Building professional relationships can make the difference between getting stuck professionally and progressing up the career ladder. Expanding your network lets you find mentors, peers to bounce ideas off, and colleagues to write letters of recommendation. Your network can help you grow your business, and find opportunities like virtual talks, calls for papers and nominations for awards.
Even in these strange times of social distancing and missing office life, we can still develop those all-important professional connections and expand our network. Here’s how you can do this during the pandemic.
Use Your Current Network
You are connected to more people than you might think. Rekindle old relationships with people you went to college or trained with. Find out what they’ve been up to, and share what you’ve been working on. So many productive things can come from these ad hoc, casual conversations. These contacts you were overlooking could well be able to suggest a person that would be interested in your work. You have to talk to them to get these benefits though.
Partner With Other Institutions
To be able to compete for a promotion, it’s important for you to concentrate on your reputation. Giving talks at industry events or other businesses is a good way to develop this part of your CV. Ask your department’s leadership to leverage their network and develop partnerships to get invited to do these talks. In the academic world, you can recommend faculty members to different institutions to give talks on specific topics. This creates two ways for junior members of the faculty to give expert presentations and build their CVs.
Now that most of us can make use of videoconferencing platforms, talks are no longer restricted to formal meetings or events, but instead can be open to more casual presentations.
Reach Out To Authors
Did you read an article that interested you? Reach out to the author and let them know specifically what you enjoyed about the article and why you liked it. This can start a dialogue and open the door to future collaborations.
Engage In Professional Zoom Meetings
In-person conferences have been cancelled due to the pandemic, but hybrid events and virtual meetings are the new networking tools. Interact with the speakers and attendees. Let participants know if something that they said resonated with you and why. Connect with them on social media after the event and continue the conversation.
Participate In Social Zooms
Zooms are not only for meetings. Participating in social Zooms, like virtual coffee breaks, happy hours, and lunches can offer some unexplored opportunities to meet new and interesting people in a more relaxed setting. Build on these conversations, interact by adding comments into the chat and continue these conversations well after the call finishes.
Keep yourself out there. Building and maintaining relationships to invest in yourself and your career. Appreciate that this process will take time and effort, and understand that this strategy will help to promote your strengths and value as a professional.