10 Tips for Virtual Networking
By: Michelle Redepenning
Large networking events and career fairs are not happening due to the global pandemic and need for social distancing. But people are still connecting! Networking is happening virtually. When networking virtually, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Setup social media accounts to make yourself visible online and promote your skills.
- Connect on LinkedIn with your classmates, professors, and speakers who have visited your classes. This is a great time to start networking with classmates, which will expand your network.
- Find networking groups that are meeting virtually like Austin’s Launch Pad Job Club, a networking, support, and job lead sharing organization that aids and supports job seekers in their search for “The Perfect Job.”
- Customize your invitation messages. Don’t send the auto-generated, generic LinkedIn invitation message. Instead, tell the connection who you have in common, highlight something from their profile that was of interest to you, and mention why you want to connect. Keep it short and simple, but always customize the invitation.
- Use LinkedIn to follow industry leaders, subject matter experts, and potential employers. Like, share and comment to show engagement.
- Ask for 10-15 minute virtual coffee chats with connections. This is a good way to make personal connections during self-isolation and serves as an informational interview to learn about their experience, industry and advice for how to pursue an opportunity in that area.
- Respond in a timely manner when people do reply.
- Make a good first impression. Treat a virtual networking meeting the same as you would a face-to-face first meeting. Dress up, login on time, and be professional.
- Send thank you emails within 24 hours after a virtual networking meeting or event.
- Be consistent when you start an online networking process. Every time you post, like, comment, and share you have a greater chance that people will see and remember your name.