Online networking is essential for today’s accounting and finance job seekers to be successful in your search. No matter where you are on your career path, networking is a vital part of securing the perfect position.
As you begin to network online, the idea might initially seem like a mountain-sized endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be a big deal. According to the Harvard Business Review Guide to Networking, you can achieve online networking if you focus on three key areas: Reputation, specialization, and network position.
Build into Your Online Reputation
The big idea in your online reputation is to become a known or a go-to source for information within your industry, and to get others to act on your ideas. This can be achieved with consistent status updates on social networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter.
“You need to give to the social networking communities, participate in group discussions, share expertise, point someone to an article. You have to work it. While it can feel uncomfortable putting yourself out there, if you’re looking for a job, it’s not the time to be timid,” advises Helene Cavalli, vice president of marketing at talent development consulting firm Lee Hecht Harrison.
Share links to articles relevant to your industry, noteworthy news items, as well as updates your colleagues, peers, and even recruiters would find valuable. Keep your updates focused on smart information, and your network will begin to grow as people share your updates.
Focus on Your Specialty
Begin to seek thought leaders within your industry, and follow them online. Don’t be afraid to focus on a niche area. If you want a career in tax accounting, for example, look for opportunities to follow leaders within that industry.
Be sure to highlight your specialization within your LinkedIn and online profiles. It is your opportunity to share more ‘career’ type information to provide background, and context into your specialty, especially on a business-focused social network such as LinkedIn.
Grow Your Network Position
To be seen as a connector of people can be an excellent way to grow your network. Look for ways to refer a colleague, or make a point to introduce your connections to each other whenever it feels appropriate. Don’t force introductions between your connections. If you keep them natural, soon you’ll get reciprocal introductions as well.
Mentor younger professionals, or volunteer to be a helpful resource to someone higher up the networking chain can positively affect your network position, and your reputation.
Start Small and Grow from There
Choose a couple of online networking role models to follow on social media. Get ideas from them, watch what they do online, and model your efforts on how they interact with their followers.
Smart online networking takes time and effort, but you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Eventually you will become more comfortable and confident, and you will begin to reap the benefits of you efforts.
This article originally appeared on Clear Focus Financial Search.