Building one's network has historically been focused on the in-person connection - meetings, handshakes, sharing meals, cocktails and conversation. But times have changed. Making meaningful connections is not solely reserved for face to face contact anymore. While connecting with professionals via cyberspace is now easier than ever, it's important to keep in mind some guidelines and techniques to maximize these moments.
BrazenCareerist.com's recently published article, The Fine Art of the Networking Email, touched on some really important aspects of cyber networking that are easily applicable to many pieces of networking online:
- Be Strategic
The interweb is a BIG place and it's easy to get distracted or sidelined from the task at hand. Be strategic to get links, email addresses, twitter handles, LinkedIn accounts and other information about people with whom you'd like to connect.
- Survey the Landscape
Choose 2 industry leaders whose paths speak to you and analyze their presence on social media. Ask yourself how they fit into the marketplace, how long they've been in their field, what their services consist of and how you could help them if you're given the opportunity to do so.
- Make Contact
Craft a phenomenal networking e-mail that will tell them how you got their info, offer a casual introduction to yourself (but be sure to include important details), express competence in your field and provide a compliment or offer of assistance. Keep in mind not to discuss money or ask for a job! Brazen's article provides a solid example of an effective networking e-mail.
This approach to networking is meant to come across as natural as possible, not a way to nag someone about giving you a job. You researched your field, saw someone's work that you connected with and wanted to learn more about, so you've taken a proactive approach to connect with them. For more useful information on networking in cyberspace, visit our looking for work section, paying special attention to the Guide to LinkedIn and Informational Interviews.