Networking is all about making connections and nurturing connections. But what networking tips apply to remote jobs?
I do a lot of IRL career coaching (on top of my virtual career coaching services). Which means I attend a ton of in-person networking events, mixers, and similar meetups.
Why? Because networking is valuable. Period.
Networking online is especially effective for job seekers. According to career site, The Muse, as much as 80% of jobs are filled via networking!
Needless to say, if you’re not pounding the virtual pavement and making professional connections — you’re missing out. Big time.
Now, we know networking is important in person and leads to job offers.
But, how exactly do you network when you’re looking to work remotely?
Here are seven networking tips to live by for remote job seekers.
1. Professionally Polish Your Profiles
As a remote job seeker, all of your networking will be done remotely. So, when you reach out to a new person to make a connection, you can bet your biscuits that person is going to check out your digital footprint.
They will scope you out on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or wherever it is you reached out to them.
To make a great first impression, keep your social media profiles up to date and cohesive.
Don’t call yourself Susan in one profile and Sue in another. And, be sure to use the same profile picture across the board.
Plus, remember to actually be social on social media. It doesn’t look great if you reach out to connect with someone on LinkedIn but your profile shows little activity to no activity. Said potential connection is going to think your request is one of self promotion only and not a genuine attempt to expand your network (and they’re absolutely right).
When your profiles are in tiptop shape, people are more likely to accept your connection and even recommend other professionals to e-meet you.
2. Be Unique (But Not Weird)
Uniqueness matters. The average professional receives a whopping 121 emails per day. If you don’t stick out (in a good way) you’re likely to never, ever get a response.
An easy way to give someone a reason to respond to you is by being unique. But, don’t confuse uniqueness with weirdness.
For example, I once had a fellow career coach cold email me. His expertise was tech professions (a super remote-friendly career field).
He wanted to connect with me since I am well versed in the world of remote work. Typically, I’d be all for it! But this particular gentleman (who worked in an office) opened his connection request with, “What’s the point of getting dressed every day just to work from home? Wouldn’t you rather sit in your underwear?”
It was completely off putting and just too strange to reply to. His email was promptly placed in the trash folder.
Now, he could have been memorable (without being weird) by asking me about morning routines for remote workers and why they matter.
This would have been an interesting question and something I would have definitely answered. But, he took it a step too far and went down the weird path of no return.
3. Patience Is Key
Remember how I said the average professional receives something like 121 emails in a day? That means your non-urgent connection request may go unanswered. And that’s okay.
The worst thing you can do is pester the person you want to connect with. Instead, be patient.
99% of professionals will absolutely want to network with you too. But, many people are just swamped with emails and sometimes responses can take a day or two or ten.
It’s perfectly fine to follow up, but do so after it’s been 5 days without a response. Any sooner and you come off as a bother.
4. Check In With Your Network (Don’t Go Cold On Them)
Don’t just add people to your network (i.e. follow them on Twitter, connect with them on LinkedIn or become ‘friends’ on Facebook) and then let that connection go cold.
Networking is all about nurturing. Networking is not a numbers game.
So, once you have a valuable contact in your network, check in with them periodically. This is one of the simplest networking tips that is often overlooked.
A check in can be something as quick as ‘liking’ a post or commenting on something they’ve shared. A short message to say “happy birthday” or “how’s your day” can go a long way in maintaining this virtual friendship.
You want them to remember who you are. You should feel familiar to them. That way if you ever need a favor (like an introduction or recommendation) you’re more likely to get help.
5. Get Social But Not Too Social
Oh social media! It’s both a blessing and a curse. There are endless possibilities to connect with people all over the world but it can also be a total time suck.
Fortunately, you can absolutely find a happy medium that allows you to grow your network without being tethered to your online profiles.
Networking Tips For Twitter
Hop on Twitter and like, tweet and retweet once daily. Obviously, it’s best if you keep your tweets and retweets related to your profession. This will help you more easily gain followers. Plus, you end up in the feeds of people within your industry who you want to be part of your network (and you of theirs).
On Twitter, hashtags are a great way to get found. Popular and relevant hashtags make it easy to get noticed as an aspiring remote worker.
Networking Tips for Facebook & LinkedIn
Facebook and LinkedIn are both great because they have groups! Groups serve as a virtual gathering place for people who have something in common like a hobby, life circumstance, location, and — yes — profession!
When you join a profession-specific group, there are tons of people you can easily connect with.
But don’t just join a group and start self promoting.
Instead, sit back on the sidelines for a bit and regularly check in to see what active members of the group post and share.
Once you get a feel for the activity, you can jump in. But it’s best to do so slowly and not cannonball style.
It’s a good idea to comment on other people’s posts before you post yourself. That way you ease your way into the group dynamic without coming across as pushy.
Authentic Networking Tips for Remote Job Seekers
Pro Tip: Do NOT rely solely on free social media automation tools like Buffer. I love Buffer. I really do. Not only is it an amazing free automation tool for social media, Buffer is an awesome remote-friendly company with unbelievable benefits.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can use Buffer on occasion. You can definitely take some of your social posts off of your plate by scheduling them ahead of time. But, be sure to check in on those posts after they go live and respond to any comments.
When you’re just posting on a routine automated schedule with little other activity, you come across as robotic (because you are). And, one of the best networking tips I can give you is to be authentic and human.
6. Let Others Toot Their Own Horns
As a remote job seeker, your end goal with networking is to find (and land) a telecommute position.
Once you start working toward your work from home goals you are inevitably going to come across professionals that currently work remotely in a position you’re after. And that’s amazing! These are the perfect people to ask for an informational interview.
Most professionals love to talk about themselves, and they’ll be happy to spare some time to answer all of your questions you have about their work.
Somebody who is already doing what you want to be doing is the perfect person to pick their brain. Not only will you gain valuable career-related information, you also make a valuable connection.
This person is likely to know of remote positions within their own company that is currently hiring AND will be more likely to recommend you if you make a great impression.
Plus, it’s just nice to have someone to talk to that’s been in your shoes. There’s nothing more valuable than having 10-15 minutes of someone’s time to help you move toward the right remote job for you and not settle for something that’s not right for you.
7. Connect With Like-Minded Out Of The Cubicle Thinkers
Remote workers are a unique breed of people. Take it from someone who’s been doing it for 10 years 🙋🏼♀️.
If you’ve never worked remotely before, it’s a good idea to get a feel for how exactly telecommuters put in a full day of work while still being connected with coworkers around the world.
One way remote workers maintain contact with others is through Slack. If you’ve never heard of it before, Slack is like a virtual workspace. It’s a place to share and collaborate. And it’s not all work related! There are Slack Channels that aim to entertain with a steady stream of gifs and memes.
You can discover remote-friendly communities at Slack or simply join a few channels that interest you. Inevitably, as a remote job seeker, you’ll come across a company that will ask you if you have any experience with Slack. And you can confidently answer, “You betcha!”
Online Networking Tips To Live By
Remember, don’t spam your fellow professionals. Not only is it ineffective, it just makes you look bad. Always make sure you are adding value to conversations, chats, and threads.
Don’t forget: Never, ever post anything online in forums or on social media that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. `
While your aim is to network with potential connections, you have to be mindful that recruiters and hiring managers are checking in on you to. So, perhaps my most valuable of all networking tips is this: Give companies a reason to hire you by being amazing online.
You’ve got this!
Ashlee Anderson, CPCC
Did you know I’m now offering one-on-one coaching sessions for remote workers? I’ve got two amazing packages available that can supercharge your job search and makes it much easier to find the remote work of your dreams!
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