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Networking Ideas for Small Groups during the COVID-19 Quarantine

According to so-called networking experts, there are three “Ps” that are important in any sort of networking, and these are people, people, and more people.  Although this type of categorization is just plain annoying, there is of course truth in it.  So when it comes to thinking up networking ideas for small groups it is important to remember that behind every event, it is the people that matter more than the content of the meeting. Whatever activity you choose is likely ok as long as everyone is engaged with it.

What is Networking?

Networking is all about making and maintaining relationships, and in this time of social isolation it is important to have social interaction whether in a work based scenario or amongst friends.  We have all been forced into Zoom calls and lengthy video chats, and it can be difficult to cope with if everyone just sits there and stares at the screen.  Yet something too complicated does not always suit the online format.

If you are working from home and running an online work meeting or seminar, you should always start with an icebreaker. Ask each participant their name and how they are feeling before moving onto the work part of the meeting and that way everyone will feel engaged. This sounds good sense and good manners because it is only polite to introduce people and to put them at their ease.

According to so-called experts in this, you can try asking more off the wall interesting questions too such as  “What is the one thing you are secretly pleased that you don’t have to do now that you are socially distancing?” Or apparently even annoying questions such as, “What will I eat today?” or similar.

In all honesty, asking a work colleague what anybody should eat sounds like a special kind of hell, but one small consolation must be that at least with an online work meeting, you don’t actually have to remain in the same room as these peers.

More Tips

Once the meeting is up and running, you can increase the misery by insisting that everyone takes part in group activities. These would be fun amongst friends but not always appropriate for work colleagues.

One example of networking ideas for small groups that we found described as a fun and playful icebreaker for Zoom is called Sketch Your Neighbour. You draw the person in the next Zoom box to you and then show the picture to the group.

Networking ideas for small groups do not have to be work related. Many small friendship groups and families have taken to online quizzing, like a duck to water. Having virtual drinks together – recreating the bar or pub atmosphere from your own home can be fun. And don’t forget the ever popular Zoom Kitchen Disco. It might seem weird to dance about in your kitchen in front of a panel of faces, but when we all look back to 2020 and the COVID crisis, this is exactly the type of activity we will remember.

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This Networking Resource Will Boost Your Career

Anyone who is serious about their career will make use of their networking resources whether or not they are job hunting. LinkedIn is a networking resource many people use, because this networking resource will boost your career in a number of different ways.

Why LinkedIn is a Great Networking Resource

One of the things that makes LinkedIn a great networking resource is because this is a social network designed specifically for career and business professionals. This makes it easier to find other professionals in your career field to connect with, allowing you to build a strong network made up of other professionals interested in gaining resources and building business connections.

Since everything on this site is geared towards business and careers, it makes it easier to make useful connections and get recommendations from people in your own field of expertise.

How to Get Started Using LinkedIn as a Networking Resource

It is easy to get started using LinkedIn as a networking resource. All you need to do is decide whether you want to join the site for free or get a paid subscription for the site. Then you create a professional profile.

When creating your professional profile, make sure that you keep the entire profile professional. Include in your professional profile the basics of your resume, a summary of yourself, previous places where you have worked and your previous employers, as well as any projects that you have worked on. You will also want to include a professional photo of yourself.

Adding Connections to Networking Resources

Once you have set up your profile on LinkedIn, then you start building up your connections in order to make this site a good networking resource. You can begin by adding people that you know or would like to know who are in the same career field as you are; then ask these people to recommend you to other people they know in your field.

Focus on building quality connections rather than trying to build a large number of “friends.” Because when it comes to your career you want people who provide you with support and information as well as introductions and recommendations not to see how long of list of people you can add to some list. It is better to have 35 connections that will actively engage with you and that you can engage with rather than have hundreds of people have nothing to do with your career.

Set Yourself Up For Career Success

Once you have made some great connections, you can then set yourself up for career success by becoming active on the site. You can do this by posting professional updates such as new things you’ve learned, career events you have attended, and other useful information. You can also write some blogs showing your expertise and sharing valuable information with others.

You can also use LinkedIn to learn new skills and show that you are taking your career seriously and want to stay current with what is happening in your field.

By using LinkedIn properly this career social media site can become the networking resource that helps you boost your career.

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Best Networking Outlets For Job Networking

When looking for a new job, knowing what the best networking outlets for job networking are can help you concentrate your networking and job search using these outlets. Here is a look at some of these best outlets for your job networking.

5 Best Networking Outlets for Job Seekers

Your University Professors and Fellow Students

Many colleges and trade schools have a job placement office that can help you find a job that fits your degree, talent, and experience. In addition, some of your instructors may be able to give you a heads up or an introduction to someone who is hiring in your field. Checking in with your school’s placement office, keeping in touch with instructors and other students in your class, and including them as part of your network can help when the time comes and you are seeking a job.

Job Fairs

Job fairs, if used correctly, can be a great networking outlet for finding a job. Make sure that you target only those companies related to the type of job you are seeking and don’t use the job fair as an interview, but rather as an introduction to the person who is likely to be doing the hiring for the job you are seeking. You can also meet other people in your field, which may know of a job that could be right for you.

Family and Friends

Often overlooked as an outlet for networking are your family and friends and even acquaintances. Everyone you know will know other people in various job fields that could send out feelers on your behalf regarding possible job opportunities. It is amazing how often family or friends have connections that may lead to job opportunities.

