The Social Runner: Networking for the Engineer

Running is usually a solo practice but sometimes you just want to be around others.  Joining a running group can help you achieve your personal goals.  These groups give runners the opportunity to socialize with other runners allowing them to find out about methods for improvement, races they may not have known about, and access to coaches that can improve your abilities.  These groups are the best way to network with runners of all abilities.

For engineers’, networking is a must and not just something that is needed when looking for a career change.  Through networking you maintain connection that can help you promote new engineering concepts and ideas, acquire information that may help in solving an engineering problem, and have a mentor to contact who can help you make it to the next milestone in your goals. Most engineers identify themselves as introverts, which hinders our ability to communicate with others. Here are some need-to-know networking tips to help engineers make the most out of their connections.

Find a Mentor:  Mentorships are beneficial to young engineers, because they provide seasoned veterans and new professionals with an opportunity to learn from each other.  This is a great starting point for building a network by having a strong connection with someone in your industry. Mentors can help expand a new engineer’s knowledge in addition to improving their intercommunication skill.  Interaction with an experienced engineer as your mentor can enhance skills that aren’t always called upon, such as leadership and communication.

Join a Professional Engineering Group: Organizations such as TMS were created for two main reasons, sharing knowledge and connecting people.  A professional such as myself has about four organizational memberships. Through these memberships you will have the ability to attend meetings and events, stay continuously connected through the organization blogs and emails, and become more involved in your industry.  If you are trying to create long-lasting relationships in your field, consider joining a committee or serving on a board. Not only will it give you an opportunity to be a leader, but it will help boost your communication skills.

Attend Conferences/Trade Shows: Conferences and Trade Shows bring persons of the same professional background to one location.  This promotes great opportunities for face to face interaction with people in your industry. Key leaders of your industry will be available to discuss topics during these events; use the breakout session to talk to these individuals so your name can become more known.  If you are willing to pitch a presentation, do so.  This will allow you to share your research experience and position yourself as an expert in your field.  Make sure you obtain contact information and trade business cards

Always be prepared with a Personal Pitch:  You will never know when a network opportunity can happen.  Be ready for the surprise opportunity by having a brief pitch prepared about who you are.  This pitch should be short, focused, and Strong.  Include information of your experience, interests, and career path.

Use a LinkedIn Account: LinkedIn is the social media platform that engineers are taking advantage of.  Groups on LinkedIn allow users with common interest to share content, ask questions, share knowledge and identify themselves in their industry.  I personal like to use it as my business card holder.  After I acquire a business card from a new contact, I add them to my LinkedIn following.

How do you network? Please share a comment.

Author: Natalie Grace Keyser

I am a dedicated Quality/Technology Manager, driven Metallurgical Engineer, Supporter of Future Professional. My professional personality shows in my running, where I will not back down from a challenge or slow down before the finish line is reached.

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