How to Network Virtually

By Rebecca Reuland, Internship and Career Advisor

Networking is easier than ever! We are all on our devices all day so why not take advantage of that and network virtually!? As a student, it can be helpful to start connecting with folks who are in interesting roles. Learn about their career journey and gain valuable insights into your industry. They may be able to connect you with other folks or even recommend you for a position down the line. LinkedIn is a great platform to utilize for those interested in full-time roles with companies. Instagram can be helpful for folks that do freelance work or want to find other creatives to collaborate with. Here is how to start: 

Start engaging in your industry: 

  • Follow your favorite brands and companies on social media 
  • Connect with Industry hubs. Local hubs as 2112, 1871, mhub, General Assembly offer free workshops and events.  
  • Research professional organizations in your industry. Sign up for newsletters and follow them on social media.  
  • Find Interest groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other platforms 
  • Connect with your Columbia community- alums, faculty, staff, and fellow students.  

Who do you connect with on LinkedIn? 

  • Utilize our alumni network. Search Columbia College Chicago and click on alumni to find the plethora of alums. You can search by company or role to find relevant folks.  
  • Connect with recruiters and HR folks at companies you want to work at.  
  • Connect with folks who are in a role you might like to have.  
  • Panelists from events 
  • LinkedIn Groups 

How do you connect with someone on LinkedIn? Always send a note along with your request to connect.  

Focus on the five P’s in order to enhance the possibility of connecting with professionalsPolite, Personalized, Professional, Praiseful, and Pertinent. 

Note example: 

Hi Jamie. My name is Alex Martinez and I am a Cinema major at Columbia College Chicago. As an aspiring editor I am impressed and inspired by your career path. I would love to connect with you. 

Example note for connecting with folks after an event you attend:  

As a (insert major) student looking to learn more about the industry, I would love to connect. I recently attended xx event and loved your perspective on x. Thanks for sharing! 

You have connected, now what? Think about asking for an informational interview.  

An informational interview is an opportunity to reach out to professionals and hear their career story. It is a way to build your network and begin professional relationships. Send a brief email with a request to talk and share how you are connected. Ask for a brief meeting to be respectful of their time. 

Use the TIARA method for inspiration on what to ask.  

T– trends in their industry.  

I– Insights they have on work.  

A– Advice for you.  

R– resource suggestions.  

A– Assignments at work they enjoy 

Do not simply ask for a job. Follow up with an email and give updates on internship or job search, and share a project you completed.  

Keep up the connection 

  • Post/comment regularly on LinkedIn.  
  • Share and provide insight on relevant articles. 
  • Reach out to get feedback on your resume, cover letter, or portfolio. Pick one, not all at the same time. 

The goal is to build a sustainable professional relationship! 

Connecting on Instagram or other social media platforms. 

  • Keep it professional!  
  • Audit your feed, do you want potential clients or employers viewing those images? 
  • It is a community! Engage and connect with other artists, groups, professional organizations, etc… 
  • Keep DM’s short, specific, and with a direct ask. 

DM example: 

Hi Jordan,  

I am Maya Robinson, a lifestyle photographer based in Chicago. I really enjoyed your recent story on fall fashion and the incorporation of pets. My website is Would you have time for a brief meeting so that I can connect more with you? 

Don’t just say: 

Hi, it’s me and I’d love to work with you sometime! 

Want to learn more? Join our How to Network Virtually workshop. Register here.