Conferences and Educational Events

Many times, educational events are set up for people in specific fields to let people know about new trends, changes in the job field, skill sets, and other purposes. These types of events also serve as networking outlets,allowing you to meet people in the same field as you who live in various areas. These people can give you a heads up on potential jobs and introduce you to others in your field, including people who are looking to hire.

Social Media

Social media (especially professional networking sites like LinkedIn and equivalent alternatives to that site) is also a good networking outlet for finding a job. There are Facebook groups dedicated to certain professions, as well as groups on other social media networks. Joining these groups and being active before you need a job by sharing tips and information about available jobs can help you strengthen social media as an outlet for your networking.

Keep in mind that the best networking outlets are those people with whom you have kept in contact with long before you have found yourself needing a job. The more active you are with each of your networks and the contacts therein, the higher the chances are that they will work for you when you need them.

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Use This Networking Resource Before Job Hunting

Many people view networking as something you use when you need a job; however, networking should be a mutually beneficial system of connections that includes, friends, family, people you went to school with, people who share your hobbies, and anyone else you come in contact with. All of these people know people who know people. (You get the picture.) The one networking resource you should use before you ever go job hunting is your connection with people.

4 Ways to Boost Your Networking Resources 

Be There for Your Network Before You Need Them

Whether you realize it or not, you are your best networking resource, and to be successful at networking you have to honestly want to stay connected to others in your network and be willing to help them. The key is showing a real interest in the people in your network, asking about their families, keeping in touch, and offering them both emotional support and information in their time of need will.

By giving of your time and help before you need help finding a job, you will build a strong foundation of people who will be eager to not only give you job leads, but who may well put in a good word for you as well.

Do Some Volunteer Work

When you volunteer, others get to see your work ethic and get to know you on a completely different level. Whether you volunteer at a school, the library, a soup kitchen, or for a community project, you will be meeting new people and allow people to see some of your work ethics and perhaps how you problem solve, as well as how well you work with others. It also shows those in your network that you are willing to give as well as receive.

Pass on Information About Jobs to Others

When you are not looking for a job, you will still hear about jobs that may not be right for you, but are right for others in your network. Share this information with them and if you are in a position to do so, then offer to make an introduction. The more active you are in your network before you need to seek help finding a job, the more people who will be willing to help you.

People Hire and Recommend People They Know and Like

The truth is when it comes to hiring, the people who do the hiring need to be sure that they hire the right people for the job, so they either hire people they personally know and trust, or go the word of others who they trust. Building trust with people in your network and showing them you are someone they can depend on will stand you in good stead when it comes time for you look at taking the next step in your career. When you allow people to really get to know you, build trust with them, because that trust is important when looking for a job.Remember that how you treat others will be your best networking resource when job hunting, so take the time to help build a strong network that benefits everyone.

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Advice for Networking at Career Fairs in NJ (or Anywhere Else)

Job fairs are a great way to learn about jobs that may be available so you can take the next step in your career, since you likely will be meeting the people who actually are in charge of hiring employees. Here is some advice for those networking at career fairs in NJ.

5 Tips for Attending Career Fairs in NJ

Remember that a Career Fair is for Networking, Not for Job Interviewing

One of the biggest mistakes that most people make when attending career fairs in NJ (and anywhere else, for that matter) is that they try to turn the career fair into an interview for a job. Career fairs are a golden opportunity for networking and meeting the people in charge of hiring for any given company. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself to these very important people, tell them a little about yourself and your background, and get their contact information. 

It is your opportunity to make an impression, not to interview for a job. Once the fair is over, you can then contact the person and follow up with a call or email, tell them how much you enjoyed meeting them, and then express your interest in working with their company. If they request your resume, send it along.

Come Prepared

When attending career fairs in NJ, or anywhere else, you need to come prepared to make the best impression possible. Dress well, be personable and confident, and make sure that you have plenty of resumes to leave with the company’s hiring manager. You also need to be prepared to tell your contact who you are and what you do clearly and concisely. Don’t make a speech or be salesy, simply be prepared to present yourself in a professional manner. Preparing a 30-second career fair elevator pitch is key.

Do Your Research in Advance

Most career fairs are a mixed bag, with several companies in several different fields sending representatives. Normally there are a list of companies given out prior to the fair, which gives you the opportunity to discover what companies are in your field and which ones are going to be hiring. Focus your research on these companies and be prepared to show the representatives present that you know about their company and their mission, and that you share that mission. This will help set you apart from other job candidates. Visit the Department of Labor and Workforce Development website in your state, such as New Jersey, to find the upcoming job fairs in your area.

Visit the Booths of Only Those Companies in Your Field

You want the time to introduce yourself to important people in the companies that are in your field, so you need to select and concentrate only on those companies in your field. Don’t feel the need to visit every booth and try and make your skills fit in with a company that is out of your field.

Make Yourself Stand Out

Keep in mind that those company representatives you will be meeting will be meeting hundreds of people in course of the career fair. After a while, all those people blur together, so unless you do something to stand out you’ll have wasted your time because the people you meet will not even remember you. Find some way to make a favorable impression that is different from anyone else, so you will be remembered when you make that follow-up call or send a follow-up email.

By following these tips for networking at career fairs in NJ, you’ll be more successful in taking the next step in your career.