While the global lockdown has made networking harder, it is no less essential. Networking could still be the thing that finds you that dream job or that next epic partnership. While we might not be able to meet physically, networking remains a key part of working in any industry.
Before we get into things, let us introduce ourselves. We’re Hitmarker, the largest job platform in gaming and esports, and proud partners of the British Esports Association. We’re going to tell you a few ways you can stay connected digitally during the pandemic.
When it comes to networking, it’s important that it isn’t solely for the benefit of only one of the parties involved. Therefore, when reaching out to new people and building new relationships, you want to prioritise being authentic and transparent. For many people, it can leave a sour taste in their mouths if a person reached out to them under one pretense, when in reality their intention all along was to try to sell them something. This is just one example, but be mindful of making your reasons for connecting clear when speaking to somebody.
With that said, here are some channels you can utilise to stay connected during lockdown.
The first, and possibly most obvious platform to point out, is Twitter. It’s often said that esports lives on Twitter, so having an active account on the platform will help you engage in discussions related to our industry and have access to the people behind it.
But while that’s all well and good, how do you actually network on Twitter? Well, here’s what we believe works.
Building a personal brand is a great way of making new connections. You’ll be visible to the wider community and can converse with your followers who will likely also be involved in the industry.
Building up this individual brand is a whole topic in and of itself, but what to focus on here is sharing engaging content around your interests or specialisms, conversing with other people in your niche (this could be as broad as esports, or a more focused area like esports marketing), and being consistent with your posts. After some time, you’ll start to build followers who enjoy your content and want to see more of it. From there, you’ll be directly communicating with industry members, whether indirectly through comments and replies or directly through DMs.
As a personal success story, one of our team members, Tom, got his job at Hitmarker after going back and forth with our team on Twitter. And while no company can do this for everyone, it’s not the first time we’ve heard this happen. The takeaway from this is that you might be surprised how far a conversation with the right person can get you.
Aim to get involved in the discussions of the industry, be humble, add value to the conversations you engage in, and you’ll begin to grow a network of contacts on Twitter.
No networking article would be complete without mentioning LinkedIn. The business-oriented platform is similar to Twitter, in that it has a very active esports community, but with one key difference: people are on there to do business, so are much easier to approach for networking reasons.
With LinkedIn, you have the incredible ability of being able to visit a company’s profile, hitting the “People” tag, and seeing the profiles of their employees. Want to ask a company’s HR manager a question before applying with them? LinkedIn makes this sort of thing possible.
Like with Twitter, look to add value with the people you connect with. Share updates you think your connections will appreciate and repost good content you enjoy. Take part in industry conversations and you’ll reach more and more people as time goes on.
It’s also important to keep your profile updated, and by this we mean your employment and education history. What’s brilliant about LinkedIn is that it can literally be used as an online CV. A recruiter or hiring manager can view your profile and learn about who you are as a professional. And when that can lead to job offers, the value of a well-presented profile is clear.
If you’re new to LinkedIn and aren’t sure how to begin growing your network, check out this Twitter thread of ours. It’s a place for people to share their LinkedIn profiles and connect with fellow industry members. Everyone on there is looking to meet new people, so don’t feel nervous about connecting with anyone!
Stepping away from social networks for a moment, the next point we want to touch on is online events. Esports was quick to move its events online when COVID first hit – one example being ‘Gamerjibe’. The virtual events platform held a career fair in 2020, and we’ve co-hosted a careers fair with them alongside our partners at the BCGA in 2021.
We’d recommend staying tuned to the Gamerjibe website to see what events they have coming up. While they host more than just careers fairs, there’s lots of good events you can find.
As well as social media networks, you can also make use of online communities to meet new people and build your contact list.
Discord is great for this. We recently launched a Hitmarker Discord server for existing and aspiring industry professionals, so we’d recommend joining us by hitting this link. We have an active community that regularly shares feedback and job-related news — and they’re in the server to meet new people, just like you.
And of course, our Discord server is not the only place to meet fellow industry members. Join the servers of your favorite brands, communities, and teams. Many servers will have introduce-yourself channels, making it easy to say hello and get integrated.
Besides Discord, LinkedIn Groups are also a great way to meet new people in the industry. The Esports Business Group is an active and large community, and there are also groups dedicated to certain professions, like the Esports Marketing Group. Joining communities like these is a great way to open new doors.
By joining and engaging in groups, you’ll naturally form a good rapport with the group’s staff or admins as well as the other contributing members — both of which lead to building that all-important network.
That covers our advice on networking online! Hopefully it’s helped you feel better about growing your industry network, even while we can’t meet in the flesh.
We’re here to help you in your job search, every step of the way.