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How to Create a Strong Online Network as a Student

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To get professional opportunities, in many cases, who you know is quite important.

Let’s say you are fresh out of university and one of the two final applicants for a job position in a random company; you might have a better educational background than the other applicant; however, they have better connections who could help them by giving insight into the company, personally recommending them to the board, or even training them for the job. Surely, that networking connection would give the applicant a boost, and they would have a better chance of getting hired. In fact, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics announced that about 85 percent of jobs are secured through networking.

However, if you are still a student, it can be hard to create such connections in the traditional way. There are three reasons behind the students’ struggle to network. The anxiety of approaching people they do not know, lack of knowledge regarding networking, and hesitation to begin thinking of job opportunities while still studying are some of them.

If you are dealing with similar struggles, you might want to start learning to network online. The various networking activities for college students we have listed below will make interacting easier for you. So, read on and start creating the connections that can help you land your dream job.

Begin by Building Your Online Presence

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Chances are that you have or have had some sort of social networking account before. Those accounts, the interactions you had online, digital assets such as pictures and videos, as well as any pieces of information written by you or about you represent your online presence. Nowadays,  98% of employers do a social media screening of their applicants to know more about them. So, you should carefully build your online presence.

One of the most popular tools for building your online presence is Linkedin. You can practically use your account’s profile as an online business card. The first step is to complete your profile. Begin by connecting with your peers and teachers and then expand into the industry of your choice. This platform enables you to follow companies within the industry you fancy and stay updated about any available job positions.

Sign Up for Virtual Events

You can connect with new people by signing up for virtual events. There are many online workshops, seminars, and volunteering opportunities that can help you gain experience and make new contacts while still studying.

During virtual events, you should stay engaged and participate in the activities organized. Studies show that social anxiety is lower during online interactions compared to face-to-face ones. That is why you might be more comfortable starting to create contacts in virtual events first.

Join Relevant Communities

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Virtual communities relevant to your professional interests are another way you can build your online network as a student. For example, Facebook has many groups catered to startups to help them by providing business advice. Similarly, you can join various Reddit forums where you interact with and learn from people interested in the same field as you.

Become an Active Part of the Discussion Boards

Discussion boards are online forums where people can communicate by posing questions and having others leave messages in response. You can network online simply by participating in such discussion boards. Post your own questions and wait for people to respond, or be the one responding to what others have asked. Pick questions related to your field of interest and attract networking contacts that will certainly be useful to you.

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Reach Out to Alumni

The school you have chosen is important not only because of the quality of education you get but also because of the relationships and connections you build. Every university has an alumni network that you can reach out to. These groups are ideal because they are ready-made networks that consist of people with whom you share experiences since they attended the same university and have similar interests because of their career field. Your university’s alumni can provide mentoring to you, introduce you to people and companies, which in turn is translated to career opportunities.

Join Discussions on University Social Pages

A great networking tool in a university setting is also their social pages. Many universities encourage discussions through their posts, and this is a great opportunity for you to showcase your skills. By participating in such discussions, you can create networking contacts by participating or simply observing, as well as further impress the teacher and other contacts you already have.

Although networking as a student can be challenging, today’s technology makes it easier through the possibility of building an online network. Your online presence and the social networking pages you interact with will help you build the connections you need to build a strong network.

Use to your advantage every opportunity you get to interact with people interested in the same field as you. One day you might be the networking link that will help someone else get their dream job.

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