Navigating the Virtual World of Work
Whether virtual or in person, networking is still the number one way to land a job or internship. Like in-person networking, building relationships requires time and should be authentic and sincere. Below are a few ways to maximize your networking tactics in the virtual event space.
Before the Event
- Identifying and participating in virtual events is a great way to connect with professionals.
- Use Handshake to see what events are currently available or coming up.
- Be mindful of dates. Some events allow you to jump in the day of the event, while others require pre-registration.
- Familiarize yourself with the technology being used. You may have to download an app if you've never used the system before.
- Review the employers/professionals who will be attending before joining the event if possible.
During the Event
- While attending virtual events be prepared to answer questions (tell me about yourself, what brought you here, why are you studying that, etc) and contribute to the conversation.
- As with traditional networking, think about what you want the outcome to be (ie: meet someone new, learn about an organization, etc).
- Be respectful of time. You may only have a set amount of time within each networking "room."
- Ask for contact information to stay connected.
After the Event
- Be sure to follow up with those you connected with.
- Follow the employers/organizations you connected with on LinkedIn and Handshake.
- It's okay to reach out every few months with updates on what's new and to ask questions.
While the location of a virtual interview may be different than an in person one, the same rules apply when it comes to preparation. Be sure to review our Interviewing page to learn more about how to connect your skills and experiences to the position. Below are some tips on how to make sure your space is ready to shine in upcoming virtual interviews!
Think About Location
- Consider, what is in the background of your video?
- Clean up, move furniture if you have to and make your background look professional.
- Prop your computer up so it’s at eye level. You should be about an arms-length from the camera and your eyes about 2/3 from the bottom of the screen.
- Sitting in front of a window so you’re facing the window is the best option. If that’s not possible, then set up lighting or lamps in front of you.
- The main thing to avoid is being backlit. This is when the majority of your lighting is coming from behind you, like if your back was to a window, because it will put you in shadow.
- Companies will use a variety of platforms to host a virtual interview (Skype, Zoom, Google, etc.).
- Beforehand make sure to download the chosen platform and have a friend call you on it to check that it’s working correctly.
- Even though it’s virtual, you still want to dress to impress.
- There is no such thing as overdressing for an interview.
- It might not seem necessary, but professional pants are recommended on the off chance that you need to stand up.
Succeeding in a Virtual Workplace
Take your work seriously
- If possible, create a work space for yourself free from distractions and interruptions.
- Always give 100%- no matter what the task.
- Ask for new projects. Supervisors may underestimate the amount of time it takes to complete a project without workplace distractions.
- Take initiative. It’s always good to look for things that need to be done.
Learn the culture
- Attend all orientations offered and read all available onboarding handbooks
- Observe everything…what people wear, how they interact with each other, and proper virtual meeting etiquette
- When in doubt, ask questions if you are unsure of anything
- Maintain open communication. Regular, ongoing communication is vital to working remotely. This helps ensure you are on the right track, and allows for questions and feedback with your supervisor.
- Get to know everyone- even those outside your department. Set up short, virtual informational meetings. This is a great way to learn more about the organization and possibly develop a mentor.
- Dress for the job you want. Just because your boss might wear shorts and t-shirts, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Be observant of what others wear, especially those in positions of leadership- even if you only see them from the neck up.
- Learn a new skill. Even if your position isn’t exactly what you thought it might be, it’s important to know that you walked away learning something new.
- Stay connected. It’s great if an internship can turn into a permanent position, but that doesn’t always happen right away. Maintain relationships with those you worked with as they will likely keep you posted on upcoming openings, and may also serve as a reference for you.