With the rise of jobs in remote locations and sites like LinkedIn, students have more options to have jobs across the country and globe. With all these jobs comes a change in the traditional idea of networking.
“You can connect with people from around the world instantly, and have connections,” Jay Killough, director of the University Career Center said. “I think with social media and with other types of professional sites like LinkedIn would be a primary service that students can use. I think it’s a great way for people to make a connection, meet with somebody from around the world that they’ve never talked to you before.”
LinkedIn also lets students be more passive in job hunting as employers can search for them, Lisa Low, an assistant professor of practice in public relations, said.
“Students will learn in my course and upload it to their LinkedIn and all of a sudden they get someone who’s looking for someone who has experience with Hootsuite or social media certification,” she said. “That kind of thing happens very frequently.”
In regard to networking, Low said the rise of sites like Slack, Yammer and Microsoft Teams allow for personal relationships and communication across offices and time zones.
Low said she and the public relations department try to get students comfortable with using networking sites.
“Our students are all required to create a LinkedIn profile,” she said. “They are required to make that robust in terms of, you know, how to write a headline, how to have a headshot that is going to be on the professional side rather than the unprofessional side.”
Her students use either Slack, Microsoft Teams or Yammer to collaborate on classwork in her graduate courses, she said.
It takes practice learning how to be professional while networking and the Career Center can help students, Killough said.
“I think it’s more of a technique point of view, like proper communication etiquette, addressing the alumni or whoever they’re talking to, you know, in a professional way, so proofreading, emails, proofreading, tell me about yourself elevator pitch kind of things,” he said. “We will assist.”
He said the best way for students to get jobs is through networking and connections.
“The more connections you have and the more people you know in the industries that you’re wanting to get into, the better your chances are having a résumé looked at in that company,” he said. “If I know you and I’ve got positions open, you apply to me, you know, I can refer you up.”
Killough said being able to introduce oneself professionally and state one’s goals is also key for job opportunities.
Low said the skills are important to learn since networking will only continue to grow digitally.
“You’re seeing a lot of the rise of remote workers and we need we must be comfortable. Even if we end up working in the same building with our teams,” Low said. “It’s important to be able to work virtually no matter where you are on the planet, you should be able to, you know, login to whatever technology you’re using and be productive, contributing member of a team.”