By now, each and every one of us has inhabited two worlds and lived two lives in one lifetime—before the coronavirus and since the coronavirus.

As the world of work goes through the early shudders of seismic change, one thing that will endure is our networks or the orbits of connections we carefully make over time. Now is the time to invest in and maintain these networks.

However, since the world is in lockdown mode for at least a while, social media is where the action must now shift. And although there is no right time to invest in your social media networks, there is no better time than right now.  

So where do you start and how do you begin? Where else but LinkedIn. And how? 

Here’s a set of 10 things you can do to reboot your networking game for now, and also for when you are back in circulation.

1. Upload a captivating new profile picture:  Go over your phone’s photo album and find a profile picture that shows your face clearly and projects your professional personality. A clean background is a must. Pro tip: Don’t repurpose a group picture from a vacation.

2. Headlines matter: Add to or update this space to highlight what you are capable of. Don’t just stop at writing your current job profile; personalize it to showcase your full potential. 

3. Tell your story:  Write a summary to tell your story and build your brand. Make it interesting and personalized. Nothing grabs attention like a well-told tale.

4. Keywords is the key: Recruiters hunt for talent using keywords. Highlight your skills using these—skills, experience, sectors, company brands, recognitions—and make your profile stand out. Avoid overusing keywords though. It will make your profile look spammy and superfluous. 

5. Recommend and be recommended: This is the time to be generous. Write good recommendations for people you know. Show them a draft. People will reciprocate. 

6. Voice a view: LinkedIn is different from your résumé. It’s a social space. Be active on the platform to be perceived as an individual with interests, opinions and a social personality. And respond to your messages, even those that you put off for “when you have time”.

7. Inventory your network: Ask yourself four questions. What unique resources does my network offer? What does my network lack? What opportunities are open to my network system? What threats does my network system face? It’s tempting to want a huge list of connections, but don’t lose sight of quality. If you, like most of us, have been playing the number game and collecting connections, review your network pool for authenticity, relevance and interest.

8. Keep a positive vibe: This is a time to demonstrate your aptitude for creativity and ingenuity. If there’s a ‘hack’ you like or use, talk about it. But, of course, maintain company and client confidentiality at all times.

9. Conversations win contacts: People respond to genuine engagement, and in times such as these, they are more receptive to someone reaching out. Invest time and thoughts in conversations to make professional relationships stronger. Your effort can help you elevate connections into valuable networks. 

10. Play the long game: LinkedIn is so much more than a job hunt platform. Stay active, and in this time of sudden change, you will keep abreast of industry trends, get useful professional tips, and even build a community, all whilst networking from home.

Indu Anand is Associate Director, Curriculum at Harappa Education.

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