Insights from BCC Research

Remote Networking Tips For College Students And Email Templates For Professors And Connections

Remote Networking Tips

Networking is a key element in transitioning from being a student to a working professional. It’s an important enough topic that we’ve touched upon it a couple of times, and we even have a fantastic guide that provides detailed tips on how to ensure your networking effectively.

However, ‘networking’ is often synonymous with ‘in-person meeting.’ Throw a global pandemic into the mix and the landscape suddenly looks very different.

Most schools, even the ones who allow in-person classes, are going remote after Thanksgiving through the end of the semester. But just because you aren’t physically in the same space doesn’t mean that networking with your classmates, professors and professionals is off the table.

Whether you’re looking for a job, a connection to your dream graduate program, or insight into certain industries and jobs, networking, even remotely, is worth forging through the discomfort it might bring.

To help you navigate these tricky waters, we’ve comprised a list of tips for remote networking success. Some are very similar to our in-person networking post, and some branch out. But they all take into consideration the virtual world we are currently living in.

Start With Your Peers

Ask other students in your major or interest of study what they plan on doing post-graduation. They may know someone you would be interested in talking to, and if so, might connect you through an introductory email.

Ask your peers if they have had an internship related to what you’re interested in. If this internship interests you, ask if you could reach out to their former supervisor. Most internships have gone remote, which opens up possibilities now that travel isn’t as much of a barrier.

If you know of students who have parents or other family members in your industry of interest, ask for their contact information or connect with them via LinkedIn.

Create a LinkedIn Profile

Remote or not, having a LinkedIn profile is a key step towards your career. Statistics from 2019 show that over 50% of college students use LinkedIn, and for good reason! Over 20,000 companies recruit job candidates through the professional social networking platform.

LinkedIn operates like an on-call resume. Potential employers can get a sense of who you are through your summary section, decide whether your professional experience aligns with what they need, see who advocates for your skills and more.

With the majority of your job search being digital, especially in our current times, LinkedIn is an essential tool. But if it feels overwhelming to get started, fear not.

LinkedIn Hacks!

  1. Connect with alumni. You can see who else went to your school, graduated with your major and what they’re doing now. Connect with them and send them a message. You’ll find that most people on the platform, especially those who have a tie to you, are happy to help current students!

  2. Connect with individuals within a company that interests you. You can either research the company directly on LinkedIn or use your preferred method of searching and then check them out on LinkedIn. If you click on the company, look to the right of the page that lists the individuals who work there. Reaching out to employees (aka your potential future colleagues) can provide you with key information!

If you need some help on how to draft an email to a connection you found via LinkedIn, consider this template below.

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,

My name is xx and I am a (sophomore/junior/senior etc...) studying at xx and majoring in xx. When I was looking at company xx on LinkedIn, I came across your profile and saw that you are a xx graduate, like me.

I did some research on your company, and I am very interested in the xx position listed. Is there a time where we could schedule a phone call to discuss this position further? I am available either on Date at Time, or Date at Time. Let me know if any of those times work for you and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thanks again,

Your First/Last Name

  1. Don’t start at the lowest rung. Consider searching for your dream job. Find people in that position and ask them for an informational interview. Let them know that right now you’re a student but one day you hope to work in a similar position. This meeting could help you hone your focus on which jobs to take in order to achieve your dreams.

  2. Implement! Another way LinkedIn can be helpful is by copying the format of other profiles. How often do you get to see an array of job resumes? Search for positions you are contemplating post college and check out how people within those fields have created their LinkedIn page. What can you implement in your own profile? What words stick out to you that are used to describe their duties and experiences?

Give your Career Development Center a call

You may be familiar with walking into your career development center to confirm your list of classes, but you might have some reservations about navigating your course load and searching for job opportunities remotely. Don’t discount the help your career development center can provide! The staff there give you with guidance and advice on virtual job and internship searches and opportunities.

Contact your center and ask to talk to an advisor about what to consider with the explosion of remote jobs. Has the transition to remote work impacted your career path at all? What are some tips to help you prepare for any changes in your trajectory? They’re working hard to ensure they have resources available for students; take advantage of it!

If anything, reaching out now will help you form a good relationship with the career development center, something worth nurturing throughout your time at school.

Attend Networking Events

Yes, we’re no longer meeting up in person. No, networking events have not been canceled! A good place to start is on your school’s career development website. Another place to look would be the list-serves from your major department. While the pandemic has put a wrench in making connections in-person, there are some benefits.

