One of the most important skills to have going into the workforce is networking. If you have connections to someone in your field of interest, you are more likely to get hired over someone who does not. Here are some tips on how to do that during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Make a LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is the most professional “social media.” Connect with fellow students, professors, and professionals in your field to broaden your network and ask questions about what a potential career can be like. Building a professional identity online can be a huge help in getting a job during school and especially post-grad.
Social media outlets are your friends
Social media is something that older generations did not have. Put yourself out there in a professional manner! Have a small business/business idea? Make an Instagram page for it and share it around. It’s the best way for people, especially younger people to easily see it and contact you about questions and orders. And you may find someone willing to invest in your business, who knows?
Use your family and friends to your advantage
Your family can be a huge help in networking. Does your Uncle Steve work in IT and that’s what you want to do after graduation? Ask if you could shadow him on a virtual day at work. Does your friend Diane know someone working in environmental conservation and that’s what you’re interested in? Ask her to put you in contact with that person, you never know what could happen.
Informational interviews are very important
In school, you may have been required to contact a professional in your preferred field of study in order to ask them a few questions. This small interview can actually do a lot more for you than you think! First, you’re establishing a point of contact in both a field you are interested in AND a company you would like to work for. Second, this shows your point of contact that you are very interested in their job and their company. If a position opens up that seems like it could be a fit for you, they are more likely to let you know first before they put the job online for others to apply to. Put yourself out there and reach out to someone for an informational interview over Zoom, a phone call, or even email, and it could take you a long way.
Join groups with like-minded people
One way to network with peers is to join groups. For example, you can join the Photography Club of that is something that interests you. The Biology Council of Majors is chock full of people with the same career goals as you (if that is what you’re studying). Even the Intramural Volleyball team is a way to network. If you surround yourself with like-minded people, you’ll be able to find people to help you along your journey into the professional world, and maybe even find some life-long friends in the process!
Although there are many more ways to network during the pandemic, these are some easy ways to get started. Claim your future today and start networking!