How to build your network, in-person and online
The benefits of in-person networking are endless. Despite our tendency to search for anything and everything online, most jobs are filled through personal connections. Chances of being hired increase when a potential employer can put a face to an applicant's name, and especially if an employer can easily learn a thing or two about their personality and work ethic.
What many job applicants overlook, however, is the importance of taking your personal connections online. How can you use your real-world relationships to network online? Here are some helpful tips:
Always follow up
Did you just meet someone at a networking event who has your dream job? Don't let this connection slip away. Send an email or LinkedIn message within 24 hours saying how great it was to meet them, and how excited you are to stay in touch.
Embrace the power of LinkedIn
If you haven't already, connect with your close friends and family members on LinkedIn. You'll be surprised who they know. Is your childhood best friend connected on LinkedIn to a VP of a company you want to work for? Great! Reach out to your friend and ask her to connect you both on LinkedIn, or send a personal connection request to the VP and explain how you are connected. This is the perfect example of how a blend of in-person and online networking can lead to great conversations and even career opportunities.
Give a creative virtual thank you gift
You just had an informational interview with a business executive you met at a networking event. It went well, and you want to say thanks. If appropriate, one creative way of saying thank you is by sending a virtual gift card for coffee or to a local restaurant to keep the conversation going.
Whether you're a business school student looking for a new job,or simply want to expand your professional network, combining the power of your in-person and online networks can help you meet your goals.