Networking in a Covid-19 World
By: Hailey Harmon
As students we have all heard that networking is the key to landing a career post-college, but how do we network in a world that has come completely virtual? Good Question. I wish the answer was simple, but unfortunately, it is not. In short terms networking is important, but you don’t necessarily need to be linking up with professionals in order to stand out to seasoned professionals. In fact, some of the greatest resources to stand out are right in front of you. In today’s blog post, I am going to be sharing some of the best things you can do to network behind a computer screen and increase your chances to land a career post-graduation.
Starting out, I would like to bring to your attention group projects. As an Advertising student of SJMC, I have worked in a group for almost every single course related to my major. Not only have I built personal relationships with my classmates, but I have also built professional relationships. A great tip I can share is if you worked in a group with a few classmates and you are proud of the work you accomplished together, go ahead, and endorse their skills on LinkedIn. If someone made a killer PowerPoint, endorse them for design and if someone had great notes and presented the project flawlessly, endorse them for public speaking. In a COVID world, we, as students, need to get creative in ways to stand out.
Another great tip when it comes to standing out to employers is using this time to perfect your resume. Go to your professor’s office hours and ask them if they have a minute to look over your resume. Every single professor I have talked to has been more than willing to give me feedback and suggestions. Some professors even can help you get creative with making your job experience relevant to the career field you are hoping to enter. I highly suggest taking advantage of this one-on-one time, not only are you building a professional relationship with your professor, you are building your resume and increasing your chances of the door to your dream job opening.
Following this, A great way to connect is to join a club. SJMC has so many clubs filled with so many creative students. For example, The Ad Club at Texas State is hosting bi-weekly meetings. Clubs offer connections to driven individuals with similar interests to you. Also, a great tip is post-meeting, send a LinkedIn connection to the guest speaker. Thank them for their time and the advice they gave. If you really want to stand out, personalize the message to state something that stood out to you about their story or try to relate to their experience. Speakers love to connect and know that they weren’t just speaking to little boxes on Zoom, they were inspiring students and helping the next generation.
Now, this is my favorite tip, and I am so happy that someone shared it with me when I was first trying to get my foot in the door. Find someone within the past 2 years that graduated from your university in your desired field and complement their post-graduation work. Ask them questions like “How did you prepare to enter the world post-grad?” or “What is one piece of advice you wish someone gave you earlier in your career?” Most recent graduates want to help! They were in your shoes a few years ago, they once felt exactly how you are feeling now. Mentorship and advice from those in the places you want to be is completely invaluable. You will gain insider knowledge from someone that was you a few years ago, and bonus points if you establish a relationship with this person when you apply to their agency. You have someone fighting for you on the other side and your first friend if you get hired!
A goal without a plan is a dream.
Start networking with people that are easily attainable to you. Your classmates might be your co-workers, your professors might be a lifelong connection, the speaker might be your boss and the recent alum might just be your mentor! In these times, connection and building lasting, genuine relationships are everything. I hope this blog post offers guidance and great tips! Eat ’em up Cats!