4 Ways to Enhance Your Virtual Networking Experience

For college students and recent graduates, working and studying remotely for almost a year has created much uncertainty surrounding career growth and future development. Understandably, it can feel overwhelming to sort through a myriad of virtual resources. From career fairs to professional panels, here are 4 ways to get the most from online networking opportunities.

Find a balance between exploration and goal-setting

Goal setting may already be familiar to you. As a student, you start your higher education journey with the goal of graduating with a degree in a field that you have spent years studying. In between, you spend these years exploring your interests and setting more goals in between. When networking, find a balance between allowing yourself to explore your opportunities and setting concrete goals to reach in the near future. This could consist of having a goal of a specific industry that you want to break into, and in order to do this you are exploring different roles and responsibilities through networking, volunteering, and attending virtual events. Exploration is important throughout your life and career, but as a student it’s even more valuable as you begin the early stages of your professional development.

Do your research

You wouldn’t walk into a room full of professionals without having an idea of what they do. The same principle applies to virtual networking. Although you attend virtual events and network online to learn more about companies and roles, it’s impressive to do your homework beforehand. When looking for opportunities, do some research on the companies that intrigue you. Understand their mission and purpose, and look for openings that you’d like to learn more about so that you can ask for details once you meet company representatives. These representatives and recruiters often have little time to interact individually, so it’s essential to make a good impression and ask questions you couldn’t have found the answers to otherwise.

Take a growth-first approach

Any student and recent graduate will tell you that networking is one of the things they miss the most about pre-pandemic life. Reasons for this often revolve around career opportunities, but there is also a social and personal aspect to networking. It’s easy to come off as ingenuine when you enter a networking situation with the sole purpose of getting an interview; remember that building out your networking means creating real connections with people. Although networking today is primarily online, try to see past the screen and use your time to learn about a person’s journey to where they are today.

Alumni resources

Whether you are a current or former student, many universities offer opportunities to connect with an expansive alumni network. Check in with your school’s career center. In addition to many other resources, you’ll likely find links to access an alumni network that is willing and open to connect with students and recent graduates. Some schools will have a directory to profiles that you can explore and find alumni who are working in an industry or role that interests you. This is a great way to connect with working professionals, as they will likely be more open to networking with students from their alma mater.

One advantage of virtual networking is that you have access to a larger pool of professionals available for career chats. Find someone who aligns with your interests and remember that they are human just like you. Ask about their growth in the role and how your own path can grow parallel to that. Also keep in mind that networking is a hit-or-miss process. Don’t get discouraged if your conversation doesn’t lead to an opportunity; use that experience to revise your approach and try again.

Looking for opportunities? Tomo Credit is launching our Tomo Talk webinar series! Join us as experienced professionals and entrepreneurs from top companies discuss their experiences and provide advice.

Follow Tomo Credit on Facebook and Instagram for updates.