Whether virtual or in person, networking remains an essential part not only for landing your first job, but for almost all of the following jobs as well. Like anything else, networking is a skill that can be learned and honed over time; In the opportunities for career growth alone, few skills can serve you more effectively in the long run. Here are some tips on how to improve your networking abilities, such as Adapted from the New Ultimate Guide to a Successful Tech Career.
Get involved online
This goes for everyone, but especially for those looking for their first job: establish a presence in the fields that interest you most (through the lens of your target jobs). Fine-tune your online profiles and interact with online groups and captions dedicated to your interests. Blogging and posting technology that interests you on social media will help you attract like-minded people while increasing your visibility. Hackathons are also a great place to bond with other technologists.
Even in doubt, reach out
It can be intimidating to reach out and ask to connect with experienced technologists and leaders from the organizations and industries that interest you most. Make. This. In any event. Many of these experts are only too happy to help, as they were equally ahead of the curve in their current roles. Explain that you are just starting out and that you could use some information. Never forward a presentation with a job application; the goal here is simply to learn as much as possible. In the worst case, you are rejected or you have no response – the risk is worth the reward.
Connect with recruiters
Recruiters can be invaluable in your job search because they can give you solid information about the state of the industry and which companies are hiring. Show your interest and aptitude to learn, and there’s a good chance the recruiter will have you in mind for future opportunities. Again, many recruiters will tell you to connect with them, even if you don’t know them directly; don’t let the fear of being a nuisance stop you from reaching out.
Look into remote networking
You may be concerned that the rise of remote and hybrid working is having a negative impact on networking; after all, how can you meet people when they are working from home? Fortunately, the past year has seen a noticeable increase in “remote networking”. Use your social networks for what they were originally created for, as they all have strong networking features. Join groups that match your interests (such as a particular programming language or technology discipline) and contribute to the discussion. Follow hashtags and terms on LinkedIn, and comment and share posts with your ideas and opinions highlighted. Find interesting people who could serve as mentors and ask them questions about their own career progression.
Once you’ve landed that first job, work on building stronger bonds with your new colleagues and their networks. Your teammates can be great resources for everything from continuing education opportunities to new contacts. While you may not have the same network of contacts within the company as a long-time employee, bonding with even a few employees can pay off.