Even when in-person networking events are scarce, you can still mingle with online networking.

Hobnobbing at networking events has always been an effective way to make connections that can lead to a new job. At the same time, even when opportunities for in-person networking present themselves, many people are now reluctant to mingle with others.

You can still network online, though. Now is the perfect time to update online profiles, make new connections, and find ways to meet people in your city or industry without shaking hands.

If you’re ready to get back to networking without in-person contact, here are five ways to use your laptop, tablet, or phone to make connections that may lead to a job.

1. Update LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the best online professional networking tools available. Employers often ask for a link to your LinkedIn profile when you apply online, so make sure your profile, work history, and accomplishments are up-to-date.

Consider upgrading to LinkedIn Premium to improve messaging and search capabilities. Also, let recruiters know you’re open to job opportunities, set up job alerts with preferences or targeting specific companies, and search for jobs on LinkedIn regularly.

Does the photo on your LinkedIn profile convey professionalism or does your beach hair and sunglasses make you look like a slacker who calls in sick on Mondays and Fridays? A professional photo on your LinkedIn page goes a long way toward getting potential employers to take you seriously.

Find out: 3 Simple Steps to Get Hired

2. Join industry Facebook groups

You can find a Facebook group – or multiple groups – for just about any industry or profession. Once you join, introduce yourself to other members with a short message. Facebook groups for professionals in the same industry are excellent venues for asking questions, commenting on other members’ posts, and offering friendly tips and advice.

You might also learn about employment opportunities or hear from others what it’s like to work for a company where you’re thinking about applying.

Find out: How to Spot Fake Job Listings Posted by Cyber Criminals

3. Stay active on social media

Don’t let your Instagram and Twitter accounts go to waste. Make a point of ramping up the number of people, companies, and organizations you follow. Increase your own number of followers by posting photos or links to interesting articles along with a brief or thoughtful commentary.

Interview training site Big Interview recommends using Twitter hashtags such as #jobs or #careers or for a specific industry such as #marketing or #TechJobs to find job leads and other opportunities.

Find out: Don’t Let Debt Keep You Chained to a Job You Hate

4. Join an online community

Search online for other professional networks and join at least one professional community that could be helpful to your job search or career. For example, you might join a professional association to gain access to forums, webinars, industry news, and job listings.

You’ll also find plenty of industry and professional networking groups on LinkedIn. If you have a LinkedIn profile, go to the search box and type in your profession and “group” to get a list of relevant LinkedIn groups. Or simply place your cursor in the search box and select “groups” from the dropbox to receive a long list.

Find out: Social Media Do’s and Don’ts for a Job Search

5. Sign up for e-newsletters

Find out who the movers and shakers are in your profession and sign up for their email list. You may gain valuable insight into your industry that you can use to find a job or impress a recruiter during an interview.

Search for websites that compile a daily or weekly list of job opportunities in your field and sign up for their email distribution lists. Many include career advice or job search strategies along with listing job opportunities each week.

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

Published by Debt.com, LLC