Attending college online has many important advantages, especially for working adults with busy schedules. Compared to traditional college, online education can be more affordable, much more flexible, and can offer more career-focused practical degrees.
However, some students may feel that a disadvantage of online education is a lack of in-person communication and relationships. One major benefit of college overall is networking: meeting new people who may be able to introduce you to new opportunities.
Fortunately, these days networking isn’t something that only happens offline. There are many amazing opportunities to meet new people and develop relationships online. For those of you planning to attend an online university, the tips below will help you take advantage of online learning without missing out on networking.
Focus on Social Media
This one is obvious – the best tool for managing relationships and meeting new people online is social media, of course! However, using social media professionally isn’t exactly the same as simple personal use. Put away the Facebook memes and cat pictures, and focus on social strategies that reflect your professional ambitions. Building a strong LinkedIn profile is critical. Likewise, many industry thought leaders often share content on Twitter – following the top people in your industry can help you join that important conversion. Finally, social media websites like Quora allow you to answer questions asked by others, which is a great way to showcase your expertise.
Start Your Own Blog
Starting your own website and blog is a fantastic way to broadcast yourself as a thought leader and grow your personal network. Focus on creating new content based on what you’ve learned in school and where you want your career to go. Share your blog posts with people you know, and always respond to any comments posted on your blog.
Leverage Your Existing Network
When you’re building a new network, don’t forget about the people you already know! Everyone has an existing network, from family members, to old friends, former colleagues, and beyond. Reach out to people who already know you and reestablish contact. You never know who in your current network might be able to make a critical introduction or recommendation to help in your job search or future career.
Always Look for New Opportunities
Being proactive is a critical part of successful networking. You can’t just wait and hope that great contacts will come your way – you’ve got to go out and meet them. Look for relevant conferences in your industry – some might offer a student discount. Check meetup.org for relevant groups in your area. Volunteer to help at a relevant industry event. Finally, if you can’t find a relevant group to join to event to attend, consider creating one! You’ll probably meet lots of other people just like you who are seeking new opportunities.
Attending an online college doesn’t have to be a solitary endeavor. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to harness the benefits of online learning, while also building a strong personal network that will serve you throughout your future career. For more tips on online learning and online university programs, please contact the team at Patten University today.