connecting suitable people with each other. Know someone that’s looking for a web designer and happen to have a friend that does web designing? Now is the perfect time to recommend your connections to each other.
Know when to cut your losses
If you’re reached the proverbial glass ceiling with your networking attempts, it’s okay to bow out gracefully. Forcing conversations can be exhausting, so instead of making yourself miserable and damaging your confidence, sometimes it’s better to step out and reflect on what you’ve learned and how you can improve.
For more inspiring career advice, head over to Adzuna’s collection of career articles.