As professionals navigate the ever-evolving challenges of today’s competitive landscape, a new paradigm is emerging — one that harnesses the immense power of community networking. Gone are the days of isolated career paths and solitary struggles. Now, it’s all about leveraging the collective wisdom and support of a thriving network.
In our recent Community Connect Twitter Space: “Building Stronger Networks for Career Success,” members of the CollabWORK team came together to share their experiences and insights on maximizing the potential of communities for career advancement.
How Online Communities Shape Career Growth
Ashley Soley-Cerro, Recruitment Operations Manager at CollabWORK and a former journalist, values the power of community networking. In her quest to switch careers, she realized how communities could potentially pave the way to new opportunities. Her favorite communities include ‘100 Days of No Code’ and the ‘Society of Human Resources and Management’ (SHRM). From these online platforms, she has expanded her knowledge of HR work and no-code development. She notes that these communities offer a way to expand networking beyond in-person encounters, thereby scaling opportunities exponentially.
Derrick Chiu, Sales & Community Lead at CollabWORK, echoes Ashley’s sentiment. During the pandemic, in mid-2021, he found himself craving deeper ways to connect with others. This led Derrick to discover the power of online communities, sparking his interest in online community building. His community journey started in 2022 with Community Club , a place where community builders congregate to unlock opportunities together. Joining this community allowed him to learn more about community building in a trusted environment. From there, he found Generalist World and eventually landed a role at CollabWORK. His experience demonstrates the immense power of online communities, as he was able to find a role that aligns with his career goals.
Defining Community Networking
To fully grasp the potential of community networking, it’s important to establish a clear understanding of what it means.
Derrick illustrates this concept by sharing his personal journey of transitioning from a sales-focused customer-facing role to becoming a community builder. Since he was new to community building, he decided to join a community management bootcamp run by Commsor. This immersive experience helped him learn from experts in the field and understand hiring best practices from a community-management perspective.
Similarly, Ashley found immense value in upskilling through online resources and communities. She sought out free events and inexpensive groups like SHRM to increase her knowledge about HR rules and regulations rather than going back to school. She emphasizes the potential of online communities for rigorous vetting and knowledge sharing, which can greatly complement traditional networking methods.
Active Participation in Communities
Beyond simply joining a community, Ashley and Derrick believe in the importance of shifting from being a passive consumer to an active contributor. Derrick emphasizes the value of adding to the community by sharing one’s unique experiences and knowledge. Contributing actively helps to build credibility within the community and adds significant weight to one’s professional portfolio.
Ashley stresses that active participation in communities demonstrates commitment to a particular field or interest. Highlighting this participation on a resume shows potential employers a candidate’s passion and dedication, setting them apart from the crowd.
Finding Opportunities Through Community Networking
Derrick’s experience landing a role at CollabWORK perfectly illustrates the power of community networking. By engaging with various communities and taking initiative to connect with individuals in his field, he was able to find an opportunity that aligned with his career goals.
Ashley, familiar with the daunting task of going through hundreds of applications as a hiring manager, sees community networking as a more effective and personalized way of sourcing candidates. The communities on a candidate’s resume can show a level of commitment and expertise that is difficult to convey in a typical application.
They both agree that community networking is a more collaborative and supportive form of networking. Unlike traditional networking, which can often feel like a solo endeavor, community networking fosters a sense of belonging and mutual growth.
Leveraging Communities for Career Advancement
The rise of online communities has also presented career development opportunities for individuals to grow within their current professions.
Ashley notes that she frequently uses communities to stay updated on the latest trends in her field. She engages with the HR community and the no-code community to learn about new regulations, best practices, and tools. For her, these communities are valuable sources of knowledge that keep her skills sharp and relevant.
On the other hand, Derrick shares that being an active member of Community Club and Generalist World helped him establish thought leadership in his field. By consistently contributing valuable insights and resources, he’s been able to build a strong personal brand within these communities. This not only helped him to gain recognition amongst his peers, but it also opened doors for him to lead workshops with influential figures in the community building space. His active participation in these online communities also offered him insights for preparing for a job interview, by getting to know industry expectations and common questions.
The Future of Community Networking
As we look towards the future, it’s clear that community networking is here to stay. It offers a unique way to connect, learn, and grow with others, providing opportunities for both personal and professional advancement. By leveraging the power of community networking, professionals can navigate the complexities of the evolving job market, setting themselves up for continued success in their careers.