Networking Tips for Remote and Hybird Work
Networking is always a challenge when starting a new job. It's even more critical for success in a remote or hybrid workplace.
You’ve finally landed that dream job — and it’s going to involve some (or a lot) of remote work. Maybe it’s your first job, or maybe you just took a position with a new company. Or, like the rest of the world, you and your team have transitioned to working remotely during the pandemic.
Regardless of the reason, you are now tasked with building relationships with co-workers you rarely see in person.
I had to onboard remotely twice during the pandemic. It was a much more challenging experience than starting in person. The first weeks can feel lonely, and it takes time to build the visibility and trust you need to drive projects forward.
That said, I love working remotely. And I’ve learned a few things along the way.
Here’s how you can network effectively in an era of remote and hybrid work:
- Polish your LinkedIn profile
- Schedule virtual coffee meettings
- Engage with professional communities
- Share what your learn
Polish your LinkedIn profile
Your LinkedIn profile isn’t just for finding a job — it’s also your first impression when meeting and networking with colleagues at your new company.
When I worked in person, I rarely checked my colleagues’ LinkedIn profiles. And why would I? We could chat at our desks or run into each other in the office.
After onboarding remotely twice during the pandemic, I can say with certainty that your LinkedIn profile matters more than even your resume. It’s the first place people look to understand who you are and what you’re about.
I use LinkedIn before scheduling meetings with people I haven’t met yet, or during meetings when I encounter someone new, so I can quickly identify their role and what might be important to them.
Here are some tips on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile:
- Write an engaging introduction section that explains your career path, professional interests, and scope of responsibilities
- Update your profile regularly so that it reflects your current role at the company, key successes and projects, and relevant skills
- Make a great first impression with your LinkedIn headshot — it doesn’t need to be fancy but make sure your face is clearly visible
If you’re looking for more tips, I suggest browsing this comprehensive LinkedIn profile writing guide from the team at Jobscan.
Schedule virtual coffee meetings
When you first join a company, schedule 1:1 meetings with various stakeholders. I treat these like informal coffee chats and use them as an opportunity to learn about what people are working on, what their priorities are, and how I might work with them on shared goals.
Be proactive about introductions – don’t wait for others to introduce themselves. You should focus on meeting with your peers just as much, or maybe more, than meeting with different leaders.
Your goal here is to make sure that people know who you are and what your role is at the company. This helps build relationships early on so that when there are opportunities for collaboration or mentorship later down the road, there will already be a foundation of trust between you and other members of your team.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and share ideas! Starting a new role is an exciting time to learn. And most people enjoy being consulted as experts in their areas and are willing to share what they know.
Once you’ve established a relationship with someone, it’s important to keep up the communication even when you aren’t working together. Connect over Slack or Teams by sharing interesting articles or news, checking in on how they are doing, or chatting about shared interests.
One of the best things you can do is recognize when someone else is doing something great. Send an email thanking them for their work and letting them know how much you appreciate what they did — especially if it wasn’t necessarily part of their job description. If you’re announcing a major event to your team via Slack or Teams, make sure to tag and thank them in the post.
Engage with professional communities
The rise of professional communities on Slack, Teams, Discord, and other platforms has created many opportunities to connect with other professionals.
Find out where your colleagues hang out online and join their communities. Personally, I use the Product Marketing Alliance (PMA) Slack group as a way to read about product marketing topics, ask questions, and connect with other professionals by answering questions when I can.
Seek opportunities to attend or present at conferences. These are great opportunities to meet other professionals face-to-face and share experiences. They can even be a great way to network with your team or other people at your company if you can attend as a group.
Share what you learn
Even though I worked as a content marketer and social media manager for several years, I’ve always been a bit shy when it comes to writing on my blog or using my social media profiles.
After starting two remote roles, I now recognize the importance of creating and sharing valuable content in a remote and hybrid work environment. It’s a way to build reputation and network within your organization just as much as it’s a way to network outside your company.
Be active on social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter. Or even better, start a blog, publish a newsletter, or create videos. The goal is to get your voice out in public and get your ideas in front of your co-workers regularly.
Sharing what you learn in public is a great way to build your reputation and connect with people who might share some of your interests. The more people see your name associated with valuable content, the more likely they are to trust you as an expert and reach out when they have questions or need advice from someone with your background.
At first, don’t spend time worrying about having a unique angle, beat, or perspective. Just start and tweak as you go. If you’re not sure what to write about, try one of these prompts to get started:
- Today I learned how to…
- My favorite tools for X are…
- I was thinking about…
The last prompt is actually how this post started. I was thinking about how to better network while onboarding into my new role and decided to write this blog post as a way of teaching myself the best way to get started.
Finally, be patient with yourself (and with others). Starting a new job is exciting, and you want to get going right away. Building new relationships takes time, and it’s going to feel lonely at first. If you work remotely, you will have to be ok leading your learning, networking, and career building.
On the flip side, it is also empowering. Remote and hybrid work environments offer greater flexibility, work-life balance, and autonomy. I love taking a few minutes to grab a cup of coffee from my kitchen, pet my rabbits, and take in the view of my neighborhood rather than the concrete downtown streets before heading back to work.
Please let me know what you think on Twitter or LinkedIn. Thanks for reading!