When you’re part of an online program, like one of the programs offered by WVJC PA Online, taking full advantage of your networking opportunities is essential as your prepare for the next steps in your career.

Our online courses offered in PA are ideal for Pittsburgh-area students looking to tackle new challenges, so with that in mind we’ve compiled this list of networking ideas for the Pittsburgh area and beyond. Check it out!

1. Reach Out to Students in Classes

If your classes feature any in-person sessions, as some of our programs do, then getting to know your fellow students can be greatly beneficial.

Face-to-face meetings can foster real connections, helping you to get to know other people who have similar career goals and who are looking to explore academic opportunities. It’s entirely possible that someone you meet through your classes could become a colleague, a friend, or a valuable contact down the road.

2. Be a Team Player

Some online courses you may take might include collaborative projects with fellow students. When these instances come up, it’s in your best interest to put your best foot forward as a project partner, not just in an effort to ensure a good grade, but to establish worthwhile connections with your peers.

Emails, instant messaging, and other forms of written correspondence are of course useful during team projects and will probably be your team’s go-to, but other platforms like Skype or Google Hangout—which offer video conferencing—can be really helpful as well.

3. Seek Out Groups Related to Your Courses or Program

No matter what your educational focus is, there are communities both online and in-person dedicated to it, and in a city as large as Pittsburgh opportunities should be even more widespread than some areas.

Seeking out these opportunities can be valuable to your future, as group members can give you insights into what to expect in the industry, how to prepare for coursework and fieldwork, what resources are available, and more.

And if you do have trouble in finding such a group in your area, creating one can be quite simple through platforms like Facebook, Meetup, and Craigslist. Scheduling some meetings for those interested in public spots like coffee shops and libraries will be your best bet. Here are a few options in and around Pittsburgh:

4. Develop an Online Community Through LinkedIn and Other Platforms

LinkedIn is a terrific platform for developing relationships and engaging in networking opportunities for your career, so having an up to date, professional profile is important.

Once you have your profile, though, you may also want to explore the LinkedIn groups function which will allow you to craft an online meeting space for likeminded people. Other platforms, like Facebook, have similar capabilities, but since LinkedIn is specifically focused on career development it’s probably your best home for such a group.

Beyond your time in classes, such groups can be worthwhile in helping to maintain and strengthen networking connections you’ve made, and make full use of your status as a WVJC alumnus.

5. Attending Pittsburgh Networking Events and More

Lastly, going beyond online options and attending some area networking events could be really beneficial. Some local possibilities to get you started can be found on:

Along with these possibilities, you could also contact people working within your chosen field and see if you could shadow them on the job, or possibly meet for an informal Q&A session about the industry.

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