When you’re reminded to focus on networking in order to forge new career connections, what usually comes to mind? Awkwardly shifting around a conference room with uncomfortable name tags asking strangers if they know of any job openings for you?
If that’s the case, then it’s time to update your perception of networking. And in 2015, like most of the questions of our lives, the answers lie online.
Job seekers would meet up with strangers in real life to talk about networking because there weren’t many other ways to meet new people and have a focused discussion on career paths. Career fairs and networking events, while awkward, were the best chance you had to connect with hiring managers and those who knew of job openings.
That’s not the case anymore, as resources like social media have changed how and when we can talk about career options. It’s fairly common now to see a friend on Facebook mention that they’re looking for a new job, and usually several comments accompany that post, with friends offering tips and connections. Just think how that’s replaced going through a rolodex or your alma mater’s yearbook for potential leads.
There are also plenty of staffing and recruiting firms, as well as hiring managers, on social media that are hoping to run into candidates like you. Interacting with their pages and asking for advice or specific opportunities could lead you to a new role — without having to munch on stale carrots in a networking event.