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Catherine Martin

5 Networking Tips for Online Students

No matter what your plans are for your future and your particular career, networking is an essential tool for achieving your goals. If you are an online student, you may worry that your lack of face-to-face interaction is impeding your networking opportunities. But fear not, for there are still many ways in which you can participate in networking. Here are five networking tips for online students that can get you started:

  1. When possible, meet in person
Although online classes lends itself to fewer—or, in certain instances, no—face-to-face interactions, it can be helpful to arrange several in-person meetings (if possible). For instance, consider starting and ending the semester by meeting with your professor. If you and your professor live far from one another, arrange work sessions with those classmates in close proximity. Look for events in your area where experts in your field may be found and put in an appearance. Face-to-face interactions can create deeper, more meaningful impressions than a simple email, and they can also widen your circle of connections.
  1. Alternately, participate in video chats
Face time is an essential component of networking, but logistics may make it very difficult or outright impossible for you to hold in-person meetings. In these instances, video chat platforms like Google Hangouts or Skype are a useful alternative. With video chat, you will still be able to regularly meet “face-to-face” with professors and classmates no matter their city, state, or country.
  1. Seek out on-campus opportunities
Networking need not be limited to your current classmates and professors. If you live near your campus, join an extracurricular activity that piques your interest or that may attract other individuals with goals similar to your own. If you do not live near your campus, investigate whether local colleges and universities have opportunities for the general public. Attending a guest lecture, for example, may connect you to others in your field. Colleges big and small boast an assortment of offerings, so take advantage.
  1. Join and remain active on LinkedIn
In our digital age, not all networking is limited to face-to-face interactions—online networking can also enable you to build a promising career. If you have not yet done so, create a LinkedIn account, and ensure your information remains accurate and up-to-date. Make as many connections as you can, beginning with people you know, and then moving on to their networks. Online networking may lead to opportunities that you would have never uncovered yourself, as well as connections that would have been difficult to make in person.
  1. Consider less obvious sources for networking

Wherever you live, there are likely opportunities to join in-person groups that indirectly promote networking. Perhaps you join a young professionals group on Meetup, or an intramural sports team in your area. These groups are often social in nature, which can be an entertaining and more relaxed way to make connections that may help you in the future. The most important advice to keep in mind is to always be open to and aware of possible networking opportunities. Such opportunities are available by the dozen—all you need to do is learn to recognize them, and then seize the moment.

Catherine Martin is a contributing writer for UniversityTutor.com, the world’s largest global marketplace for finding independent tutors.

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