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Your guide to networking online

It's not a new idea: the concept of career networking has been around for decades. However, in this digital age it is now easier than ever to meet the movers and shakers in your industry. Whether you're looking for a new role or just to develop within your existing one, networking online can reap huge rewards.

The aim of networking online

The aim of networking online ultimately depends on your career aims. If you want to build your reputation within your current role, your aim could be to meet influential thinkers and thought leaders in your industry.

If you want to change careers, the hiring managers of rival companies are great people to connect with.

If you're a freelancer or if you're self-employed, the aim of your online networking might be to attract potential clients and customers.

How to network online

One of the quickest and easiest ways to network online is to sign up to a site like LinkedIn. Here you can connect with past and present colleagues, industry contacts, recruiters and other useful industry figures. You can also join industry or interest groups, list your skills, post your CV, participate in discussions, ask and answer questions and more.

It's a good idea to become a regular reader of industry blogs and websites. Once you're confident in your knowledge of industry developments, begin to leave insightful comments. You'll soon build up a reputation as an expert among regular readers. You may also spark debates, further questions and discussions - all of which can help get your name out there among useful contacts.

A slightly more traditional method of networking online is to drop an email to someone in a company or organisation that you would like to work for. Send through your CV and a strong cover letter introducing yourself, your skills and your experience. Make it memorable and you'll be first on their contact list when a vacancy arises.

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