For now, take advantage of the fact that networking events are zoom-based. Yes, it can be exhausting to get on yet another zoom call, but there are so many more career options available to you. Suddenly, networking options aren’t limited to your physical location. You can connect with people and companies all over the world and you never know where those connections will lead.

Don’t let the winds of change fool you. Networking still requires professionalism, and there are workarounds in the face of the pandemic. In fact, we have a fantastic podcast episode that dives into this.

To begin virtual networking, sign up for an event that looks interesting on Eventbrite. Go to the event with one goal: to introduce yourself and explain that this is the first time you’re doing this. This will remove some stress from you and allows you to experience a virtual event where others will reach out and help you.

How to stand out in a remote networking events

  1. Behave like a professional—smile, make eye contact as you talk, and when you talk to someone, use their name as you address them (i.e. Thank you Kerri, I hadn’t thought of that before but I’m definitely going to apply that).
  2. Immediately email with three individuals using our template below. Thank them for a specific tip they provide and ask if you could connect with them via LinkedIn.
  3. Connect with them on Linkedin!

Follow-up Email Template

Dear Ms./Mr. Last Name (or however they addressed themselves to you at the event),

My name is xx and I am a (sophomore/junior/senior etc...) majoring in xx. We met at xx event, and I really enjoyed our conversation.

It was interesting to learn more about your company and I believe that I would be a competitive candidate in the xx position you mentioned.

Is there a time where we could schedule a phone call to discuss this position further? I am available either on Date at Time, or Date at Time. Let me know if any of those times work for you and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thanks again,

Your First/Last Name

If you met someone and found out they’re working at your dream job, but there are no open positions right now? Use this template:

Dear Ms./Mr. Last Name (or however they addressed themselves to you at the event),

My name is xx and I am a (sophomore/junior/senior etc…) majoring in xxxxxx. I really enjoyed our conversation at the recent event at xx.

It was interesting to learn about your company and your role there. I know you mentioned that there are not currently any available positions in xx, but I would love to continue our conversation about the xx industry as a whole. I was wondering if we could still schedule a call?

I am available either on Date at Time, or Date at Time. Let me know if any of those times work for you and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thanks again,

Your First/Last Name

Get E-Involved on Campus

Connection is key, and students are especially feeling the impact of not being able to spend time with fellow classmates. That’s why clubs can be a crucial element in your life right now. You may find that a virtual format is not at all what you were hoping for, but you will still be in contact with others and focused on a common goal that can help you through until life returns to normal.

Contact your student body government. Ask about clubs that you can join or consider joining the student government itself. The student government is composed of your fellow students, who are not only in the same position as you as far as classes go, but they are also more plugged into the inner workings of the campus.

If you are part of a club, or the president of a club, check out this article on ways to navigate potential issues.

Contact Professors

Cultivating relationships with your professors is beneficial for a number of reasons, and it only becomes more important now that many students aren’t even turning on their cameras for zoom lectures.

Professors still have office hours! In fact, because they are now remote, those hours may be even more accessible since it doesn’t require you to be physically present. Make sure to check when their office hours are and use them to connect with your professor and the class subject.

Professors are trying to navigate this change just as much as you are. They are quite willing to meet you halfway and help you to the best of their capabilities. And taking steps to reach out to them will help you stand out and can allow them to see a different skill set that they can then highlight on those letters of recommendations you will come to rely on.

Contact your favorite professor! Below are a few tips to create and strengthen your relationships with your professors digitally.

  1. Don’t wait until there is a problem! Reach out early, introduce yourself and have a short conversation that enables both you and your professor to have a better understanding of each other.
  2. While we are all remote, there are so many ways to communicate. Does your professor like a Zoom meeting? An email? A phone call? Sometimes it’s easy to stick to what you’re comfortable with, but try and branch out if they mention a platform they use to communicate that might not be familiar to you.
  3. Say thank you. If you notice they’re really trying to aid students with the online format, send a quick email thanking them. It lets them know that their efforts are noticed.

Click here for more tips on networking remotely with your professor.

As you can see, networking is more than possible, and in fact, may be a bit easier to do since it doesn’t require any physical commitments right now.

If you want to do some more research on an industry you’ve been curious about before reaching out to professionals, search our library!

Not only will you stay up to date on the industry, but you can also start your networking endeavors by contacting the companies highlighted in our reports.

Written by Sarah Greenberg on Dec 2, 2020 12:40:00 PM

Sarah Greenberg is the Manager of Content Marketing at BCC Research. She creates our blog, social media and email content.

Topics: Information Technology