World Wide Web step by step or better to say computer by computer literally sneaked in our homes and covered millions of households around the world. Internet, as we know it today, is basically a unique realm with endless opportunities. But in a variety of choices can it offer something materially useful, something practical and profitable? More specifically, can online connections be beneficial to business and how than to establish them?
1. Business Networking
Networking is the first thing that comes up in mind in relation to any activities that require people’s cooperation. It so widely used in America that rarely there can be a task where it is inapplicable. You can develop a networking community in cases varying from babysitting and hunting clubs to science society and business activities. So why can’t it become a tool or a way to create or simply to enter something that in China would be called guanxi, in Russia “blat”, and an old boy network in the UK. More formal business networks can have members meetings and gatherings with fees and obligations with a purpose of exchanging business leads and referrals with fellow members, whereas more informal communities can occur from situations, when members start to meet at their own free time to discuss some ideas and opportunities. It can further lead to the creation of additional business relationships based on the common interests of particular members of a business network. And that is where Internet steps in and makes everything a lot easier. Business networking websites significantly developed in recent years because of the Internet’s ability to access people around the globe. Such platforms are not only fast in accessibility, but also understandable for international usage. They are suitable both for entrepreneurs and employees. Some fundamental business literature advices networking as a potential way to expand business or as a career opportunity. An important feature of business networking was described by Thomas Power, businessman and chairman of Ecademy, an online business network. He pointed out that the key feature of modern networking is value-based relationships that suppress the old classic hierarchical approaches. Networked businesses are more open, flexible and assisting on the contrary to traditional limited and authoritative rules. Basically, the connections between people are oriented on trust rather than on potential market profit mechanism. People are more likely to deal with you by considering the past experience instead of calculating the profit from possible cooperation. All in all, business networking with an IT support can contain a wide range of potentially profitable acquaintances for business and career.
2. Social Networks
It can’t be more predictable than to use Facebook for obtaining connections. It can’t be more direct than having an account in Facebook for adding friends. What it can be is the prairie of individuals. According to the Statistics Portal, as of the second quarter of 2015, Facebook had 1.49 billion monthly active users. It means that almost any active Internet user created an account and can be accessed online. CEOs, HRs, managers, colleagues, interns, students and so on. Everyone is here! Moreover, no more does anybody abovementioned hesitate to use this website for profit. Facebook at its origins used to be a platform for friends and parties, for sharing photos and fun-chatting among students and youth. Now it is a powerful tool for understanding a person. You might need a responsible and determined intern, willing to study and gain experience or you need a reliable high-qualification specialist, or even a reckless extreme sportsman, now you know where to look for information. It is not only about having a resume, it is about actually seeing the life and the way of thinking of a person. People upload and share a lot of information that is valuable and unavailable during an ordinary job interview in a formal atmosphere. Even if you doubt all the suggested appearance on someone’s page, you understand how this person wants to be perceived by others. However, it is a two-edged sword and should be treated appropriately. Thus, let’s further give a special attention to social network appearance in the context of achieving useful online connections.
3. Your Name Is Your Brand
You can be judged by your online-outlook not only in Facebook. Off course, there are other popular websites and social networks for different purposes and themes. Some specialize precisely on business and working environment. For example, LinkedIn is a platform created directly for business-oriented social networking service. It might by definition be different from Facebook in the purpose of creating account, but still has a common feature as for any other social networking platform – you will be judged by what you have uploaded and what you present. So try to avoid most often mistakes people make on the path of achieving recognition.
Some recruiting experts emphasis on the first impression about the person when accessing her social network page that is made through the stated values and beliefs. 10-minutes surfing of the account can be far more productive than the same period of communication offline. So make sure to accurately separate what is personal and what is public for you. Pay attention to privacy options, especially if you registered long ago and there is a need to clean or hide some compromising content. In order to synchronize personal and corporate accounts, delete the inappropriate photos. But always remain yourself. It doesn’t mean that you can show everyone your negative features of character, but it means to be sincere and trustworthy, because everything deceiving will become obvious in personal meeting.
