Connect (better) digitally in a Covid-19 era

On Friday 6 November, the New Career Platform in collaboration with Circumspecte organised a very essential workshop for the Covid-19 era in which we are currently finding ourselves. Although in-person meetings are slowly returning, digital interactions have increased and will continue to play a major role in professional scenes. Therefore, digital skills are an irreplaceable asset for students, graduates and young professionals in order to grow their career. How can you foster these skills and use them to network online? The workshop ‘Digital skills: Networking online in during a Covid-19 Era’ provided many insights!

The online training was led by Jemila Abdulai: she is an economist, digital educator, bilingual (ENG-FR) strategic communications and policy consultant, and the creator of Circumspecte.com. The workshop was kicked off by a simple question, “what is networking?”. Circumspecte embraces the following definition of networking: “Nurturing social and professional connections into relationships”. This definition provided the foundation for the workshop, as it embraces the notion of identifying connections that are valuable both ways. By acknowledging this, you invest in your network in the long-term and turn them into lasting relationships. This moves beyond the quick interactions such as exchanging business cards, the workshop tried to foster a solid and long-term focus for networking. By taking your time to grow your network, it will both support your career as well the ones surrounding you.

You cannot grow in your career without networking offline and online. Networking through industry events or chats at the watercooler in your office will stay an important way to exchange information and build relationships. However, this workshop focused on the online networking and how to do it right, by keeping up with the ‘netiquette’ – the etiquette on the worldwide net. Jemila shared a few key principles to start of the right way: it’s important to offer value and be authentic. Staying true to who you are and what you stand for can be a fruitful common ground for networking. Offering value can be done by crafting a personal message. For example, you can share an article with someone that connects to the person’s work field. By sharing the article and adding your thoughts on it, you invite the other person to interact with you and share his/her opinion on the matter. This will foster a quality connection, as you are gathering similar interest points and focus on common values.

You don’t have to start your networking too far from home, Jemila emphasized that nurturing your existing relationships can be a fruitful start. Pay attention to what the people around you share on their platforms and find a way to meaningful connect to it. Social media platforms are important tools to get your networking going, be mindful of how you present yourself and what you share where. LinkedIn is one of the most popular platforms to engage professionally. Jemila shared that the key for LinkedIn is to ‘share relevant, valuable content and perspectives while telling a story’. Engage in relevant conversations while giving some insight in your take on it. This will nurture your online connections while offering value and staying true to yourself. Jemila encouraged everyone to take a look at their LinkedIn summary, as many people don’t use it to distinguish themselves. Focus on the keywords relevant to your brand in order to stand out in the crowd!

Do you also want to upgrade your digital skills? Circumspecte offers various online training(s) to get you started. Keep an eye on the New Career Platform for the next training on entrepreneurship or your professional career