This is a guest article by Laura May
Making a splash in the digital world is a tough task these days. There are thousands upon thousands of websites, billions of social media profiles, and enough of a content backlog that you could read nothing but blogs about Will Smith films and keep yourself occupied for years. How are you supposed to get noticed? How can you carve out some opportunities?
The answer to these questions might actually lie outside the online world. As exciting as digital innovation is, traditional networking still holds a lot of power: and since we’re always connected to the internet via our smartphones, the offline world is no longer aptly named. Furthermore, aren’t you tired of working from home all the time? Wouldn’t it be nice to mix things up?
In this post, we’re going to look at some handy ways in which you can use traditional networking to find and further valuable opportunities in the online world. This will serve to improve your fortunes, and give you reasons to get out of the house during the workday. Let’s get to them.
Attend relevant industry events (where possible)
This is easier said than done at the moment given how rare in-person meetings have become in the COVID-19 era, but we’re definitely starting to see the events calendar fill up again now that people understand roughly what needs to be done to make things reasonably safe. You should look for events that are relevant to the path you want to take, then choose the most useful.
The point of such an event isn’t to immediately start pitching people on ideas (that’ll probably lead people to ignore you). It’s to get to know the people in your niche and learn about how they operate. You’ll pick up a lot of valuable insight simply from being around them — and if things go really well, you’ll get to form some lasting friendships.
Those friendships will be worthwhile regardless, you should ideally view them as both personal and professional resources. Simply knowing those people will make it more likely for you to hear about relevant opportunities (and even be recommended for them), and if you want to outright ask your new friends to help you, there’s a good chance they will.
Pursue general self-improvement
What does self-improvement have to do with traditional networking? It’s a good question, and here’s the answer: whether you’re joining a sports club, getting therapy, or attending an educational course, you’re likely to meet people in the process. While you’re playing squash with people in your area, you’ll get to small talk about what you do — and it’s hardly uncommon to run into someone who could help your career in some way.
Therapy or breakthrough coaching might not sound like a viable path since it’s often one-on-one (working on yourself is, in most instances, a keenly-private thing), but think about the overlap when you’re waiting for a session and someone’s leaving. Think about group get-togethers for all the patients of a particular therapist dealing with similar things.
And the appeal of training courses should be obvious. Even if a course ends up being run online, you’ll still get to communicate with other participants (and even team up on projects). And as you learn together, you’ll band together, inevitably discussing what you hope to achieve and what else you’re working towards. In short, getting out there (to whatever extent you can) and meeting people will help you find online opportunities.
Take whatever help your friends can provide
There’s a pretty good chance that you already know people who could provide you with some great digital opportunities but you’re reluctant to consider going down that road. It would make your friendships feel strange, perhaps: you’d feel indebted to someone if they helped you in that way, or you’d worry about coming across as desperate or cynical.
Here’s the thing, though: you don’t get points for playing fair, and important opportunities don’t automatically go to those who are the most deserving. Nepotism and cronyism run rampant, and they’re only going to become more prominent now that remote working is the new standard and virtual interviews can allow even less recruitment accountability.
So if you already know someone who can help, whether it’s a friend, a former colleague, or a family member, then take advantage of that situation. What matters is what you do with the opportunities you receive — that you make the most of them and prove that you deserved them all along. If you can do that, then the resulting success will be 100% yours.
That you want to find a digital opportunity doesn’t mean you need to start there. It’s so competitive now that using an old-school approach and building offline relationships can set you apart. Give these tips a try: they might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Laura May is Digital Editor at Just Another Magazine. We write about beauty, fashion, lifestyle, relationships, travel, trends and anything else that matters to you. Name throwing you off? Don’t take it too seriously — we intend to stand out from the crowd.