How to network in a remote work world

Face-to-face interaction may be limited for the near future, but that doesn't mean you can't network. Consider these creative strategies
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The widespread adoption of remote working has revolutionized the way we do our jobs, how we learn, and how we interact with each other. It has also changed the way we network. In a time where almost everything has gone online, our days are no longer full of opportunities to meet new people.

Expanding your network is a critical part of career development. It’s essential to meet prospective partners and clients, improve your skillset, and stay updated with the latest trends in your industry.

Virtual networking provides professionals with a greater pool of connections, removing time and space restrictions.

If you’re working remotely, whether permanently or temporarily, creating networking opportunities is still possible. Though it might be a change from user groups and coffee meetups, virtual networking offers an added bonus: It provides professionals with a greater pool of connections, removing time and space restrictions in place of more traditional forms of networking.

[ Want advice on virtual interviews? Read also: How to get a job during COVID-19: 9 smart tips.]

4 ways to network during remote work

So with this in mind, what can you do to keep connecting with others virtually?

1. Say yes to virtual events

With most events now online, there’s a myriad of opportunities to engage with different industries from your own home. Virtual events are a great way to keep your finger on the pulse, learn from industry leaders, and connect with like-minded professionals.

Attending these events is great, but actively participating is even better. Most webinars make time for Q&A sessions at the end, and if not, hosts often provide contact information for questions.

The bottom line: You might not be able to mingle and share your business card after an event, but you can connect with leaders and attendees virtually via email or professional social networks such as LinkedIn. Don’t forget to include an introductory message with your request, explaining who you are and why you’d like to connect.

2. Join online communities

Online communities for remote and freelance workers are on the rise. Platforms such as Slack offer opportunities to join professional groups, and other platforms like Reddit, LinkedIn, and Facebook enable professionals to network, connect, and share knowledge. Look for industry-specific groups or threads, or even location-specific ones – these are not only useful for networking purposes, but they also help to keep you updated with the latest events and news in your field.

3. Start a blog

So far, we’ve focused primarily on how you can reach out to others, but what about increasing the chances of people reaching out to you?

Starting an online blog not only lets you showcase your expertise, but it also connects you with like-minded individuals within your industry. Be sure to post regular and relevant content and to interact with your community those who follow you as well as those who share similar content.

4. Maximize use of social media

Much like starting a blog, having a curated profile on social media such as Instagram or Facebook can be a great way to promote your professional services. To make the best of your social media accounts, make sure that your profile and the content you post shows who you are, what you do, and what you can offer. 

But don’t post only promotional or sales-led content; if you want people to follow you and build your profile as a subject matter expert, you must also share valuable, useful, and relevant information.

Starting a public account dedicated to your services is a good way to keep your personal profile private while also keeping things professional on your public account. Ensure you’re engaging with your audience as well as any industry leaders or companies you admire by following them and attending live sessions.

The way we network is likely to continue evolving as the world adjusts to constant change and uncertainty. However, remote workers and freelancers can still build a strong network of contacts – all it takes is a new approach and some creative thinking.

[ Get exercises and approaches that make disparate teams stronger. Read the digital transformation ebook: Transformation Takes Practice. ]

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Zoe Morris
Zoë Morris is President of Jefferson Frank, part of Frank Recruitment Group, and oversees its ongoing business and sales operations, employee training, and hiring initiatives globally. She studied Psychology at the University of London and has nearly 20 years of experience in the recruitment industry.