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  • We're all looking at a summer of armchair internships and kitchen co-working spaces.

  • But, what happens after that?

  • Today, we're tackling networking.

  • I'm Nicole Ellis, and this is The New Normal.

  • Trying to build the kinds of relationships that will take your career to the next level is a lot of pressure.

  • Add a pandemic to the mix and it's even more complicated.

  • But that doesn't necessarily have to stop you.

  • Here are five tips to set yourself up for success for when lockdown is over.

  • Tip one is reach out.

  • The way we connect with each other has completely changed.

  • And that actually means that right now is a great time to connect with people.

  • Because they're no longer out having coffee, lunch, dinners or networking with other people.

  • They're all at home just like you.

  • Tip two is get personal, within reason.

  • Being professional doesn't mean that you're impervious to the world around you.

  • And being a little vulnerable might foster an even stronger connection.

  • Now is the time that you can get more personal with folks and ask people how they're feeling.

  • And it also shows that you're aware of what's happening around you.

  • And it's not just all about your job search.

  • And that's going to be very refreshing when people are anxious and distracted and incredibly busy.

  • Asking thoughtful questions and being a part of someone's support system, even as a potential hire, makes you more memorable.

  • People will want to be around other people that make them feel like, "Yes, this is a going to be okay."

  • So to the extent that you can really demonstrate that kind of calm and confidence that things will get better that's actually going to help you and differentiate you as a job seeker.

  • Tip three is get specific.

  • Have a clear idea of why you're talking to this person and what you want to get out of the conversation.

  • The good rules of networking still apply.

  • When you approach someone, you want to be specific about why you're contacting them.

  • Tip four is know your value, even from the couch.

  • Remember that work experience comes in a lots of different forms, not just from being in an office.

  • Hiring managers know that they'll be looking at your full body of work, which includes volunteering, extracurricular activities, school projects, and sports.

  • So take note of the things that you've done and how you can apply them to a different setting.

  • Finally, tip five is be yourself.

  • Authenticity is your greatest asset, and it's what people will remember most.

  • For more stories like this one, find us on or washingtonpost. com

We're all looking at a summer of armchair internships and kitchen co-working spaces.

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