If you are one of the millions of Americans currently out of work, you probably want to make the most of your time at home to increase your chances of getting hired when the right job comes along. Beefing up your résumé is one place to start, along with advancing your skills online with classes and certifications. Another great way to get your name out there and boost your knowledge of the industry you desire is to attend networking events, either online or in-person.
What is Networking?
Networking is used by people in a wide variety of fields including business, finance, retail, sales, teaching, and many more. In short networking is an exchange of information and ideas among people with a common profession or special interests, usually in an informal social setting.
The general purpose of a networking event is to expand a circle of acquaintances in order to find out about job opportunities and to increase awareness of news and trends in the field of choice.
What Are Some Networking Options?
Networking may seem like an impossible feat in the middle of a global pandemic, but technology can help make this process, (which used to be solely in-person) completely doable.
Due to the state requirements of maintaining social distancing, one of the best options for expanding your circle of contacts within a field is to take part in some of the online networking tools that could get you in contact with someone who can help you land a job.
With over 131 million people using LinkedIn currently, this is one of the first places you should tap into for networking. LinkedIn is especially useful for people looking for a professional position in the business world. Start by creating an account and “connecting” with people in your given field. Connections will then beget more connections and so on and so on. Once you have completed your account you can start joining discussion groups that can help you identify companies that are currently hiring.
Twitter and Facebook are two other social media platforms that can also help you network with others in your field or adjacent to your field of work. For example, when using Twitter, use hashtags such as #jobs, #jobhunt, #jobsearch or #unemployment to help you connect to other resources. This makes searching for a certain topic easier and may help connect you to resources that will boost your chances of getting an interview or, at the very least, getting your résumé in the right hands.
In addition to utilizing social media sites to network, consider your alma mater for alumni groups that are online and active during this time. The common ground of having graduated from the same institution may help you make important connections. Your college career center should have a list of resources to get you started.
The Chamber of Commerce in your local area may also have some excellent resources including online networking programs for local business people and ways to connect those that are actively job hunting with local and regional businesses that are currently hiring.