Even during the pandemic and social distancing, networking is vital for advancing one’s career, developing essential skills, and making important connections. However, without the in-person social gatherings like mixers, conferences, and meetings, everyone has been forced to learn how to network virtually.

It’s time to go beyond the Facebook groups to network during the global health crisis. It’s time to start using technology to grow and build relationships.

Attend Virtual Networking Events
Virtual networking isn’t exactly new, but it has become dominant in the past few months. Finding virtual events is easy with apps like MeetUp or websites like LinkedIn. Many organizations have also started shifting their networking events to an online environment, making it easy for people to keep connecting.

Don’t forget to use the same rules as in-person events. Be ready with conversation topics, an elevator pitch to make it easy for people to connect, and contact information. It’s also important to follow up with the people who made an impression to continue building those critical relationships.

Develop Skills with Online Courses or Podcasts
Professional development might be even more critical than it used to be because companies are looking for those with diverse skill sets. Online courses are a great way to learn new skills while also connecting with others interested in learning the same thing. Many online courses have Facebook groups or other means to connect with different members. It also creates an easy way to connect with industry leaders who are teaching on these topics.

However, to grow one’s network, it is also essential to contribute information to become a thought leader. Many people who are trying to develop their networks are building their own online courses on platforms like Udemy or SkillShare. Their students connect to ask questions and to create connections. Podcasts are also a great way to help promote the knowledge within their network.

Build Online Communities
Many organizations are focused on connecting online these days to discuss industry changes or developments. To find online communities, a simple Google search can provide the top places to connect with others worldwide. Facebook and LinkedIn are also prime places to participate in more targeted networking.