As people continue working from home and refrain from attending in-person events, it can be hard to stay connected and build your network. Thankfully, we live in a virtual world where millions of great connections are just a click away! Here are five ways to effectively network and stay connected through a virtual platform.
Build Your Online Brand
Establish yourself by setting up a strong web presence. Use social networking tools like LinkedIn or career services platforms like GradLeaders to create a profile with a professional photo and complete profile explaining who you are, what you’ve done, and where you want to be. Another great way to showcase your work is to create a blog or website. This helps employers get to know you and your personal yet professional style.
Once you’ve established your professional online brand, you’re ready to get connected. Find people you already know and others who have similar experiences as you then invite them to connect. Then connect with people who work for companies you’re interested in, or those who hold positions you want, and message them to seek advice and learn more about their experiences. Invite them to chat over the phone or through virtual meeting technologies like Zoom, Teams or GradLeaders Connect. Finally, ask your connections for referrals on who else you should connect and network with. Referrals are a great way to get your foot in the door. Don’t be afraid to reach out, people are more likely to share their experiences and help you find your way than you may think. You never know where one connection can lead you!
Use Virtual Meeting Tools
When you’re not able to meet face-to-face, the next best thing is to connect through video with your camera on. Zoom, Teams, and GradLeaders Connect within your schools' career center platform are great tools to use during this time. Chat with colleagues, peers, mentors, and new connections to keep your relationships fresh and allow them to grow. Video calls with your camera on, creates a more personalized experience and allows you to see facial expressions and gestures which makes it easier to stay engaged.
Join Online Groups and Communities
Find online communities that are relevant to you and your interests. Online communities are a great way to gain professional support, gain new insights and get connected. There are plenty of school-, industry- and career-focused organizations that can help you get your foot in the door. Once you’re involved you can share your accomplishments, ask questions, and gain feedback.
Attend Virtual Networking Events
Since many conferences and career expos have been converted to virtual events, take advantage of the opportunity to gain more exposure without the hassle of traveling. Use tools like Eventbrite, MeetUp, or your career service portal's event listings to find these virtual events. People will be attending from all over the country with different backgrounds and experiences. Take time to get to know them and build a relationship. Treat every networking situation as an opportunity to gain better communication skills and to develop authentic relationships.
Got other tips for students? Need our help? Leave a comment or feel free to contact us at anytime.
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