Networking Do's For Engineers

Research has shown that most jobs are ‘hidden jobs'-this is because only 5 to 25% of all job vacancies are actually advertised. So if these jobs are not on newspaper classifieds, internet job boards or any other place where jobs would usually be advertised, how are they actually filled? The answer lies in one word-networking. As an engineer looking for a job, knowing this is important because it enables you to put your effort where it really matters if you are to have access to the best engineering job opportunities. There are several principles that one must take cognizance of a number of which are discussed below.

First, the ‘do's'. Networking is about talking to not only as many people as possible and letting them know that you are looking for a job but the ‘right' people. You need to take an inventory of where and how you can establish relevant industry contacts. And it is not that difficult and neither do you have to be an extraordinary extrovert. You can start to build your network from many fronts - start with your former classmates, internship work colleagues, friends and family. Try to gather as much information as you can from them on what it takes to succeed in an engineering career. Also important is that you should use any contact you have to link you to another contact - get them to give you additional referrals to include in your list. Before long, you will be amazed at the level of contracts you will have developed.

Consider not only joining but participating in an engineering professionals association. These can be one of the most effective tools for networking as they give you access to persons already working in the industry. Make use of the power of the internet too. Join engineering focused online forums and chat rooms. Another ideal ‘do' is finding a mentor that can help train you in the basics of networking but also introduce you to influential persons in the industry. That said, you should not consider not having a mentor as a drawback. You can start networking on your own and still have great success as you learn along the way.


Gail Esparan