Networking Tips for Online Students
By Ashford University Staff
One of the many advantages for students pursuing an online degree is the ability to network with classmates, staff, and potential employers at the click of a mouse. Cultivating these relationships is vital to your success in and outside of the classroom, during school, and post-graduation.
Here are some of the ways online students can network with peers and potential employers.
Set Up a Professional LinkedIn Account
LinkedIn has established itself as one of the premier social media networking sites, allowing users to create a professional platform and connect with classmates and companies around the world.
Once you’ve set up your free LinkedIn account, you’ll want to explore all of the networking resources available to members. LinkedIn makes it extremely easy to connect with thought leaders and hiring managers within multiple industries.
Be sure to keep your LinkedIn profile professional. With the various social media outlets available, it’s easy to treat them all the same. However, your LinkedIn profile should be treated like a resume and remain separate from your personal social media accounts.
Participate in Online Discussions
Your online classroom is a great place to network and converse with your peers and professors. As you get comfortable with the online format, you’ll begin to see how easy it is to connect within the classroom.
One of the most popular ways Ashford University students connect online is through the discussion forums inside each of the classrooms.
The forum allows students to discuss, debate, and educate one another on various topics. Each week the professors provide a new and exciting topic for the classmates to dissect and discuss with one another. Take advantage of this great opportunity to introduce yourself, and start a dialog with your online peers.
Reach Out to Career Services
Ashford University’s Career Services department offers students a unique opportunity to expand their professional horizons and network with a Career Services Specialist. Once you connect with one, you’ll gain access to a personalized career planning session to help you reach your professional goals.
Some of the services provided may include one-on-one coaching, resume review, and interview preparedness. As an Ashford University student, these perks are just some of what you can expect from pursuing your education online.
If you want to get ahead, sometimes you need to get in the driver’s seat and make things happen. More than likely, opportunity isn’t going to just fall in your lap. You’ll need to get organized and take action toward improving your current situation.
When it comes to networking, the same principles apply. If you want to connect with classmates or potential employers, odds are you’ll need to be the first one to initiate the relationship which can be done by sending emails, connecting on social media, conversing in the classroom, or even making a phone call.
Many successful individuals accredit their success to the connections they made through networking. New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) President Tom Farley, for example, was quoted saying, “I owe every job I’ve ever had to networking.”
So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You never know what connections the future may hold.
Written by Ben Cummings, Digital Marketing Specialist for Bridgepoint Education.