My name is Tara MacDonald. I’m a Canadian writer and communications specialist with a background in International Development. While I grew up in Canada, I’ve worked, lived and traveled around the world. These days, I’m based in Austria.
Living and working abroad presents unique networking challenges. In this post, we’ll look at some of the tools that I use to assist my professional development and online networking strategy.
Online Networking Tools
LinkedIn: With more than 350 million users, LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site in the world. It’s easy to use and basic membership is free. Creating a LinkedIn profile, joining industry sector groups and participating in discussions enables you to access knowledge, insights and opportunities at the click of a button.
Facebook: A great way to keep in touch with friends and family, Facebook is easy to use, makes uploading and sharing photos a snap, and it has built in chat and email functions. Today Facebook boasts more than 1.35 billion users. That means if Facebook were a country, it would be the most populous nation on earth!
Twitter: Networking starts with finding the right people. Twitter can help you find, monitor and interact with key influencers in the areas you’re most interested in. The search and #hashtag features allow you to zone in on local news, events and the conversations that are most relevant to you.
Skype: Wherever you are, you can use Skype for calling, video chatting, group calls, conferencing, messaging and information-sharing with others for free! You can also make Skype to landlines calls although for that you need to provide your credit card information and pay a small fee. For convenience, connect Skype to Facebook and on various mobile devices.
InterNations: Internations is the leading networking site and local guide for expats in 390 cities worldwide. Locate and connect with fellow expatriates at social or professional events and get valuable tips and advice for living, finding a job and doing business in a foreign country.
Algonquin College: Algonquin College helps you develop your professional skills by offering a wide range of online learning topics available through full- or part-time study. Use the blackboard to introduce yourself to instructors and fellow classmates and the discussion board to ask questions and share your thoughts.
In recent months, I’ve been very busy with online classes and preparing to launch my consulting business. As a result, my activities have been confined to education-related networking, creating a listening strategy and building a list of potential clients. Next steps will include the following activities:
- Update networking profiles with recent photos and account information;
- Introduce myself to fellow classmates and invite them to connect via LinkedIn;
- Review networking invitations, thank contacts for endorsements and introduce myself to new contacts;
- Evaluate my listening, monitoring and engagement strategies for ways to improve efficiency;
- Further develop my consulting website and begin implementing my social media plan;
- Research local networking opportunities, make a list of important events and key influencers and establish a list of goals and potential outcomes for each event;
- Create a spreadsheet to keep track of networking contacts, events, goals, outcomes, etc.;
- Balance office work with outside activities, including social and networking events.
Do you have something to add?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about networking abroad.
Please comment below!
Want to learn more?
This post was written as a requirement for COM0015: Applied Social Media in Business. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Algonquin College’s Social Media Certificate programme today!