A young woman holding a coffee mug and sitting in front of a laptopNetworking is making connections with people to learn about different industries or careers. It’s also an opportunity to meet people who can hire you for internships and jobs. Even though many of us are physically distancing right now, it’s still possible to network and make connections virtually. And one way to build your network this semester is with Handshake. Here are three tips to help you get started.

Complete your Handshake profile

With virtual networking, your online profile is your first impression. And this may seem obvious, but completing your Handshake profile allows recruiters to understand and connect with you more easily. Plus, completed profiles are five times more likely to be seen by recruiters.

If you can connect with a company through a job posting application, a career fair or event or any other Handshake feature, recruiters from that company will likely check out your profile. Make sure it’s in great shape with these tips for setting up your profile.

Attend virtual events

Virtual events are a great way to connect with employers in a more personal way than a typical career fair. Employers often remember students who attend their events, so this gives you a great “in” with a company. Employers post hundreds of virtual events to Handshake each month. These events range from a company information session to a deep-dive into tech skills. There is likely something posted right now from a company you may be interested in!

When you find an event you’re interested in attending, be sure to prepare for it like you would a career fair. Research the company and think of questions to ask the employer. Practice your elevator pitch to introduce yourself and get the conversation started. And if you receive contact information from a company representative, send them a follow up email after the event.

Use the Q&A feature

Handshake has a community feature where you can connect with students and alumni at other universities. Whether you’re interested in chatting with your fellow students or recent alumni, this feature is a great way to network. Consider setting up short informational interviews via phone or video chat to help you learn about potential career paths and different industries.

Another fantastic feature is Handshake Q&A. This feature allows you to pose questions to the Handshake community, and employers and students can respond to these questions. There are hundreds of great questions and answers you can already browse through, such as, “What does it take to do well at KPMG?” and “What is the work-life balance at Epic?” Be sure to follow Handshake’s community guidelines for peer messaging when connecting with students, alumni and employers.

For more tips about networking virtually, meet with a career development advisor. Career Services is open for virtual visits via Zoom, phone or LiveChat on the Career Services website Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Learn more about virtual appointments and drop-in hours.