Tips for Making Connections in the Virtual World

Networking in the digital world can be overwhelming and scary for everyone, especially if you're just starting out. Worry not! The RGD Student Committee has compiled a list of tips and tricks to help set you up for a career-long networking journey.


If you want to see a quick and fun Instagram reel by Committee Member Alessandra Crupi Student RGD click here or check out detailed tips below:  
Make a LinkedIn Profile
Creating a LinkedIn profile can be a great first step to networking. LinkedIn allows you to connect with fellow designers, industry professionals and others to see what they're up to, discuss career path and see who’s hiring. Build your profile with a professional profile image, your name and past work experience to get started! If you want to learn more about the power of networking on LinkedIn and Instagram, be sure to attend Tara Clark’s talk on How A Professional Social Media Presence Is Key For Landing Your Dream Role at Creative Directions.
Invite Professionals for virtual Coffee Chats
Have a designer you admire but don’t know how to start a conversation online? Invite them to a virtual coffee where the two of you can talk about their career and experiences in the industry. When reaching out, be professional, introduce yourself and inquire whether they are free to talk sometime soon. Remember to:
  • Make sure to explain what about their career and their work inspired you to reach out.
  • Make sure to have interesting and engaging questions prepared to keep the conversation flowing.
  • At the end of the meeting be sure to thank them for their time and ask to add them on LinkedIn to keep the conversation going. 
Build an Online Portfolio
It is an essential tool for networking and job-hunting to post your projects online and share them on social media. Platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok are great places to share your work in a variety of formats. Make sure to engage with anyone who comments on your work. You can also engage with others and their work. Leave a nice comment on someone's work you admire, follow them or send them a direct message. 
Join virtual Design Groups and attend virtual Events
The RGD's Emerging Designers Discord is available to Student RGDs, as well as Provisional RGDs and Junior Affiliates. It is a great place to connect with colleagues, share work and get feedback. If you're interested in joining the Discord check out the Members-only section of the website for more information. 
There are also a ton of virtual conferences you can attend to make connections with people in the design industry. RGD's Creative Directions is taking place virtually from February 14 to 18. With keynotes by Debbie Millman and Lauren Hom, the program features live presentations covering a range of topics from Gaining Confidence as a Designer to Freelancing, and much more. The event also offers one-on-one virtual portfolio reviews with a list of over 50 reviewers. Be sure to ask presenters like Toni Brown and Diana Varma all your burning questions about starting out in the industry. While you're at events like these don't be afraid to reach out to people through private messaging on the platforms, it's akin to approaching someone in person after a talk or in a coffee line. Curious about Creative Directions check out the event here.
Remember forging connections is a skill and the more you do it the better you’ll get, so we hope these tips will buff out your career toolkit as you begin your journey as a designer!
Alessandra Crupi Student RGD, OCAD University - Instagram Reel
Madeline Belford Student RGD, Conestoga College (Bachelor of Design) - Article
Rupsha Mutsuddi Student RGD, Conestoga College (Advanced Graphic Design Diploma) -  Article & Image
Student RGDs interested in joining the Committee can email at  .