4 Things to Know About Career Networking in the Digital Age
Career networking to land a job in a chosen industry used to mean attending a conference or a job-fair career event in person, passing out business cards and resumes, and sometimes even having an on-the-spot interview. But the introduction of the internet and digital platforms of the 21st century has altered how career networking occurs. And while online career networking approaches may offer some advantages, you need to be aware of how to use these resources to market yourself effectively.
Also, keep in mind that although networking interactions are happening more online in the digital age rather than in person, there are still valid reasons not to forego person-to-person methods combined with digital networking.
1. Tried-and-True Career Networking
Although almost all of us rely heavily on the internet, digital career networks, and social platforms when seeking a job opportunity in our chosen career, it is important not to put aside reliable non-digital strategies totally.
- Ask family, friends, and others in your chosen profession about who you should be talking with regarding a job.
- Become a member of your career’s professional organization.
- Volunteer for an organization that supports your career passion. This can often lead to a job within the company.
- Stay in touch with your school or college career services office.
- Attend in-person networking events.
These networking methods are still effective today when seeking a job opportunity.
2. Tips for Marketing Yourself in a Digital World
Keep It Brief
In a world where you are constantly bombarded with emails, text messages, and other digital communication, it is tempting to try to make as many connections as possible to advance your career networking and to write extensively.
However, in his January 2022 article, There’s A New Strategy for Networking in the Digital Age, Tim Madden, CEO of Executive Career Upgrades, advocates that “Everyone has a different idea of how formal online communication should be and how to interact with others, but I encourage you to apply the ‘less is more’ approach to how you communicate . . . It’s no secret that attention spans are dropping, so cater to that by keeping your messages and posts as concise as possible.” Madden even proposes using emojis, which can add a spark of personality to your digital communication and make you stand out in a positive way.
LinkedIn is among the largest social networking applications for job seekers and employers. In addition to creating your LinkedIn profile to market yourself to potential employers, you can occasionally post updates on LinkedIn about the latest trends in your profession, provide videos, or highlight short stories relating to your career.
There are alternative career networking sites as well—Jobcase, Google + (circles feature)—as well as job search sites such as Indeed, Career Builder, and numerous others.
For any of these platforms, keep your message brief, and think about what makes you stand out and what makes you unique.
Tune-in to Keywords
Career networking in a digital environment provides plenty of opportunities to simplify your job search and advance your networking. When placing your resume online remember that most employers now use software Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that scan and filter resumes and searches for keywords related to a specific job opportunity. Make sure that your resume includes those related keywords.
There are services available such as JobScan, Skillsyncer, and others that provide a scan of your resume to see how well it fits a specific job opportunity and how your resume could be improved, but there is usually a fee involved. These companies also sometimes offer ways to improve your LinkedIn profile. Many colleges may have these resume scanning tools at no charge to you through their career services department, so check your school to see if this service is provided.
3. Let’s Get Social
Do social platforms help with career networking? Yes and No. There have been many changes in how career networking happens in the present age. And certainly, social media platforms—Facebook, Instagram, and others—have become the norm in sharing not only your personal and social life but also your career inquiries and successes.
You can use these social platforms to let others know that you are seeking a certain type of job, provide a story on Instagram, or a reel on Facebook that includes a quick and brief overview of your qualifications and skills. You can schedule your posts for all platforms ahead of time through Social Pilot, Hootsuite, and others which lessens the time that you spend on posting.
But when sharing on social platforms be wise about what you are posting. It is not unusual for a potential employer to look at your profile and check out the nature of what you are posting. Create both a personal and a professional site on these social platforms and keep the postings separate. Avoid political or social issues viewpoints on your career posts.
4. Final Thoughts
In a 2023 Business News Daily article about job-seeking in the digital age, the author also suggests ”to take time to research the job, the company and even hiring manager, [and] check out blogs before spending time customizing resumes, personalizing cover letters…” Make sure the job and organization mission aligns with your career goals.
When seeking a job in the digital age, don’t forget to check the spelling and grammar in both your resume and cover letter. Put together an online folder that has your customized resumes and cover letters related to specific job opportunities so that you have these available when submitting applications.
In the words of Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808-1890), a French novelist, critic, and journalist “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Although career networking has transformed due to the advent of technology into a digital age, nothing replaces the underlying fundamentals which never change. Be yourself, and focus on quality, not quantity. Leverage your abilities and skills through the wise use of digital-age networking.