Maximize Your Connections at Virtual Networking Events

In light of the upcoming AAMC Medical School Virtual Fair (on February 4th), we wanted to take a moment and highlight some helpful tips and important updates in virtual networking.

Don’t let the ease of attendance lead you to believe that an online fair is something passive; it’s quite the contrary. Because the connections you are going to make are not in person, you have less leverage in terms of making yourself memorable. That means you have to double down on the resources you do have and work hard to make your time count.

We have some places for you to start.

  • AAMC released a helpful list of 10 steps you should take before, during, and after a virtual fair to get the most out of the experience. Here are the highlights: 
    • Research- Know the fair’s attendees and the right questions to ask BEFORE attending.  
    • Presentation- Many online fairs have video chat capabilities, so be sure that you are dressed professionally (just in case).
    • Patience and professionalism- Aside from dressing well, make sure that you are using proper grammar when communicating with professionals, and address them using the correct title (Dr., Mrs., etc.). Don’t repeat your question if they don’t answer immediately; know that they are receiving questions from many attendees.
    • Take notes and follow up- Notes will be helpful when you follow up with your new connections. Read on below. 
  • CAREERREALISM has a short and handy list of tips for following up after a networking event (virtual or traditional). Be sure to:
    • Connect- Regardless of your method (email, LinkedIn), make it happen within 24 hours of the networking event.
    • Put personal motives (somewhat) aside- Show your new connection that you can provide something valuable to them, perhaps by connecting them with someone else or by sending an interesting article related to a conversation you had.
    • Let technology help you- Use LinkedIn and other networking apps to connect quickly, remember important details about new connections, and assist with planning further follow-up actions or meetings with your new connections.
  • Finally, before you attend a networking event, familiarize yourself with LinkedIn’s newest features and use them to your advantage. This one’s my favorite:

A more connected job search- When you search for a company on LinkedIn or look at a job that a company posted, you will see who at the company you are connected with, and to what degree.

Say you have a second-degree connection with an employee at a company you’d like to work for. You can reach out to your common connection and ask for an introduction, which can often lead to a first-degree connection with an employer at your desired company.

This can be used in a similar way before a networking event, including a virtual medical school fair. After you find out which schools will be at the fair, go to the medical school’s LinkedIn page and see who you’re connected with. You’ll probably find out that you are closer to an important connection than you think.

 

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Comment by Kevin Beel on February 1, 2016 at 4:48pm

Comment by Kevin Beel on February 1, 2016 at 4:52pm

Great post, thanks, Christina! I've signed up for the virtual conference. This is a great refresher, particularly the highlights on completing pre-event homework and dressing as if going in person. Makes a world of difference.

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