Remote Networking While College Is Socially Distanced (infographic)

It’s starting to look like most students across the world will be returning to virtual classes this fall. Each age group faces its own challenges. For parents of younger children, the uncertainty of whether school will happen in person or virtually, A/B schedules, and NTI make it difficult to know whether you can commit to holding down a job if you are still lucky enough to have one. For middle and high school students, missing out on peer interactions during critical developmental times can be especially difficult. And for college students, missing out on in-person networking can make college seem as though it’s not worth the trouble.

College Is About Networking

For many students, the whole point of going to college is to build a professional network that is going to be integral to the success of their careers throughout their working lives. 88% of professionals consider networking to be vital to their careers, and 70% say it opens doors to career growth and other benefits. Networking provides you with connections, and seven in ten people who plan to stick with a company more than five years have a mentor.

What’s more, 85% of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are former Fraternity or Sorority members, and former Greek students report being happier and more engaged at work than those who skipped these organizations.

The network you gain in college is going to be there throughout your career. Learning the art of mutual support is one of the crucial lessons learned in college, and without this interaction future careers are at stake.

How To Network When Everything Is Online

Going to class online is a totally different experience, and while some people have been doing a version of this for years already there has usually been a component of in-person interaction to complement the online learning portion.

For the colleges and universities that have decided that in-person learning is too risky, students need to be able to adapt to the temporary new way of doing things so that it doesn’t stifle future opportunities.

Look for opportunities to connect with classmates online. Remember that everyone is struggling and it will take an extra effort to make those connections work. Look for clubs and organizations that are holding meetings online and look for Facebook and other groups made to help remote students keep connected with their peers at your school.

Use social media to connect with your peers and ensure they know you care by interacting with them online. Schedule times to meet for study or socialization so that your established routine doesn’t fall through the cracks - having routine meeting times can help you stay connected.

When you have group work to do as a class, be sure to add the people you work with on LinkedIn. This will help you keep track of their professional trajectories long after graduation.

On your own LinkedIn profile, ensure you are filling out all the sections in order to give you the best possible edge once you are out there looking to start your career. Be sure to highlight not just your academic and professional achievements, but also your volunteering work and other accomplishments. Look for your school’s alumni group on LinkedIn and become an active participant in it. LinkedIn is used by over half of college graduates, making it a great way to jumpstart your future.

When it comes time for socialization, look for online tools that make it possible. Google Meet and Zoom are great for hanging out with friends over video, and you can even make things more fun and interesting by watching movies together on Netflix or playing online games together.

Learn more about remote networking during social distanced college from the infographic below.

Read next: How to Stay Focused When Working From Home (infographic)
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