Become the source of content. By producing useful information in the area of your specialization, you will gather popularity and earn positive reputation among people that are interested and can be your potential clients. To some extent you should “sell” your account and advertise it. New posts should be regularly published and information be kept up-to-dated in order to save people’s interest. Be successful and share your accomplishments. And off course, add people to friends, don’t be shy and express yourself confidently. Basically, you should turn your name into a brand, develop something that people will be associating with you and easily recognizing in your context. The results will not be long to wait for, you will rather quickly notice how social networking opportunities will start providing you visible business or career benefits.
4. Online Courses
Some of the most classical places to create useful connections are universities. For sure there’s a wide range of possibilities to meet friends and make business connections for further life. Well, actually, signing up on a web course, for example at Coursera, will put you in a group of people just like during college times. You will be able to get acquainted and communicate with people even all around the world. But more effective can be the view on such opportunity from another side, which is related to creating your own brand. Not only Facebook offers a variety of opportunities. Youtube has become not less influential in current days. For example, you are sure about your abilities and skills, simply knowing what you’re worth, than teaching can be an excellent idea. Top blogs on different topics gather millions of views and likes. With such a popularity it is almost impossible to be underrated or undervalued, not even saying about being unemployed. It is a challenging task, but definitely high bets will give incredibly high results. But even without reaching a worldwide recognition, getting thousands or even hundreds of views or likes is a serious result that can be a favorable evidence of your qualification. Off course, if it’s not a spot in Fails Compilations… As the old saying goes, teaching improves both the student and the teacher and by conducting a video blog you will polish personal skills and get a grateful audience.
5. Online Games
For some of us it might sound like “Omg, what..?” and there will be reasonable arguments later, but those, who already familiar with the terms The International, LOL World Championship, WGL Grand Final, BlizzCon, Call of Duty Championship, CS:GO than you might know what it is all about. Sport in the US is a huge part of people’s everyday life. The abovementioned tournaments are something alike NFL’s Super Bowl in cybersport without exaggeration. So, in some IT-offices you are totally expected to be aware of such events in order to be in trend. These are only brief conclusions that are obvious, but there’re even special studies on the problem of online gaming as an advantage or disadvantage in terms of work opportunities.
The Wall Street Journal published material relating the real applicant’s stories about their experience of including information in resume about their gaming achievements. For example, 43-years old Heather Neuman mentioned in the resume’s field “Hobbies and interests” her success in WoW. In particular, she was in head of a 500-people guild and organized raids that consisted of 35-50 persons and could last for hours or even days. In the interview to WSJ she said that had a clear understanding about the risk of being incomprehensible to recruiters, but oriented on the demonstration of her leadership and management abilities. Moreover, she applied for a position in a company that dealt with technologies. Thus, she gained the position of the director of Marketing and Communications Department of Michigan University, because, as the dean of the School of Information said, she was familiar with all this “geek’s words” and could easily find common sense with students.
The reaction of recruiters differs. The dominant opinion is that HRs do not intentionally seek for candidates with online experience and consider it mostly in specific cases. Even though such experience can be a starting point for a conversation, recruiters advice to limit mentioning the online gaming interests, so to avoid the impression that you will play games during working hours.
All in all, scientists, like prof. Willam Shreidg of MIT Sloan, state that in complicated multiplayer games cognitive and communicational skills are required just the same as in real life and during games people do not become someone else, but reveal the features they have for a long time. So let your competitive character and leadership abilities online become your career opportunities in real world. Remember that gaming can be not only about fun, but about developing skills for a success.
To crown it all, the five overviewed tips about making profitable online connections for business or career include business networking, accounts in social networks, creation of your own brand and video blog, and even an online gaming experience. Internet world is endless, so these small advices can be rather useful and suit as little lighthouses in a vast digital ocean.