Master Virtual Networking With These 5 Tips
Virtual job networking is when you communicate and build relationships with potential employers online. Networking is a very important skill to acquire as a worker because it gives you the connections you will need to get hired, to get promoted, and to be known and well-liked by many.
As a college student, you don’t have too much time to network in person, besides in your summer internships, so why not resort to networking online? This way you can simply fulfill this in between classes or whenever you have a free moment. Here are 5 tips that will help you master virtual networking.
1. Networking websites
The first tip for virtual networking is being aware of all the different networking sites out there for you to explore. As virtual networking is becoming more popular, there are quite a few websites that allow you to make a profile and connect with employers; these sites include LinkedIn, Plaxo, Jobster, MyWorkster and more.
2. Your profile
Of course, you have to make a profile on these networking sites, sort of like a Facebook profile, but much more professional. You want your profile to represent who you are; it is similar to a first impression when meeting someone in person, which can be very important. Your profile should be professional; however, try not to make it completely dry and boring for someone to read.
You also should keep in mind that employers can be looking at your profile online at any time, so keep it up to date so they can review all of your skills and information. Make sure you accurately list all of your skills; this can also include coursework.
It is also nice to put a picture (if possible) on your profile, so employers can get an idea of who you are and to make more of a personal connection, or recognize you from meeting before. However, choose your picture very wisely — you should avoid any racy pictures or public bathroom mirror selfies. Try to aim for a school yearbook picture kind of vibe.
3. Finding people to connect with
It is more common to connect with people that you have met before through events such as an internship or your college job fairs. On many of these networking sites you can search for your University’s alumni, which is great for when after you have graduated and are looking for a job at a company where maybe a classmate is employed.
However, some people searching for jobs do actually contact employers or people with common career interests that they have never met before, but it is really your personal reference.
Once you find people that you are interested in contacting, you should message them on that particular website. The message should be more personal, but also still professional.
If you have met the individual before, you should mention in your message when and where you met. You can also tell them the professional interests you have that are similar to theirs, according to their website or the company they are employed with. Try waiting until they message back to your first message before sending them your resume or URL to your resume, to not seem too forward.
You should also check your messages on the site frequently, especially if you initiated a conversation with someone; being punctual with emails shows the potential employer you have a great quality for their workplace.
5. Using social media
Solely job networking sites are not the only sites you have to limit your job search to. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are also great to use, and it is great networking practice as well.
Now that the president has a profile, Facebook just became more professional. Facebook is a great way to connect with University alumni as well, as most colleges have their own alumni page where you can find old classmates and friends that could have a connection at a company or in an industry you want to pursue working in.
Twitter blogs have also become a professional setting for job searchers and employers. Many Twitter users put updates of their interests along with linking to other more professional networking profiles in order to connect with employers and possibly land a job.