Digital Networking: Guide and tips for successful networking


Jagoda Banert working at the desk at OVB
The most important facts about digital networking

reading time: ca. 7 minutes

  • In contrast to classic business networking, digital networking allows you to meet new people and make great contacts anytime and anywhere. A strong network is invaluable, especially when looking for a job.
  • The first step is to create a profile on online platforms and become active. When you connect with the right people, get involved, and cultivate relationships regularly, you benefit from many long-term opportunities.
  • Proper networking means showing your own skills, personality, and initiative. Authentic communication is key.
  • Of course, this doesn't work immediately. Instead of expecting quick results, you need to invest time and be patient. To avoid the typical beginner's mistakes, keep your profile well-maintained. Also, actively engage and use targeted communication, rather than making mass requests.

Networking is no longer limited to face-to-face meetings, events, and trade fairs. Nowadays, digital networking is more than just a trend, it is almost a must in everyday working life: good connections remain a door opener that provide you with many career opportunities. Fortunately, networking can be learnt! Our expert Jagoda Banert gives five important tips and reveals the mistakes you should avoid.

"Nico, I need you!" With this message, Nico becomes aware of OVB for the first time. He works freelance for various production companies and service providers, while also maintaining his appearance in online networks. Through LinkedIn, he is finally contacted by Jagoda, who is looking for promising talents for OVB.

Less than two months later, Nico signs his contract as Communications Manager at OVB. "I thought it was great how personal and quick the process was," he says about his rapid start. "After two phone calls and a Zoom call, the decision was clear to me. The team gave me a good feeling, and Jagoda always sought personal exchange."

This is exactly what Jagoda considers important: "Networking allows job seekers to digitally meet the relevant people in companies and to consider early on: Are these the people I want to work with? Do I want to support the company?"

It is no longer unusual for companies to actively approach potential applicants via business platforms. With a well-maintained online profile, you will not only find new jobs, but also valuable contacts.

That's why digital networking is important

Just a few years ago, it was necessary to attend trade fairs and events to make contacts. This is much easier nowadays.

Social media, forums, and business networks such as LinkedIn allow you to connect with colleagues, business contacts, and industry peers with just a few clicks.

According to LinkedIn statistics, 65 million people use the platform every week to search for jobs. 28 million people use the "OpentoWork" function, and 6 people find a new job every minute.

Many people still avoid proactive networking – either because they don't know how it works or they don't see the benefits.

The fact is: professional networking benefits everyone! It doesn't matter whether you're looking for a new job, starting a business, or employed permanently. Being well-connected is still the be-all and end-all. It provides mutual support, knowledge exchange, cooperations, and career opportunities.

What exactly is digital networking?

Digital networking is a way of getting in touch with other people, exchanging information and maintaining relationships through online platforms and social media.

This allows you to make contacts and network with like-minded people regardless of time and place. You don't have to be present in person.

Digital networking is the modern form of professional networking in which digital media is used to communicate with other people and make new contacts.

This is how you benefit from Digital Networking - chart with resources

Successful networking gives you access to valuable resources, for example:

  • Ideas
  • Knowledge
  • Jobs
  • Cooperations
  • Contacts
  • News and trends from the industry

These are the advantages of digital networking

  • Exchange: Communication with others provides you with expertise, ideas, and inspiration. You can also find potential collaborations and job offers.
  • Support: A network works on a give-and-take basis. Those who support others receive support in return – for example with work-related questions or through recommendations.
  • Reach: Online networks enable you to find useful contacts not only in your immediate vicinity, but worldwide. The pool of potential contacts, resources, and jobs is immense!
  • Efficiency: You can communicate and interact from any place, anytime. There’s no need for travelling or spending a lot of time. Just a few minutes are enough to stay up to date.
  • Influence: A good network enables a wide reach for messages that you want to share or spread. Everyone can post their own news, ideas, or information and make them accessible to others.
Laughing woman networking digitally on her laptop

Networking is not your cup of tea?

The good thing about digital networking is: Unlike face-to-face meetings, you don't have to be a pro at small talk and socialising. It's much easier to present your skills and experience online.

With a good strategy and a little time invested, everyone can succeed!

Step-by-step guide: How digital networking works

Successful networking is not that difficult once you've got started. These are the five most important steps:

  1. Create and maintain your profile
  2. Add contacts
  3. Seek exchange
  4. Stay in touch
  5. Share your knowledge

Note: Networking is not a process that is completed after five steps. Think of it more like a cycle: After step 5, you go back to step 1, refine your profile, find new contacts, and so on.

Digital Networking Step by Step

1. Create and maintain your profile

The first thing you need is an account on the right platforms. This is where you need to overcome your initial reservations and become visible online.

To fill out your profile, you can start with the following data:

  • Basic information and contact details
  • Professional photo for your profile
  • Work experience
  • Education and training

In the future, make sure to update your profile regularly. Add new skills and qualifications. Include work samples. Write about yourself and your goals. This will refine your profile.

Which platforms are suitable?

Business platforms such as LinkedIn are ideal for professional networking.

Social media like X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, or Facebook may also be used in a professional context. Here you can follow relevant people, share content, or join expert groups.

Topic and industry-specific communities and forums are also suitable for professional dialogue. Platforms such as Reddit or Quora allow you to ask questions, discuss with others, and share your knowledge.

