Networking 101: COVID Edition

By Kanaiya Lakhani

As a result of COVID-19, new norms have formed in terms of work, communication, and leisure. One aspect of everyday life that has undoubtedly changed is networking. Networking can often be a mystery, and it has become particularly difficult to communicate with one another in recent months.

Still, although personal, face-to-face communication may seem unlikely for the near future, there are ways in which you can make the most of your time through online participation. Here are some top tips!

1. Connect on LinkedIn

Lockdown has given us the perfect opportunity to increase our online presence, be it through updating information on our CV or developing our social media engagement. However, as well as contributing to the aesthetic of your Instagram feed, why not refine your LinkedIn profile also? LinkedIn provides an excellent chance to network as it allows us to connect with family, peers, and experienced professionals. There’s no need to be shy when it comes to sending a connection request – even if you do not know them personally, many welcome a personalised message about a common interest or experience. Once you have crafted a good quality profile (as guided by the website’s introductory tips), you will be able to connect with those who share similar aspirations, allowing you to develop interpersonal and communicative skills. One tip would be to keep your LinkedIn as professional as possible – recruiters and prospective employers often utilise this website. Presenting yourself as someone who, for instance, thinks critically or makes the most out of opportunities could make all the difference as to whether you receive a message or connection request. Consistent, dynamic activity is also key – remember, a static profile likely draws less attention than one which interacts with posts and provides insightful content!

2. Join group chats!

Now more than ever, students are creating a plethora of formal and informal group chats. Using their initiative, they are maximising inclusivity by doing so on multiple apps, including Telegram and WhatsApp. This has proven to be a fantastic opening for students to network, promoting interaction between people from varying stages of their law careers. Advice, experiences, and interests are shared. Solicitors and firms have also created similar chats to

assist in the communication of tips, desirable skills, and useful commentary. Such opportunities may arise, for example, when joining a group chat with other individuals who have been accepted onto the same virtual scheme as you. Struggling to find one? Then create one! It would be a brilliant opportunity to take the lead and assist others in the same position. One way in which group chats have aided students and legal enthusiasts is through the ability to share and swap notes from attended webinars. Everyone helps each other; it is what networking is all about! Send your LinkedIn URLs, ask questions, share experiences – one group chat can always lead to another.

3. Virtual Internships

A final recommendation would be to make use of the many virtual internships available. Law firms, especially, have done a fantastic job of providing content that allows students to experience tasks likely to be undertaken within a firm. They have also assisted in the cultivation and improvement of commercial awareness. Relevant websites in which internships can be accessed include InsideSherpa, Werkabee, and Bright Network. And if you’re wondering how to network when undertaking these internships, the answer is simple: let others know! This can be done by posting on your LinkedIn, asking to join group chats specific to the internship, as well as checking up on fellow interns or contributors once the scheme is complete. This may seem daunting, but as mentioned above, students and professionals are often welcoming. It’s also important to note that some internships can be done in your own time, providing you with HR emails from your chosen firm after each task is submitted. This may be helpful as it offers the potential for clarity, both when presenting questions related to the task, as well as general enquiries.

Overall, the key takeaway is to take initiative - this is what will help you stand out. You never know where one connection request, conversation, or virtual internship may lead.

If you have any further questions concerning this article, please do not hesitate to ask. Happy networking!


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