The higher ed networking world has changed substantially in the last decade and especially in the previous year. Networking events and live conferences have been replaced by endless Zoom calls, Slack channels, and likes and shares on social media.
While nothing beats face-to-face talks and a solid handshake, virtual networking can connect higher education professionals to more peers across the country and the world — but first, they have to stand out among the millions of others online. Luckily, all it takes to build your professional network in this virtual world are a few tweaks to your profile, some bold moves, and new platforms. Here’s a few tips to enhance your higher ed networking:
LinkedIn Profile Updates
LinkedIn is arguably the most well-known spot online for higher Ed networking, and it’s much more than scrolling through job updates. LinkedIn profiles are a powerful way to create a professional “brochure” of experience and accomplishments — like a virtual business card. Important areas of profiles include:
- Custom header image
- Descriptive headline with what you do, not just your title
- Links to publications or research articles
- Professional profile image
These four areas are often overlooked; adding customized information is critical.
Consistency is also key to growing a stellar higher ed networking profile. Take on a challenge to post valuable information every day for a month on LinkedIn or Twitter. The conversations that start hold tremendous value.
Be Bold Online
The ability to jump into conversations with anyone at any time is one marked difference between online networking and in-person networking. For instance, LinkedIn offers Premium members the ability to message almost any member. On Twitter, users can have conversations with perfect strangers in the higher ed networking world.
For some, the boldness of online networking can feel uncomfortable, but for genuine networking and discussions, most individuals appreciate new conversations with peers. Find interesting discussions and strike up your networking with those involved. Instead of waiting until the next conference, online networking allows similar networking with higher education professionals across the country.
Join New Platforms
Technology has encouraged the virtual networking pivot, and higher ed networking platforms are growing by leaps and bounds. There is a group for every type of higher education professional beyond the typical social media channels.