How to Network Online When You're Working Remotely
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How To Network From Literally Anywhere

Most of us cringe at the thought of getting dressed up in professional clothing and heading off to an "industry mixer." Instead, why don’t you do it from your couch? (No, seriously.)

Networking can be a real bear. Figuratively and literally, it can be like a tooth-bearing, snarling type of creature that you just want to run from. It’s not news: networking often feels intimidating and overwhelming.

Now add the fact that you'll probably be living out of your suitcase, or just simply residing in a small town where there are more cows than people (been there). Connecting’s hard enough to do in big cities where conferences and networking events are conveniently located. It can absolutely be challenging to pinpoint the most effective way to meet the right people.

But there are genuine (and secretly kind of easy) ways to network from literally anywhere. You’ll gain some insight from others without feeling overwhelmed or bothersome. You might actually enjoy it too.

GET INVOLVED WITH A CAUSE

Philanthropy is an important aspect of adulthood so if you haven’t got on board yet, go out and track down a cause you truly care about. You don’t have to be in a huge city to find something worthwhile. There are plenty of clubs and organizations in your local community that could potentially connect you with someone who could launch your career, or just give you advice on what you can work on to reach your goals.

Even if you're not currently looking for a new position, [informational interviews] can be a great way to learn about a new industry or get some questions answered that your current position isn't addressing.

Simultaneously working hard to better your community and improving yourself just may be the key you need to open up a whole new world of possibilities. 

CONTRIBUTE OR DO FREELANCE WORK

Find an online source or company that you find interesting and consider doing freelance or writing contribution work. You don’t necessarily have to get paid to build meaningful relationships. {click to tweet} The Internet makes it a piece of cake to find an online community and it could be a great way to meet other professionals in your field that are also supplementing some of their time with a hobby.

ATTEND A TOWN MEETING OR PROFESSIONAL CLUB

Small towns often have professional meetings or clubs regarding politics, community service, events, and leadership. Take a step out of your comfort zone and attend these meetings. Not only will you rub elbows with influential people in your community, but you will most likely have the chance to build your skillset. You never know whom you'll meet at these things.

INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS

One of the best (and my favorite) ways to connect with professionals in an authentic way is through an informational interview. Anyone is up for a casual conversation with no strings attached so it is the perfect way to pick someone’s brain without being overly forward. Obviously, don’t abuse this time by bluntly asking for a job, but if done correctly it can lead to an interview, a new promising contact or at least bullet points to work on. 

Working abroad or constantly traveling can make it tough to locate professionals willing to connect with you. 

Although they may seem daunting and unnecessary they can lead to great success. Some people get their foot in the door at their dream companies, score an interview or just learn important takeaways that contribute positively to their personal careers. The success rate can be quite high and even if you're not currently looking for a new position, it can be a great way to learn about a new industry or get some questions answered that your current position isn't addressing.

LONG-DISTANCE MENTORSHIP

If you’re living somewhere without much access to the sorts of professionals you’d like to know, you may run up against some frustrating limitations. This year, Career Contessa launched Hire an Expert, a platform specifically designed to help you get instant access to women in many fields. Talk to a woman at Nasty Gal about how to break into fashion and retail. Or maybe you’re interested in technology? There’s a recruiter from Facebook, too.

COMMUNAL WORKSPACES

Working abroad or constantly traveling can make it tough to locate professionals willing to connect with you. These workspaces are genius ways to meet other professionals in a more casual setting. They have been known to increase productivity and who doesn’t want to meet a like-minded individual to compare notes and share stories with? It’s important to go out and forge your own meaningful relationships, and this is a tool that makes it just a bit easier.

SOCIAL MEDIA

At your fingertips and with a simple click of a button you can follow your dream companies and inspiring professionals. Of course, always be sure to keep your social media professional, but don’t be scared to Tweet your role model or connect with an inspiring leader on LinkedIn. There have been stories where people have gotten their dream jobs by simply utilizing social media effectively. Link your current portfolio to all of your channels and post current articles about your field. Being on the up and up can be a great way to connect in an unsuspecting way. We are long past the days of traditional snail mail. Cyberspace is the perfect way to stay connected no matter where you are in the world.

What techniques/ tools/ methods have you found most helpful when networking?