Networking has been an important skill to have since 2016, especially if you’re looking for the job of your dreams, say the experts at LinkedIn. Roughly 85 percent of all jobs were filled via networking that year, and that statistic has likely only risen since. Why? Because today it’s more important than ever to know people who know people.
Networking can help you find a job, help you find a ride, help you find a partner in life, and all it takes is knowing how and when to talk to people. But how to network in college? And how to network when your college and every other university across the nation has suddenly moved online? Surprisingly, it’s easier than you think. Here’s what we know regarding online students and networking.
Social Networks Are Called Networks for a Reason
One of the best networking tips for college students is to find and join interesting social networks. It’s 2020 now, and because of this most schools and universities have their own version of a social network. Create a new profile and begin engaging those classmates and faculty you know if you haven’t already. Be respectful and receptive, but let your personality shine through, too. Most people want to work with others who are friendly and helpful. That’s one of the key reasons networking is important. If you’re this person, you may discover that opportunities find you without extra effort on your part. Here’s how to become a valued member of your school’s own social network:
- Don’t be afraid to speak first. Be a conversation-starter and a leader.
- Don’t monopolize the conversation. Allow others to weigh-in with their opinions.
- Keep it friendly and professional. It’s okay to be comfortable in the message boards, but keep the lampshade-on-the-head tales offline.
- Care about what others are saying. Comment and interact with other’s posts, just as you’d like them to do with your own.
- Avoid trolling and avoid responding to others who troll.
By mastering the art of give-and-take online, you’ll make new friends. And who knows? One of them may be in a position to recommend you for a position at your dream company one day.
Online Meetings and Classes Are Necessities These Days
You can’t really meet people in person for lunch much these days, but you can join them in a Zoom meeting or on a Skype call. Be prepared to join in on virtual meetings. It may take some practice to discover how to network virtually, but once you’ve mastered it, new vistas will open.
If you’re unsure of the technology needed, experiment with it first with family members or close friends. Then make yourself available to video chat with classmates, professors, friends, and more. Stay up-to-date on the latest tech advancements for networking. In 2020, these include 5G networks, Wi-Fi6, and more.
If you’re going to chat with others via online video, optimize your space beforehand. Use a stationary camera that’s positioned slightly above your line-of-sight. This requires you to look up instead of down during the chat. Viewers will see open eyes instead of the outsides of your eyelids. Lighting is important, too. Natural light is best for online chat, so take time to find a suitable spot near a window, and remove any distractions in the background, such as scantily clad roommates or frisky pets.
If you’re chatting from your phone, invest in a small tripod to keep it in place during the meeting. You’ll also want to interact with the camera and avoid constantly looking down at your own image during the chat.
Your Online Presence Is Important
It’s important when learning how to network in college that your online presence is easy to find and portrays you at your best. Consider creating profiles at major professional and social networking sites, including:
Endless opportunities are out there for online students and networking. Find the ones that most intrigue you, and begin building your online presence. Use professional-looking profile pics and highlight your accomplishments and achievements in the event that future employers are looking.
It’s All About the Hustle
Networking while you’re still in college is the best way to secure a future career that you’ll love. Because 70 to 80 percent of all jobs are never advertised, it’s vital to have that foot already in the door when your dream position opens up. The best way to do so is by making valuable contacts every day.
- Set weekly goals regarding how many new contacts you want to make.
- Devise a tiered system of people you know, and contact them accordingly.
- Tier 1 are those friends and family members with whom you’re closest. Don’t be afraid to reach out and let them know you’re in the market for a job.
- Tier 2 are acquaintances you know but may not interact with daily. Reach out to them in the next wave. Finding a marvelous job is all about hustle. Tap into your existing network while building new contacts.
- Treat your job hunt as the job. Devote a minimum number of hours each day to building and polishing your resume, making phone calls, and emailing contacts.
Networking has been around for a while now, but in a virtual world, it’s more important than ever to understand why networking is important. If you can’t sit in a classroom and chat, and you can’t meet at the local campus cafe over lunch, you must find alternative ways to connect. This means turning to online tactics. There’s no need to become estranged from classmates and faculty simply because you’re forced to attend class online. You can still keep your name at the forefront of vocational conversations by keeping a friendly and engaging online presence. Using these networking tips for college students only makes it easier to do so.
At Post University, we know how to network, especially virtually with our online students. That’s why we offer a variety of interesting online classes and coursework to help you excel in your chosen career field. Contact us today for more information regarding online classes at Post University. The future of your dreams is waiting.