Tips for virtual networking — Jessica’s Career Tip of the Week
The COVID-19 pandemic situation has changed our interactions and how we currently conduct business. While a lot of networking used to happen virtually, there were still events like career fairs and company information sessions where you could meet potential employers or people from different backgrounds who could help you get that dream job. Since all these major events are currently happening virtually, it’s necessary to talk about useful tips and some mistakes to avoid.
Even if all these events moved online, you still have to make sure that you attend these events and connect with the right people. For that, you’d have to conduct your research about the company and about the people who are attending those events. Handshake is a very good resource to figure out which companies are hiring your major, so you know which companies to research about in the first place. There will be and still are a lot of virtual events happening where you could network with people working at different companies. You can find a list of all these events in Handshake, and select which to attend depending on the companies you’re interested in or people you would love to connect with. Don’t forget to prepare as you would for any in-person event. Practice your introduction and make sure you can talk about everything on your resume with ease. Also, don’t restrict yourself to attending ASU-only virtual events and leverage other online platforms like LinkedIn Live and Facebook Live as well.
Once you’re done attending an event, try to connect with the people you talked to. You can send them a connection request on LinkedIn or can email them thanking about their time. To strengthen the connection further, you can request them to schedule a one-on-one zoom meeting to ask any specific questions you have or they may be able to even assist you with obtaining a job at their company.
In addition to leveraging the networks you make at virtual events, you can continue sending connection requests to professionals on LinkedIn. Try to initiate a conversation with them regarding something you find interesting about their profile and continue to keep in touch with them, so when the time comes, they can help you obtain an internship or a position at their respective companies. It is possible that some people don’t accept your connection requests or don’t reply to your messages but don’t lose hope and keep trying. You’ll have to figure out your LinkedIn networking strategy and that will happen only if you are consistent in trying to connect with different people.
Having talked about all these tips, let’s talk about few common mistakes you should avoid. One mistake to avoid is sending LinkedIn connection requests without any messages. If you do this, you’re not providing any context to the recipient of the request and also are not laying any foundation for future conversations. Also, don’t only focus on making new connections, you have to keep nurturing old connections as well. Only networking with higher-level contacts is also not a good strategy. Even though those connections can definitely prove valuable, connecting with your peers is another good way to keep track of what’s going on in the industry.
Happy Virtual Networking!
**This blog was written by Arnav Kasturia, Peer Career Coach