Network, network, network. We’re sure you’ve heard this word countless times. So what is networking? Networking is everything from meeting new friends, to engaging in conversations online. But professional online networking is a whole different league. As a young professional, you’ve probably attended several conferences and events, with higher ups and colleagues pushing you to network after. Sure, you could network all you want in person, but networking online is extra convenient. For tech-savvy young professionals, networking online is a huge window of opportunity to meet people, without actually meeting them.
What in the world is online networking?
Funny you would say that. Online networking does involve the world, the world wide web to be exact. The thought of networking can be quite daunting for young professionals, especially if you’re a fresh face in the working world. That’s why online networking is the best place to start! As opposed to offline networking, online networking can be done anywhere and anytime. Anyone with a computer or a phone and a good internet connection can jump on the online networking bandwagon.
Check out our guides on how to network on the following platforms:
Online networking involves reaching out to like-minded individuals, potential colleagues or employers, or even a stranger whose professional profile happened to catch your eye. It is also ultra-convenient and can be done on a whole lot of platforms. While face to face networking is still a revered method to grow your professional relationships, online networking is fast becoming the easiest way to connect, and link up with professionals all around the world.
The unique challenges of networking virtually instead of physically
Unlike face to face networking, networking virtually does come with its own set of perks and quirks. Online networking promises the ease of connecting with people from across oceans and timelines. But with all things, there are challenges.
When you’re face to face networking, the conversation flows quickly. Your queries and doubts are answered almost immediately, and you get to know a person in a shorter amount of time. Yet, online networking brings intermittent replies. This might be due to different time zones, or the fact that the person you’re talking to simply isn’t online.
The lack of immediate responses is what makes some people give up on online networking. Because of the delays in response, online networking requires patience and effort to follow up with.
You might get filtered out or even forgotten mid-introduction
Because of the huge number of messages some connections might get on a daily basis, your messages might be overlooked. We admit, it does feel a little bad to not get a reply from someone who’s work you’re interested in. But remember: it wasn’t intentional. One way to reconnect and restart the conversation is to send them another message. For example, ‘Hi, [insert name] you might have missed my previous message! I was wondering if [xxxx]’. Most of the time, they’ll follow up on your message!
Timezones, if you’re networking beyond Singapore
As mentioned before, online networking isn’t confined to the boundaries of sunny Singapore. Your possible connections are located at all corners of the world. Because of this, time zones can be a little tricky to work around.
Completely private profiles
We’re all used to being able to stalk someone online as soon as we get our hands on their account. Private profiles are more common than you think. Often, this person’s profile is locked, save for their name and position (or a short description). So it’ll be difficult for you to get to know them, before you actually talk to them. A good way to combat this is by first sending an invitation to connect. Connecting with someone will allow you to view their profiles if you accept, allowing you to start conversations based on their profiles.
The great benefits of networking online and why you should try it out
Enough with the challenges. The benefits of networking are huge, and you as a young professional should definitely give it a shot! Here’s six reasons why exactly you should dive into the crazy convenient year of networking online!
1. Greater outreach
Networking online helps you to expand your outreach by connecting with people outside of your country. Although networking within your industry and your country is still a main priority, online networking bridges the vast gap between you, and a potential connection 5,000 miles away. Speaking to new people online about their work, interests and projects can not only garner inspiration for your own, but might also lead to new windows of opportunity.
2. It trains your online etiquette
Don’t forget, you aren’t networking with just anyone. Professional networking requires a certain tone and etiquette. For example, your first message can be casual, but also has to have an element of respect for the other party. This can be done through salutations, as well as the tone you adopt whilst having an online conversation. I mean, you wouldn’t want to address a CEO with the opening line ‘Howdy mate!’ would you?
3. A wider pool of opportunities
This is exactly why networking is so important. The more people you connect with, the higher your chances of opening up opportunities for yourself. Online networking is kind of like your resume, cover letter and first impression/ interview rolled into one. Future employers or colleagues are able to scrutinise your profile, as well as get to know you better, and vice versa. Opportunities could pop up unexpectedly, from all over the world. So get online now! Your next conversation could be with a future employer ;-).
4. More platforms on which you can share your thoughts and ideas with a limitless number of people
As a young professional, online networking isn’t just all about meeting new people. Participating in online social platforms is also a great way to share your thoughts and ideas with an infinite amount of people. From joining discussion groups, to simply blogging about your own views and opinions on certain topics, networking online helps to truly broaden your horizons.
5. A digital way of life is unavoidable
Let’s face it. Almost everyone has a smartphone or laptop these days. We’re all extremely connected to the world, even if we don’t want to be. With the vast majority of working adults relying on online platforms to get work done, the internet has become the best playground today. As the saying goes: if you can’t beat them, join them.
6. For introverts, this might be a better option
Not everyone is a social butterfly! Going from table to table during events to talk to high-profile individuals is extremely anxiety inducing, especially when you’re just starting out. Hence, getting online and connecting with the same people there might be the best solution for introverts!
Platforms available for you to network away on!
In case you missed it, here are some platforms for you to work on when it comes to online networking.
There a vast number of professional networking sites these days, the most popular being LinkedIn. Home to over 500 million members, this is your portal to online networking heaven. The website offers a wide array of functions such as offering groups, blogs and chats.
Other than the sites above, there’s also Meetup and Opportunity. Meetup enables users to schedule events and meetings with other like-minded individuals, offering to help turn their online meetings into real ones. These include everything from work-based events, to sporting or gaming events. In addition, Opportunity is another networking site that could be said to be a matchmaker for professionals. Their business algorithm connects your profile to others who can provide you with the best leads, sales and employment opportunities.
Get in on the online networking action
If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, join us! Online networking is extremely prevalent today, and could be said to be the most convenient way to meet professionals. If you’re looking to expand your network as a young professional, do hop on over to one of the three sites mention to start your journey.
Networking got you nervous? Check out our article meant for introverts who want to network just as well as their peers.
Hop on our platform today to explore countless job opportunities!