When you network, you establish and develop professional relationships through genuine and valuable interactions. Many stopped attending networking events and conferences due to COVID-19. In an era of remote work and virtual meetings, connecting involves more than just a friend request. Read through our guide to virtual networking to learn tips on how to make remote connections.

Why is Networking So Important?

woman sitting in wheelchair attending virtual networking event

Professionals will continue to connect regardless of a pandemic. The importance of networking during COVID is heightened since it is a vital part of the job-seeking process. In addition, building long-term relationships and creating a good reputation will not only strengthen your business connections.

It will also open up new opportunities for both business and career advancement. The more contacts you have, the more knowledgeable you become about different industries, business techniques, and other valuable information that can create an avenue for new opportunities.

  • Relationships can lead to more career opportunities for you. This can mean a promotion at a job you already have or access to new jobs if you are job searching.
  • Virtual networking can also provide you valuable advice in your career. If you find yourself at a crossroads or facing a challenge at work that you are unsure how to approach, getting advice from someone who experienced something similar within the same field as you could help guide you in the right direction.
  • Being able to talk about your business in terms of networking will also help build your skills in giving business pitches. If you can become more comfortable and confident talking about your work in any context, business or

“Everything we do right now — from sending emails to making calls to sending texts — is more important than ever. How we make people feel now is going to linger longer than these turbulent times.” – J. Kelly Hoey, Build Your Dream Network: Forging Powerful Relationships In A Hyper-Connected World.

Tips to Virtual Networking

woman remote networking while gesturing with coffee

1. Optimize your online presence

No other platform exists with like-minded professionals willing to connect than LinkedIn. This platform exists solely to build a professional portfolio as well as grow your online professional network. Make your presence known by developing a personal brand. Post valuable content related to your industry knowledge and experience. Plus, provide career advice with your network. However, do not stop there. Stay active and up-to-date on LinkedIn by completing the following steps:

  • Completely finish your profile page adding a profile photo, an about section, past experience, education, certifications, skills, and more.
  • Connect with coworkers, follow inspirational professionals, and grow your connections.
  • Find and join groups related to your profession.
  • Follow hashtags related to your profession.
  • Indicate you’re open for career advice and speak with successful professionals within your industry.
  • Post and interact with others on the live feed.

In today’s digital world, it is easier than ever for remote networking with locals, people across the county, or on the other side of the world. With over 600 million members on LinkedIn, the possibilities of making the right connections are endless. By making your presence known online, you are growing your brand and network.

2. Participate in virtual networking events

Many canceled or postponed networking events and conferences across industries are beginning to transition to virtual events. Although face-to-face interactions aren’t possible, here are some ways to make the most of virtual networking events.

  • Post your attendance before and after the event. Once you register for the event, announce on LinkedIn that you will be participating to attract your connections who may also be participating.
  • Do your research ahead of time on who will be participating in the virtual event. It is typical for events to allow access to their event guides and apps in advance for the opportunity of attendees to connect. Make a list of potential networking targets and plan for pre- and post-event outreach via social media, email, or phone.
  • Share your thoughts and insights in the comments section on the event platform. It is just as important to engage with the presenters. Actively participate in the comments sections during a Q&A section.
  • Connect with the people you have met on LinkedIn after the event.

3. Ask for help

man on virtual networking event in screen

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is one of the many reasons for virtual networking. If you are looking for an introduction, wanting feedback or advice, ask for it. Although, it’s great to ask questions, it’s also important to provide help for other’s as well.

Networking is a two-way street. To build a strong network, you have to give back. It’s important to share your expertise and industry knowledge with others you know. You will be more successful in making connections if you are providing valuable content for them.