How to Expand Your Network During COVID

Sonia Hodgin discusses how you can expand your network, even during COVID!

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The current COVID pandemic has turned the business world upside down. Many people have had to work from home for the first time, in-person meetings are limited or non-existent, and many individuals have lost their jobs. Whether you’re searching for a new job or just looking to expand your network, connecting with others in your industry is always a great idea. Although COVID has made it hard to meet up with people or attend networking events in person, there are still a few ways you can continue to grow your network. 

Attend Virtual Conferences or Workshops

Many in-person events have been cancelled, but some groups have opted to pivot to a virtual setting. Although these types of conferences are relatively new, they can still be helpful. Make sure to get contact information of any key speakers or people in your industry and region. You can follow up with a polite email, or add them on LinkedIn. 

You should also ask yourself if there’s a way you can bring more value to a virtual event. For example, would you be able to speak on a relevant topic as an expert? Participating in or leading a session or panel will help you connect with others. 

Increase Your Activity on Social Media

Staying connected to people when you don’t see them face-to-face on a regular basis is difficult, but professional social media platforms such as LinkedIn make doing so a little easier. Now is a great time to reconnect with your pre existing connections! Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone just to say hi. You shouldn’t be reaching out to people only when you need something from them. 

Another way to keep people engaged is to share interesting articles, stories, and insights. People will see the content in their newsfeed, and many will view, like, or comment on it. 

Pick Up the Phone

In the past, brief meetings over coffee were a great way to have a conversation with a professional in your field. Social distancing doesn’t mean the end of informational interviews. If you connect with someone, don’t be afraid to ask for a fifteen-minute phone call. Most people enjoy talking about their careers and sharing advice, and chances are they could use a short break during their day. If they agree to a phone call, come prepared with questions so as not to waste their time (or yours). Due to new COVID norms, you’re no longer limited to networking only with those in your region. Anyone in the world is accessible! 

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