2. Add contacts

Search for people you have met during your career or who pursue similar goals and interests.

Even as a career starter, you can make initial contacts. For example, connect with people you know from school or university. Start small and let your professional network grow over time.

Send personal, individual contact requests and explain why you would like to connect with someone. For example, describe your goals and skills or offer (mutual) support.

Tip: Only add contacts who match well, share common interests, and add value to your network. Quality is more important than quantity! It is better to have fewer but high-quality contacts. This makes it easier to keep up with these relationships.

3. Seek exchange

Don't remain passive – participate in communities actively.

Search for relevant groups and forums and take part in discussions. Here you can get involved, ask questions, and make new contacts at the same time.

Platforms often allow you to find and take part in suitable online events and webinars: another chance to meet interesting people and expand your own network.

4. Stay in touch

Adding contacts is one thing. Maintaining them is another.

Examples of how to do this are:

  • Personal follow-up messages
  • Mutual support
  • Recommending contacts, jobs, or resources
  • Sharing professional ideas and advice
  • Offering information
  • Pointing out interesting posts or events
  • Congratulating on special occasions, promotions, or birthdays

Invest time regularly to write and reply to messages. Make sure to post, share, and leave comments.

Think about how you can help your contacts. This will make you a valuable contact for others.

Tip: Set aside a specific time in your schedule, for example once a week, for socialising and active networking. That way you won't forget to keep at it!

5. Share your knowledge

Networking is all about give and take. The more support you offer others, the more you will get back in the long term.

The first question is not "How can others help me?", but "What do I have to give?"

Share your expertise and skills – not only with existing contacts, but also in groups, communities, or publicly in your posts.

This will make other people from the industry aware of you. They might ask you for advice or offer support in return.

It is important to start networking in good time – and not just when you need something or are urgently looking for a job. Think of your network as a sort of insurance policy. You take out insurance before something happens. The same applies to good networking: build up a strong network early on. This way, you’ll have support when you need it in the future!

5 networking tips from our LinkedIn expert

Portrait of Jagoda Banert OVB

Jagoda Banert has been a Recruiting Manager at OVB since 2023. She is active on business platforms and recruits new employees online.

With her extensive networking expertise, she answered our key questions on the topic and gave us the five best tips for new networkers.

"Networking requires a genuine interest in people. We need to understand that we are all connected and can achieve more together than alone. That's the Net part. At the same time, the Work part means that I am proactive. Occasionally, I need to ask myself if my way of communicating with others works well and if I enjoy it. It's important that I stay authentic!"

Jagoda Banert, Recruiting Manager

Here are the most important tips and tricks for building a professional network and attracting recruiters’ attention:

  1. Present your competences correctly. "Use the headline and summary to present your professional goals, experience, and skills. Relevant keywords in your profile will help others find you in search results."
  2. Show who you are as a person. When recruiters are looking for new talent, they don't just focus on technical skills, but also on personality. "Every activity can help me determine the culture match – whether the person fits into our company or not."
  3. Prove your skills. "Collect recommendations from team members or managers to strengthen your credibility. Or add presentations, articles, or videos to your profile that highlight your experience."
  4. Get actively involved. In addition to a complete and up-to-date profile, it is important to show initiative. "For example, follow company profiles or like and comment on posts. Engagement in the industry draws the attention of recruiters and talent scouts to you."
  5. Communicate authentically and individually. "When approaching someone, send a customised message that sparks interest and offers added value for both sides. It's great to point out the mutual match. This demonstrates that you're genuinely interested and have engaged with the person."
"As a recruiter focused on active sourcing, I pay close attention at how well the candidate’s skills and experience match the job requirements. I also consider the professionalism of the online presence and the commitment to the industry. However, this does not mean that only people who are particularly active in the digital world are remembered. I analyse the profile very carefully to understand how the company and the person match. Both a piece of information and its absence tell me something about the person."

Jagoda Banert, Recruiting Manager

Avoid these 3 mistakes when networking digitally

Jagoda shared the three most common networking mistakes and explained how to avoid them.

These three mistakes occur very often:

1. Unprofessional or incomplete profile

2. Lack of personal commitment

3. Messaging contacts in an unfocussed or impersonal manner

You can easily sidestep these pitfalls once you know what to look out for.

"You can avoid mistakes by carefully designing your profile, actively participating in discussions, and building targeted relationships instead of sending random requests. An example: When someone is interested in a job, sometimes the person ends up writing to multiple people in the company, even if they already got a detailed reply to the first message. That looks unprofessional – after all, we also talk to each other internally within the company," says Jagoda. "As a general rule: don't write anything that you wouldn't say in a face-to-face conversation, and don't reach out to people you wouldn't approach personally!"

And what is the future of digital networking?

One thing is clear: the digitalisation of the professional world continues to grow. Digital platforms have become permanent tools for collaboration, job hunting, and networking.

Our networking expert Jagoda is also observing the increased use of artificial intelligence and personalised algorithms. Online events and virtual job fairs are becoming increasingly important as well.

But even in times of AI and automation, nothing can replace personal networking: "I believe that the strongest trend for the future is that we will increasingly appreciate exciting, empathetic, and creative dialogue, within the processes simplified by AI!" After all, there’s one thing artificial intelligence can’t replace: your own personality.

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