When I speak with students the most common anxieties expressed surrounding networking all have to do with meeting people in person and not knowing what to say to them (these things can be taught and do get easier over time!). While I don’t normally look for ways to help students avoid actually speaking to a live person, a great way to get started with networking that may not be so nerve-racking is by utilizing LinkedIn. It can also be an especially helpful tool during the summer when students are often on vacation and potentially not interacting with classmates, professors, or professional contacts on a regular basis. So if your question is, “I can network without actually speaking to anyone in person!?” The answer is yes, yes you can! And what better time to do it than when you’re on break from school.
I won’t go into detail as to exactly how to use LinkedIn for networking, for that I can simply point you to CCD On Demand, UConn’s bank of career videos.
If you’re not at all familiar with LinkedIn you can:
- Visit www.linkedin.com to learn more
- Read this helpful LinkedIn Profile Checklist (PDF)
- Read How to Utilize LinkedIn in Your Job Search (PDF)
Once you’ve viewed the video and these resources you can use your smartphone or computer from the beach, couch, pool, or wherever you are to get started networking right away, without the awkward in person interactions. Take advantage of an opportunity to create an online network that you can use when you return to campus this fall!