Networking can be intimidating for a lot of students; it was, and still is, for me. I’m a senior majoring in strategic communication and political science, and I work at the Center for Career Exploration and Success as a communications intern. I used virtual networking to my advantage throughout my time at Miami, so here are some of my tips!
In-person networking is obviously preferred, but sometimes that isn’t an option and right now is one of those times. Just because you can’t meet with employers in person doesn’t mean making connections has to stop, though. There are so many ways to find people you would want to talk to, and I think LinkedIn is one of the best platforms available. I have a job lined up for after graduation in May, and I used LinkedIn to my advantage throughout the entire interview process.
I spoke with my company at Fall Career Fair because an alum of my sorority is a recruiter for them. She connected me with other recruiters there and they took my resume and later contacted me about setting up an interview. The job was a little different from what I had envisioned myself doing, so after my first interview I did some digging on LinkedIn. I found someone who currently works in the position I was interviewing for and she also happened to go to Miami and had similar experiences as I did on her resume. I messaged her on LinkedIn explaining that I was interviewing with the company and just wanted to hear what she thought of it and what her experience has been like. She answered within a day, we set up a phone call and it was a great conversation that led to me feeling very confident when it came time to accept or deny the job offer.
Making connections over LinkedIn can be as easy as sending someone a message and asking for a ten minute phone call. I recommend using all available connections to your advantage. Look for Miami alums at the companies you’re interested in and then look for other shared connections. Were they in the same club as you? Same business fraternity? Did you study abroad in the same place? The more you can connect with people, the better. And Miami alumni love to help Miami students.
Some advice when it comes to networking virtually:
- Be mindful of their time → Be specific in what you’re asking for, and don’t ask for too much.
- Highlight your shared experiences/connections in your initial message; they’ll be more inclined to say yes.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your current connections for help. You can make your own post on LinkedIn explaining your situation and what you’re looking for; chances are somebody knows somebody who could help you. This is also true beyond LinkedIn → use your current connections from on-campus organizations, part-time jobs, previous internships, etc.
- Attend virtual career fairs and info sessions hosted by employers! We have a full list of events on our website.
- There are still hundreds of employers looking to hire right now! Be open to your options and utilize the resources currently available to you.