Making the Right Connections Post-Graduation in COVID Times

By Cameron Smith, Associate

A perfect resume and cover letter along with a long list of credentials may look good on paper but effective networking is how a graduate can set themselves apart from others. Prior to the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus, networking was a cornerstone of the job search, and while it remains arguably one of the most important parts of the process, it’s safe to say that how graduates form relationships with professional contacts may have to change. Here are some ideas to consider.

Ways to connect:

  • In-person meetings: of course, meeting in person is ideal if it is safe. Whether it is an informal meeting, like grabbing coffee, or a more formal prearranged office meeting, you will want to take advantage of the time they are willing to give.
  • Phone call or video call: setting up a time and link for a video call shows interest and confidence, and chances are, contacts will be more willing to talk considering they will not have to carve out an hour and trek across town to meet up for coffee.
  • Think beyond meeting up: people are more active than ever online so now is a great time to use platforms like LinkedIn to your advantage. In today’s world, a detailed and active profile can be extremely impressive and useful for someone you may not personally know. By continually updating your profile and connecting with mutual contacts, this platform will allow you to expand your professional circle.

Networking tips that will never change:

  • While networking: if you are able to set up a time to chat keep in mind the importance of asking thoughtful questions when meeting with someone more senior than you. One way to help accomplish this is by doing thorough research on the person’s background and employer. An engaging, thoughtful conversation is key to developing an immediate and maybe, a lifelong, contact.
  • Follow-up: once you have met with a contact, following up and keeping them close and familiar with your professional developments is paramount. This may mean creating a running email list of your contacts so you can update them if you are beginning a temporary job or internship, still on the job hunt, or even better, if you’ve landed a job.

One final piece of advice: everyone has been in your position before and while you might be job hunting during an exceptional time, your superiors still understand the time-sensitivity around finding a job after graduation. Hence, you should not fear a follow-up email to show your interest in setting up a time to connect.

That being said, regardless of the impacts a global pandemic has had on the business world, effective networking will continue to remain a key to unlocking potential opportunities, not just now, but throughout your professional career.