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Online Networking – Why Now and How?

In order to expand your network individually; online business networking platforms are more significant than ever.

 

A professionally written business profile allows you to grow your online network

Past generations worked 40 years for one company, networking outside the company was not considered essential. Nowadays, however, many of us work in project-based positions and change jobs and companies regularly throughout our professional careers. We constantly need to adapt to new circumstances and business partners, which makes networking crucial for professional success. Conducting business has changed even more with COVID-19, as most networking events have taken place digitally in the past months. Organizers and businesses have had to adapt their networking formats and have drawn positive conclusions from their experience online. Networking online, therefore, has become crucial and will remain an option in the post-pandemic future. So what are the basic steps into online networking?

Networking is an integral part of our Executive & Professional Education programs. The CPEA program (Certified Private Equity Analyst) for example was primarily designed for knowledge transfer but also the establishment of a network community among participants in the Private Equity industry. During the program, the participants study together, share their expertise and get to know different perspectives from researchers and industry experts. Additionally, alumni of the certificate are invited to annual workshops and business dinners to foster the personal network and to establish long-lasting relationships. “In times of COVID-19 we have worked intensively to sustain the network virtually with formats like the newly designed CPEA online Lunch & Learn Session,” says the CPEA team. Establishing a great network by participating in our Executive & Professional Education programs is a stepping stone into building a strong network, but in order to stay connected digitally and expand your network individually; online business networking platforms are more significant than ever.

Business networking platforms like LinkedIn and Xing are business-oriented networking websites geared towards professionals. A professionally written business profile allows you to create a professional online presence, which can help open doors to opportunities and networks that you may not have been aware of without social media. Many people still underestimate the importance of online networking on business platforms. Three basic steps can be followed to quickly catch up with online networking, here we will tell you why and how.

  1. Keep your business profile updated

Having a profile on a business networking platform like LinkedIn (international platform) or Xing (popular in German-speaking countries) is the easiest way to show your knowledge, experience, credibility, and leadership expertise. Do not forget to keep your profile updated and add any additional certifications or skills you have gained lately to boost your profile on the business platform. By being regularly active on these platforms, you benefit from the large community and gain exposure to interesting networking partners and new clients. It helps you to build trust with employers and recruiters as they can see your recommendations and connections and evidence of where you have added value.

  1. Join groups on business networking platforms

Groups are an excellent way to meet people with similar professional interests and expand your network of other professionals working in your industry. Groups allow you to take part in discussions. This is a great way to exhibit your knowledge on topics related to your industry, ask questions and start conversations with key people in organizations. Most online networks offer many different groups that are sorted by industry (consulting, automotive, energy, law, etc.), region (states, major cities, etc.) or field of education (lawyers, engineers, economists, etc.)

The best way to start is to become a member of a maximum of five groups that are relevant to you and have a large number of members (in some groups, membership must first be politely requested or justified to the moderators). Observe the conversations in the group, then you will quickly notice if this group suits your interest. If you feel comfortable in the group, write your own first posts. Always remember: Give first, then take – that is one of the first rules of networking. So answer questions of other members, offer your support or post an interesting link. Only when you have established yourself in the group, post your own requests.

  1. Gain social proof for your skills and talents

Let others recommend and endorse you for your skills and past work. When others recommend or endorse you, anyone who clicks on your profile can see these recommendations and it shows you have other experts backing up your skills. This is very powerful in making connections. You can build your credibility through the endorsements and testimonials as business networking platforms enable your contacts to leave these on your profile.

To take most of your profile on the business networking platforms, make sure to constantly engage and interact with the communities you joined. Business networking websites have become key to success, and were already considered an essential tool in some industries before COVID-19. After all, the aftermath of the pandemic has left us with new and more digital approaches to networking. The earlier we embrace them, the better we are prepared for the future business and success. Start implementing these basic steps today and strengthen your digital network. While you are at it, follow our LinkedIn profile to stay up-to-date with the latest news from TUM Institute for LifeLong Learning and TUM School of Management.

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