Networking is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most useful tools when it comes to future career success. It’s important to realize that a whopping 67% of college students don’t have a job lined up after graduation. And when we take into account that the average student is over $37,000 in loan debt by the time they finish school, this is a real problem. 

Therefore, the sooner you start networking, the better. And this is particularly true when you’re involved in higher education, as it opens up new and, sometimes, unexpected future job opportunities. 

At MyComputerCareer, you will not only have access to courses that will help you start or advance your career in I.T. but also the tools and networking resources to do so. With our Career Services, you will be there in no time. For more information, contact us today! 

Networking at an Online College

In recent years, online education has gained a lot of traction. In fact, roughly half of all American students are enrolled in at least one online course. Given the many benefits that online programs offer, particularly in terms of flexibility and affordability, it’s easy to understand why. 

And while online students can reap many of the same benefits as their on-campus counterparts, they may feel that they have a tougher time networking. Studies, after all, show that 85% of job placements occur as a direct result of professional connections, meaning that their concerns are not without merit. 

Luckily, networking while involved in an online degree program is entirely possible. Even if online learning doesn’t always offer the same face-to-face interactions as a traditional classroom, distance learners can still engage with their peers, professors, and potential job leads, albeit by taking a somewhat different approach. 

MyComputerCareer is an innovative adult tech school with courses taught both online and at its seven campuses. Our courses will earn you up to 13 highly valuable I.T. Certifications in areas such as Operating Systems, Computer Networks, and Cyber Security. Through our Career Services, we also help our students connect with potential employers, as well as provide them with cover letter and resume writing, interview preparedness, career search assistance, and more.

That said, here are several effective ways of networking while engaged in online classes. 

Establish Your Online Presence

As an online student, social media is your friend. But when you’re networking on social media, it’s typically better to stick with LinkedIn. Whatever the case, make sure to keep all of your profiles complete, accurate, and up-to-date.

Also, by including a great headshot, personal summary, and an overview of your skills on your professional LinkedIn account, your connections will get a better sense of who you are, what you can do, what are your goals and abilities, etc. All of these will work together to make your digital interactions more meaningful. 

Similarly, if you have a personal blog, website, or online portfolio, make sure that your skills, achievements, and hard work will be visible on your network. Don’t neglect your personal brand either as it can go a long way in developing crucial industry connections. Just make sure that it will be consistent across all of your channels.

Use Social Media to Engage With Your College

While LinkedIn is the go-to social platform that you should focus on the most, don’t discount Facebook, Twitter, or other social pages that your college is using.

For example, some schools are hosting alumni chats on Twitter, where graduates are offering advice and resources to those looking for employment. It’s also a good idea to follow faculty and thought leaders in your industry, as well as join and contribute to conversations happening in real-time.

Likewise, take advantage of relevant Quora threads to showcase your expertise and expand your network of connections. As we said, networking has a knack for generating opportunities from unlikely places.

Be Active in Class and Discussion Boards

Online classes will usually have discussion boards for students to post questions and comments regarding their assignments. By being active in these forums, you will stand a greater chance of connecting with your peers. Similarly, you can start threads of your own.

Whatever the case, by being engaged in your class activities and sharing your opinions, you will also work on connecting with others in your class. If you’re posting valuable information consistently, your classmates will start turning to you throughout the semester.

You’ll also have a chance to engage with your peers with group work. Many online programs encourage this type of activity, be it via phone, email, or discussion boards. Take advantage of these group projects and get to know your classmates better.

Meet up with Nearby Students

Check if other students who are part of your online degree program live in your area. If they do, it will be a great idea to arrange a face-to-face meeting. Meet for lunch or coffee and share experiences and notes. Talk about common interests, goals, as well as think about opportunities to collaborate in the future.

Connect with your Online College’s Alumni Organization

Your college’s alumni organization is a valuable resource, both during and after graduation. Many alumni who’ve gone on to build their careers may be more than eager to help others like them land an internship or find a job.

Look to learn more about it and get connected with various resources, activities, and events that may be available. These will help you build your professional network, even if you are studying online. 

Look for On-Campus Activities 

Some online programs, like MyComputerCareer, also contain an on-campus component. Among other things, this may include things like professional conferences or events. It will be a great idea to attend these as often as possible. This way, you will be able to further enhance your online connections. You will have a chance to meet classmates, professors, alumni, and other guests.  

Always remember that you are an integral part of the college community. Don’t neglect the extracurricular activities it has to offer, including the aforementioned events, as well as any other groups that you can join. These groups are often social in nature, making it that much easier to make new connections in an informal setting. 

Takeaway

The point here is that there are plenty of ways to network when you are taking an online course. That said, you should always look to provide value in return every time you do so. Networking is a reciprocal affair. While your connections will be a resource to you, you will have to be a resource to them. 

Probably the best way to network is to always consider how you can help others. In doing so, you will lay a foundation of mutual benefit and synergy that will generate a long-lasting relationship. And you may be surprised just how much you can gain from these types of connections. 

At MyComputerCareer, you will not only have access to courses that will help you start or advance your career in I.T. but also the tools and networking resources to do so. With our Career Services, you will be there in no time. For more information, contact us today! 

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