Virtual Networking – Get on Board

By The Intersect Group

If you work in IT or finance/accounting, you’re likely still working from home, at least part of the time.

Have you embraced virtual networking yet?

Yes, you undoubtedly “network virtually” via internet platforms such as LinkedIn and other social media channels, often quite successfully.

But in this case, we mean “virtual networking” at an online “event” created specifically for networking with other professionals, whether they work in your field or not.

After all, as the link above states: “Leads are always in season, and networking events can be just as effective when done virtually.”

Such events don’t always have to be about creating sales leads: they also work extraordinarily well if you’re “merely” looking for professional relationships that – someday, perhaps – could help you move along in your career.

How to find virtual networking events

One of the great things about these events is that they’re virtual. Which means you can “attend” no matter where they may be “located.”

Your goal in attending a virtual networking event

  • Are you looking for work right now, so you’re looking for job leads/potential referrals to hiring managers?
  • Are you thinking of looking for a new position in the near future, so you want to see “what’s out there?”
  • Are you thinking of changing careers and want to network/conduct informational interviews to see if a particular career would be a good fit?

Begin with your goal in mind as you start looking for virtual networking events: doing so will help you narrow down which ones you should consider attending.

How to find virtual networking events

  • Talk to your current network. They will know about networking events hosted by local Chambers of Commerce and those hosted by different industries/business sectors. Don’t forget personal friends: they may not work in your industry, but they may know of events in their industry, and even if you’re not looking to move to that sector, you still could end up meeting interesting people, thus expanding your professional network.
  • Check out networking-focused websites. MeetUp and Eventbrite probably should be your first stop on your search, as they offer potentially hundreds – if not thousands – of online events across the country you could check out.
  • Dig through your inbox and social media channels. Search for industry organizations and then follow them on social media and newsletters. You also can ask your LinkedIn connections for ideas. Google is also an excellent tool: “virtual networking event XXX industry.”
  • Don’t forget alumni, business, and affinity groups. Many organizations have special affinity groups for women, minorities, LBGTQ+ individuals, and people with disabilities.

How to “work” a virtual networking event

Many of them have “themes,” which then often result in breakout rooms or “seminars” on different topics within the theme. Take note of them and how to attend any breakout conversations in which you’d like to participate.

  • Log in ahead of time (maybe 15 minutes) and check out the virtual conference’s platform. (They DO vary!) Take a look at the list of people who signed up. Check out exhibitors and sponsors, as applicable.
  • Take notes in the seminars/breakout sessions, but also engage in the conversation(s). Say hi and participate. Ask thoughtful questions (make sure you add who you are and what you do).
  • Search the event’s hashtags to find people/conversations talking about things in which you’re interested. Then either like, comment, or even tweet it, tagging the person who’s leading it. This way, you can potentially continue the conversation with your new connection.
  • Finally, don’t be shy about reaching out to people outside the event with whom you engaged during it. Even if you only “talked” to them at the event via one comment, be bold and ask if they’d be willing to chat more via email or, at the least, connect with you on LinkedIn.

Our clients continually send us new opportunities in the finance/accounting and IT sectors. Check out our current openings and apply to any that appeal to you. And, don’t forget: registering with us and sending us your resume means we can contact you lickety-split when an opportunity lands in our inbox that matches your goals and skills.