How To Effectively Network Online

What are the challenges that students face when it comes to building a network online?

Sites such as LinkedIn have dramatically changed the way people network. It is a powerful tool that can dramatically affect your career. But not every professional has a profile on LinkedIn, so building a broad networking strategy is helpful.

Let’s start with the basics: In which career and industry do you wish to work? The answer to this basic question will point you in the right direction. You can use systems like LinkedIn to identify and connect with individuals at certain corporations or in particular industries. And, if you do not find the right contact on LinkedIn, then go to the corporate directory to speak with the correct professional.

Is networking etiquette different online versus in person?

It is probably more difficult to network online than in person. When you meet people in person, you watch their body language to determine how they are receiving the conversation. Online networking does not allow individuals to observe such nuances, which can be difficult for many people. It is important to craft messages that are polite and succinct and that maintain a professional tone. National surveys show that communication is considered one of the most important skills, so take your time in writing your e-mails.

What are some online networking no-nos?

In today’s world, we anticipate immediate responses to our e-mails. When an individual is less familiar with you, he or she may not respond immediately, so be patient. If you do not receive a response within five business days, then write a new e-mail indicating that you are following up on your initial outreach. Always remember to be polite and cordial in your communication: Since it is a reflection of you as a potential employee, you want to make the best impression.

What’s the best way to go about asking a current connection to make a virtual introduction to someone in his or her network?

If you have built strong relationships with other professionals, they are highly likely to refer you to other people in their networks. One of the best ways to ask a professional contact to connect you with one of his or her contacts is to write why the networking opportunity is important to you, what you hope to gain from the conversation, and approximately when you hope to connect with the new contact. It is also helpful to provide a brief written summary of your relevant skills and experience. Remember that you are asking for a connection, so your professional contact may choose not to make the introduction. Be sure to see if your professional contact has any concerns about making the introduction, and if that is the case, be sure to work with your contact to alleviate those concerns.

If your contact decides to connect you, don’t forget to express your gratitude. After you speak with the new business contact, you should send a note to your current connection and share any insights you gained from the conversation you had with the new contact. It builds trust between you and your business connection, which may lead to more introductions in the future.