There’s no doubt the pandemic required a major change in how we network with people. Any and all methods of networking not already virtual were forced to move online.
But now, people are craving face-to-face connection again. Especially since many jobs are still remote, and will likely stay this way.
People are burned out on two-dimensional networking interactions via Zoom and a computer screen. They want to get back to some kind of normalcy, and network in a more meaningful and effective way.
This raises questions such as:
- Which normal networking methods will still work post-COVID?
- What methods developed during COVID will carry over post-COVID?
- Which methods will become the “new normal”?
I’ll provide some answers to these questions in this post. Read on!
How to network effectively post-COVID
1. Continue to make it relational
Networking has always been and always should be relational in nature, not transactional. Unfortunately, a lot of people still don’t get this. They wonder why their networking attempts aren’t fruitful.
It’s because they’re not being realistic about networking. Click here to learn how to be more realistic.
To maintain your current relationships in your network, you want to reconnect with anyone you haven’t talked to since before the pandemic. Now is a good time to follow up with them.
Ask them how they’ve managed during this turbulent time. Ask if they’re continuing to work remotely and if they like it. Or ask if they’ve joined the “Great Resignation” or decided to retire early. Then, really listen to their responses.
3. Show empathy
It’s been a difficult year and a half for everyone, and even more so for those who’ve lost loved ones to COVID.
Don’t forget to show empathy and compassion (with appropriate boundaries) to your contacts when given the opportunity. Practice and demonstrate the emotional intelligence employers seek in job candidates.
4. Give options
Even if you now feel more comfortable meeting in person for networking conversations, don’t assume everyone else has the same comfort level.
When trying to schedule networking conversations such as informational interviews, always give your contacts an option. Even if they’re tired of Zoom, it may be more convenient for them to meet over the computer. Or, perhaps their eyes need a break from the computer screen, so offer the option of an old-fashioned phone call.
But when in agreement, try to meet in person, while being open to new or different meeting places (see the next section).
5. Find new places to meet
Physicians and psychologists suggest we break up our work-day to include both some exercise and some social contact. The pandemic motivated a lot of people to get outdoors, which is very healthy! And with more people still working from home by choice, the more likely they are to take a mid-day walk in their neighborhood or at their local park on their work breaks.
To fulfill the need for social contact, offer to meet people at their favorite trail or nearby dog park to join them for some fresh air. Doing so helps them better manage their time since they can walk their dog, get exercise, and meet with you, all at the same time. Helping them free up their time makes it more likely they’ll say yes to your invitation.
Bonus tip: Don’t forget your pants!
Now that you’re making your way out from behind your webcam, you have to remember to change out of your pajama bottoms and into real pants!
In all seriousness though, you should plan to put forth a little more effort in looking presentable than you were probably used to during the pandemic. Even if you’re planning to meet for a walk or a run, don’t show up looking sloppy.
More post-COVID job search tips
COVID has changed the way job searches are conducted in a lot of ways. I’ve added new handouts to the on-demand video tutorials, which include specific tips on how to succeed in a post-COVID job search. This includes:
- Things you need to add to your resume, and things to remove from it.
- New kinds of interview questions you need to be prepared to answer.
- And new questions you should be asking the company in your interviews.
These programs also include the never-changing tried-and-true job search advice, along with numerous “out-of-the-box” job search tips designed to help you stand out above the competition.
- Free COVID-related career advice and networking tips
- E-book: Secrets to Networking With Ease and Confidence ($4.99 on Amazon, or free with purchase of on-demand video course)
- On-demand video course: The Secret to Successful Networking: How to Do It Naturally and Effectively