September 11, 2020

How to (Virtually) Network & Achieve Results



virtual network zoom meeting

It’s no secret: we are living in a virtual world. Firm handshakes, passing out business cards, and a room full of industry professionals sharing hors d'oeuvres have inevitably become things of the past for the foreseeable future. The upside? Physical location no longer limits us. The opportunities are still there; connecting from the comfort of your own couch allows for new potential to make lasting relationships with other professionals in your field.

Making Connections: LinkedIn & Beyond

LinkedIn has quickly become everyone's new best friend, and for very good reason. The virtual channels of connection are heightened in this day and age, making every click, tap and send on a keyboard more important than ever. 

Networking can also happen in less obvious ways and places. For example, Meetup, Reddit and even your favorite social platforms. Although we aren’t suggesting reaching out to a potential employer on their personal Instagram,  making connections in a less overt or untraditional manner can often lead to positive results. 

The Follow Through: Hitting the “connect” button on LinkedIn may seem like enough of an introduction, but to potential employers, collaborators and connections, it’s not enough. We suggest writing a personalized message to every connection you make. Tell them why you’re interested in linking up, who it is you are, and how the relationship could be of mutual benefit. Think about it this way: connecting is like sharing a brief handshake at an event, following up with a personal message is like introducing yourself, your brand and your goals. They work in tandem to allow you to put your best foot forward. 

Although LinkedIn is great, we want to remind you to put yourself out there in other virtual spaces. Attending virtual events such as conferences, info sessions, career fairs, and project demonstrations allows you to show interest and show up for the people and things you care about. 

Revamp Your Resume: As you begin the job search for new positions, it is very important to have an updated and tailored resume specific to the role that you are applying for within the industry. To give yourself a competitive edge over the hundreds of other candidates, it is highly recommended to have a professional resume writer review and edit your resume. This is especially important if you’re seeking job titles or industries you haven’t worked in before. 

Reaching Out to Potential Employers

See a job you like? Here are our best tips for showing up as the ideal candidate, even if it is through a screen. 

Show Genuine Interest: Don’t just apply; reach out to the hiring manager and highlight any mutual connections you have with the company. Giving them reasons for what your interest in the position is, asking introductory questions and getting the conversation started are all ways to make an impression. 

Cover Letter Magic: Cover letters compliment your resume and showcase your qualifications in relation to the position, why you are interested in working for the company, and your competitive skill set. Cover letters are a fantastic way for you to show your personality to employers. We recommend using your own voice to write your cover letter, tell your own story and don’t just plug in a role title and vaguely express interest. Although it may sound cliche, just be yourself.

Indeed says it best when discussing the power of cover letters:

Don’t be afraid to inject some humor, charisma and creativity – as long as it’s appropriate for the specific job and company. Hiring managers don’t want to read a novel, but they are looking for something that catches (and keeps!) their attention. 

You Landed an Interview? Congrats! Now what's next...

Although most interviews these days are happening remotely, we recommend still following the same in-person playbook. 

Dress accordingly: Even if you do spend most of your time in loungewear these days, interviews are an exception to that rule! Dress as if you were meeting your future employer in person. Donning your favorite business casual getup will help you feel confident.

Ask questions: In many cases, the standard question-and-answer interview format has been reworked. Many employers are looking for the potential hire to come with questions to ask them and reimagine the interview process. Why? It shows initiative; by entering the call with some carefully prepared questions to ask, you are showing that you have researched the company and have genuine interest in the position.

We said it before & we’ll say it again: follow through!

A good rule of thumb is the 1-hour and 1-week rule. Reach out one hour after the interview to thank the interviewer for their time, express your excitement for continuing the hiring process, and graciously leave them be. There is a fine line between being too eager and too aloof. The next step? Reach out to your interviewer one week post-interview, that is, if you haven’t heard anything yet. Odds are, your interviewer has been busy in the hiring process and interviewing dozens of applicants. Remember: a professional relationship is more than just a ‘connection’ -- it is a relationship that requires time, effort and intentionality. Don’t let that deter you from reaching out! Employers want to see commitment, bold moves and genuine interest

Skill Up with The Resume Queen

About The Resume Queen: She is a professional resume writer with experience in reviewing and editing hundreds of resumes, along with a master's degree from New York University in Educational Leadership, and a genuine passion for helping professionals with carefully tailored resumes and cover letters to industry-specific requirements.

