I am one of those people that dread networking.
As an introvert, I find it stressful to walk up to a stranger at a career fair and start a conversation. Yet, I’ve found that virtual networking has helped me dread it just a little bit less!
Networking online provides uninterrupted one-one-one time with recruiters and professionals that you wouldn’t otherwise get at a crowded event. In fact, virtual networking may even give you more of a chance to stand out and show your best self! Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way:
- Be clear with your intention. Is your goal to learn more about what day-to-day life looks like for a certain job? To get a question answered about the best classes to take to prepare for your career? To get a potential mentor? Whatever your purpose is, make sure you understand it before starting the conversation.
- Prepare questions. Come up with at least three questions to ask that reflect what your intention is for the conversation. Research the professional you’re speaking to and their company so that you can ask more specific questions. Take a look at some sample questions below:
- What are the positive/negative aspects of working in this field?
- What skills do you feel contribute most to success in this industry?
- How do you spend a typical week?
- Etc. — check out our list of questions to ask during an informational interview for more ideas.
- Brainstorm a conversation starter. How will you begin the conversation? If you’re introverted like me, it might be helpful to write down your conversation starter and your answer to it. If chatting with a BC alum, a fun way to start is to ask something about their BC experience, like where they lived on campus.
- Look at the camera, not at the person’s face. One tricky aspect of video chatting is making eye contact with the person you’re talking to. Although it feels very unnatural, try to look at the camera instead of the person’s face so that it looks like you are making eye contact with them.
- Don’t be afraid to show your personality! Especially behind a computer screen, you might feel that it’s difficult to convey the charisma and energy that you can in person. Don’t fear though, because a smile and engaged attitude can go a long way! You can even consider even putting your computer on a countertop and standing up to give yourself more room to express body language and hand gestures.
- Avoid looking at notes on your screen. Try not to look at your questions or notes on your screen—it is obvious when you do this. Instead, try having them on paper in front of you so it looks more natural.
- Take advantage of Zoom features. Drop your contact info in the chat box, send your resume, share your screen if you found a cool article, do whatever works for you.
- Have fun with it! Remember that whoever you’re talking to is a person too. Your conversations don’t need to be all business—maybe you’ll even make an unexpected friend along the way!
Feeling motivated? Reach out to an alum or two on Eagle Exchange to have a conversation with! They have volunteered to speak with you and are eager for you to reach out. Visit our networking page to learn more about all of the opportunities and resources available to help you.
—Claire Bergman, LSOEHD ’22, Career Center Marketing Assistant