In our new COVID 19 reality, it seems like everything in the world has gone virtual. From conferences to college classes to meetings, everything has moved online in the last nine months.
Networking has always been a key component of a successful job search, but we are not really able to meet face to face anymore. As a result, job candidates need to find a new way to differentiate themselves and stand out in our new pandemic forced virtual world.
Here are the top three ways to stand out as a candidate in a pandemic world.
- Engage in Online Conferences
While some conferences were canceled in March and April because of the pandemic, most organizations have moved their conferences online. It is much harder to stand out in an online conference than in person, but it is essential for job candidates to attend online conferences and to fully participate.
There are some important steps a candidate can take to help differentiate themselves at online events. First, candidates should reach out and introduce themselves via email or on LinkedIn to the presenters for each session before they attend, to start building a networking relationship.
Most online sessions have a chat feature enabled. Chat is the best way to stand out. To get noticed, candidates should prepare some great questions and observations to post during the presentation and then follow up with every attendee that responded to them in the chat (more on that in point #2).
2. It’s All About LinkedIn
How do you follow up with conference attendees from the chat? The answer is simple. Send a personalized LinkedIn connection request to all the people who engage with you at the online conference and make sure to mention both the conference and the session in which you met.
Of course, you will need a winning LinkedIn profile before you reach out so that you are presenting yourself professionally, but LinkedIn remains the very best way to build your brand and network online.
3. Professional Zoom Background and Appearance
I have seen this way too often, even from purported professionals; a lack of professionalism on Zoom. People still judge you by your appearance, even on Zoom. Make sure you present yourself professionally at all times.
You must be well-groomed and professionally dressed on Zoom. While most people understand that there are going to be disruptions on Zoom at home, do your best to avoid them by sitting up a private and quiet room.
Always make sure to use a professional background on Zoom, and no, your bed, no matter how well made, should never be visible behind you.
Hopefully, we are turning the corner on this pandemic, but many people expect a return to a new normal as opposed to our old reality post-COVID that will include much more online interaction. Get started on maximizing your use of online resources for networking, both for the rest of the pandemic and beyond.