We’ve learned to adapt to working remotely during this new era of the coronavirus. There is a lot of uncertainty about how the world will change post-COVID, but it’s highly unlikely that things will return back to the way things used to be in the workplace. I’ve spoken with many recruiters and hiring managers who’ve described this pandemic as the “The New Normal” while they strategize and adapt their hiring practices to our new reality. One thing is for certain, the workplaces are likely to shift, and in turn, the skills and qualities companies will require. The skills and qualities that you highlight on your resume and cover letter are critical in order to increase the likelihood that a recruiter will take notice and offer an interview opportunity in the current digital age. 

Here are a few critical skills to learn and include in your resume to prepare yourself for a post-coronavirus world: 

Tech Skills

The world is moving in a rapidly digital direction, with industry experts predicting an upcoming historic boom in tech jobs. Learning digital skills is no longer an option, but rather, a necessity. In order to stay relevant in the coming job markets, digital skills will be essential to your hiring potential. The truth is that access to digital skills accelerators and remote education has never been easier. 

Acquiring technology skills is one of the best ways to ensure you are positioned for success in the “new normal”. The pandemic is accelerating digital transformations within businesses as they aim to become more resilient to future disruptions and outbreaks. Microsoft executives predict that by the year 2025, there will be 149M new digital tech jobs. Technologies such as big data, advanced robotics, software development, autonomous transport, machine learning (ML), biotechnology, virtual reality, genomics, and artificial intelligence (AI) will position businesses to become more resilient to pandemics in the future and any candidate who highlights these critical skills on their resume and cover letter will be in an advantageous position. So, whether you are currently working at an office job or in a warehouse factory, you will need to be comfortable with technology tools and be able to utilize them effectively. 

Coding and Digital Skills

Companies’ are in the midst of digital transformations across the world. They are disrupting brick and mortar businesses and reimagining workplace office spaces and operations; therefore, candidates with competitive digital skills including digital marketing, web advertisement and development, and coding, will become even more in demand than ever before. Companies like Salesforce, Shopify, Amazon, Twitter, and Slack who can pivot and shift their businesses to long-term remote digital work while operating during pandemics that would make other in-person businesses difficult and inefficient to operate, are companies that candidates should submit their resume and cover letter. Luckily, the majority of businesses are digitally based in one way or another, so the opportunities to refine your digital skills are limitless! Trying an online course in one of these skills is a great way to boost your hiring potential and show future employers that you are committed to and capable of adapting. 

Become a Lifelong Learner

The best way to continue to progress in your career whether you are a recently graduated student in the beginning of your career or have extensive years of experience, is to commit to a lifetime of continuously improving and learning. Improving your competitive skills is easier than you think! There are endless, easy to navigate and affordable resources available online that will greatly improve your skill set. Not everyone has the free time and financial resources to dedicate years of studying for a degree; however, the courses, guides, and tutorials in these subjects are right at your fingertips where you can learn from your home, at your own pace and on your terms.

Now that you’ve worked so diligently on acquiring these new skills, you’ll want to integrate them into your cover letter and your resume. I always recommend working with a professional resume writer to review your resume in order to ensure your resume is professionally reviewed, edited, formatted, and ATS-optimized. This ensures that your application is viewed by the actual decision makers who schedule job interviews. 

Feel free to reach out to The Resume Queen on Instagram or Fiverr at TheResumeQueen1 to learn how you can get started with your digital resume and cover letter today!

We recognize that job hunting, interviewing and networking through a screen is a new experience for all of us. We are here to help you adapt and change with the word around us and put your best (virtual) foot forward! 

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