With the anticipated end of social distancing and statewide stay-at-home up in the air, it’s time to expand our professional networking strategies. Phone, email, and videoconferences have all been available for years, but how can they be leveraged differently in today’s world of mandated virtual-learning and WFHing? What other tools and resources can be used to maintain a growing network when you’re directed to stay away from other people?
One of the biggest changes that law students can take advantage of is the surge in activity of online forums and discussion boards. With so many people stuck at home behind their keyboards, many online communities have exploded with renewed activity. Doing a quick search for discussion boards in fields you’re interested in can yield dozens of communities with a wide range of experts, some of whom may be willing to offer their personal insights if you reach out to them. Take this opportunity to connect with individuals from around the world whom you wouldn’t normally have access to.
Using the expertise you’ve gained from attending virtual classes this week, put that knowledge to further use and attend online conferences. Many conferences, lectures, and symposiums around the world are now being hosted online to avoid outright cancellation. Whether they’re hosted on Zoom, Webex, On24, or another virtual meeting platform, law students can seek out these opportunities and take advantage of the lack of travel time and expenses typically associated with attending these events. If you do attend a virtual conference, be sure to browse the participant list (if visible) and reach out to anyone that grabs your attention. Most video conferencing platforms allow you to chat with specific participants, and you can always try to find their contact information online if chat features are disabled.
Luckily, it’s not necessary to change all of your networking strategies. Some things that you can be doing on a regular basis include updating your LinkedIn profile and staying in contact with your current connections. The time normally spent commuting to work and school can now be used to maintain your online presence and re-connecting with professional contacts. Doing a little bit each day (even just 5-10 minutes) can make all the difference once the world returns to normalcy, and will also help to keep you on employers’ radars. Tune into the ABA’s webinar on April 17 to learn more about creating your personal brand and making your online presence work for you.
Just as you should consistently maintain your online presence and stay in contact with current connections, reaching out to mentors in McGeorge’s Alumni Advisor Network should be on your to-do list. Now that we have all been forced to slow down a bit, it’s the perfect time to finally get in touch with our experienced and insightful mentors. Exchange emails, have a phone call, or FaceTime them; you can do everything you normally would when seeking mentorship except physically meet.
For assistance with any of these tips or further advice on how to put them into action, the CDO is here to support you however we can, and is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.