Time is a luxury, and now many people have more of it. Around the world, events are cancelled, restaurants closed and governments are advising everyone to stay at home. Where possible, employers are asking employees to work remotely. No matter how you look at it, life is slowing down with fewer places to go. Although people may not engage publicly, the use of social media and the internet will increase as people turn to online platforms for entertainment, discussion and, yes, networking.
In other words, the social distancing mandated by the coronavirus does not equate to postponing your job search. Now might be the best time to make new connections and maybe even land your next job.
Choose a platform and work on it
Start with the professional social media network of your choice and, using hashtags, search for posts and comments in the area you want to network. Find items that resonate and offer an opportunity to add value. Now is not the time to criticize, so if you can’t find something nice to say or a way to contribute, move on.
When you meet interesting people in your second or third level relationships, read their profile, find something interesting to comment on and ask to connect. The connections you make now and nurture over time can lead to your next interview.
Set aside time throughout the week to follow the flow of your new contacts and comment, like or share what works for you. The best way to create dialogue is to ask powerful, open-ended questions. These exchanges often offer a warm invitation to chat further by phone or video call.
Update your online presence
Use this downtime to reflect on how you present yourself virtually. What are your social media platforms saying about you? Do your professional strengths and interests stand out loud and clear? If not, it’s a great time to revise or develop a personal brand. Start by thinking about what is important to you professionally.
Search for key influencers in your area of interest to see how they branded themselves. Which profiles inspire you and how can this information be incorporated into your brand? Reach out to these influencers and ask for feedback on your profile and how you can make it more visible. You may be surprised at how many people will provide helpful feedback and may even provide additional connections. Incorporate new comments into your profile and create a tagline that clearly indicates your added value.
Online learning is a great way to keep your skills up to date. Business Insider just published this list of 54 free online courses from top colleges in the United States, including Princeton, Harvard, and Yale.
Whatever your interests, these sites offer the perfect social distancing method to continue learning and developing your skills. For a small fee, many courses come with a certificate of completion that you can add to your professional portfolio.
What better time than now to go through your contacts and set up “catch-up” calls to reconnect with friends, former colleagues, and others who might help you network. With so many people now working remotely, employees save a lot of time in daily preparation and travel times. This time can easily be allocated to other activities, including networking!
Look at the panels
As companies transition to remote working, new opportunities may also arise. Be sure to check your favorite forums for remote opportunities in your area of interest.
To better understand the professions most suitable for remote work, consult This article for the 25 best remote jobs in 2020. Or, join this next webinar about two freelancers who turned their passion into a thriving business on the Upwork platform.
These may be unprecedented times, but with focus and creativity, social distancing can bring you closer than ever to your next job.