The email from a career portal is in the mailbox: «Martina Müller has given a new job title. Congratulations on her new position. ” Martina Müller? Who was that again?
Quality instead of quantity
XING, Stepstone, LinkedIn – career networks have been established in recent years. There, users can make professional contacts that will help them advance in their jobs. Anyone who randomly adds former schoolmates, fellow students, work colleagues or experts will quickly lose track of things. But how does meaningful online networking work? Basically: “The quality of the contacts counts more than the quantity. Having only a large number of contacts that you don’t really have anything to do with can also become a burden, ”says Doris Brenner, career coach and author of the book“ Networking in the Job ”. But you don’t necessarily have to know contacts personally. People from your own industry in particular can be interesting.
This is how the contact should look like
In the best-case scenario, there is a hook for establishing contact – a joint event or a recommendation from a friend. “You then use the tag to initiate the contact request and briefly describe what you want from others or what advantages you have to offer others,” explains Andreas Lutz, board member of the VGSD independent association and author of the book “Practice book of Networking”. Basically, the first contact should be kept short. If you write to busy people, you immediately provide all the necessary information. Then the other can decide whether and how he would like to pursue the contact. Lutz recommends that you share your own contact details – that makes communication easier.
It can also be worth making contact with school friends or old acquaintances. “If there are professional points of contact, then you should fall back on such contacts. As a rule, access to the person is easier to establish than with other contacts, ”says Brenner.
Important: a complete and well-maintained profile
If you get a request yourself and don’t know the person at first glance, you should first check the profile. Martina Haas, who wrote the book «Crash Course Networking», thinks you should definitely respond to a request with an individual accompanying text. It is relevant to whom interested parties are networked. The network expert has established that most people overlook the “contacts of contacts”. If someone asks without a profile photo or with a sketchy profile, this is a no-go. Such a request should only be accepted if there is a valid reason.
Online networking is only successful if working people maintain their personal side. “If you don’t keep your profile up-to-date, you’re doing yourself a disservice – especially as the trend is increasing for employers to make contact with potential new employees via social networks as part of what is known as active sourcing,” says Brenner. It is just as important to constantly expand your personal network. But: not haphazardly, but purposefully. And that regardless of whether a specific benefit is in prospect, says Martina Haas. Her recommendation: Working people should generally position themselves broadly – and develop specific networks for special topics.