The digital realm is dynamic, and emerging technologies are reshaping how we connect and collaborate. Individuals must learn to embrace these changes by exploring new platforms, refining their digital presence, or leveraging the latest networking innovations.
Aida Noor, a transformational career advisor and thought leader in the future of education and work, has had a multifaceted career journey that pivoted her into exploring writing and speaking.
As the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Noor had some career decisions to make and reflect on, leading her to write her book Creating Your Dream Career Beyond Job Applications: Navigating the Future of Work in the Post-Pandemic World, exploring strategies she had used for effective networking.
“Success is not solely about degrees or certifications; it’s about a commitment to continuous learning, adaptation, and personal and professional growth. I’ve taken the challenging path of self-discovery, which has allowed me to achieve my career goals and become a thought leader and expert in my field,” says Noor.
The power of digital platforms like LinkedIn to connect with professionals worldwide cannot be undermined as a means to build and nurture networks and relationships online. In the ever-evolving digital era that the world is witnessing, Noor outlines some ways to network:
With abundant webinars, virtual conferences, talks, and online industry events, professionals can now network globally from the comfort of their homes.
Online communities: Specialized online communities and forums related to one’s field provide platforms to connect with like-minded individuals, exchange ideas, and build meaningful relationships.
Social media networking: Beyond LinkedIn, platforms like X, Instagram, and even TikTok have become valuable tools for networking and showcasing your expertise.
Professional development platforms: Websites dedicated to skills development and certifications, such as Coursera and LinkedIn Learning, offer opportunities to connect with professionals on a similar learning journey.
Niche networking apps: Industry-specific networking apps are on the rise, connecting professionals with similar interests or career goals.
“The choice of networking methods depends on your specific goals and interests, and networking requires regular updating and adaptation. These digital tools empower professionals to network more effectively, expand their reach, and engage with peers and mentors across the globe, contributing to their career growth and development,” says Noor.
BLENDING OLD WITH NEW
While LinkedIn and other digital formats are valuable tools, other avenues exist for effective networking. In-person networking remains equally essential.
“Meeting face-to-face allows for deeper, more meaningful connections by reading nonverbal cues and establishing trust quickly. You can never underestimate the power of human engagement,” she says.
A holistic approach to achieving the most effective networking is the way to go. This includes combining in-person networking with digital networking and online communities.
“Networking’s importance transcends digital boundaries, ensuring a well-rounded approach to career progression. Human engagement can make a significant difference, giving you the edge compared to an email or a message. It is a commitment.”
Digital networking offers the opportunity to achieve global reach and is convenient as it fits busy schedules and brings events and discussions.
Access to resources becomes easier, as professionals can easily access valuable insights and knowledge-sharing.
Additionally, digital networking invites a more diverse group of people from different backgrounds and industries into your connection circle.
Although, it can be tiring to be on social media and behind a screen all the time, leading to virtual fatigue. Noor reiterates the importance of a balanced approach between digital and in-person interactions to combat this. It can also be challenging to feel an authentic and genuine connection via digital communication, and it can sometimes be viewed as transactional. The abundance of information online can also prove difficult when filtering what to focus on and what is most relevant to your career goals.
“Navigating these challenges while leveraging the benefits of digitization is crucial for successful networking in the digital age,” says Noor.