The Importance of Networking for Engineers

Would you like to add Tim Cook to your LinkedIn network? How about Sundar Pichai, Elon Musk, or Sir Richard Branson? It would be wonderful, of course, but connecting with the big names in the industry might not be as helpful as most people think. If you are an engineer trying to expand your networks and  gain industry knowledge, you are better off starting with the people you know. Understanding the importance of networking will help you expand your sphere of influence and excel in your engineering career.

A lot of professionals including engineers believe that networking is all about following the industry-leading experts on social media sites, commenting on their updates, etc. Sure you can learn a thing or two about the latest trend by following them, but it won’t be of much help. These big names are already famous for what they do. By being a part of their vast networks, you are actually helping their cause and not yours.

If you really want to use your network to spark new ideas and fast-track your way up the corporate ladder, start with your colleagues, former project managers, developers and other acquaintances in your industry.


The importance of networking

Let’s begin by stressing on an old adage – “It’s not about what you know, but who you know.” Ask your senior manager, team leader, or a colleague which skills helped them excel in their professional careers – a vast majority of the responses will have one thing in common: personal networking. The potential benefits of establishing a strong network are seemingly endless. These are some of the many reasons to consider personal networking for improving your engineering career.

  • 1. Guidance: Whether you are a budding developer or a veteran engineer, you should never underestimate the importance of guidance. Building and maintaining a strong network of relevant contacts will help you grow your knowledge, become more ingrained industry, align you with others who have more knowledge and experience and provide you with the opportunity to mentor someone more junior.

  • 2. Opportunities: Maintaining a far-reaching network could open the door to countless opportunities. Even if you are not someone who likes to jump at new opportunities, you might learn something about a position that can give your career a jump start or even help you pursue a new direction.

  • 3. Growth: Professional growth holds the key to a lustrous career and your extended, well-maintained network can help you with that. Your contacts can provide you with an outlet for learning new skills. By acquiring better skills, you are likely to reach new heights in your professional life.

  • 4. Resources: You can utilize your personal network as a resource center to explore new learning opportunities, business prospects, and more. A well-maintained network will explode with information that can be used by engineers to land better jobs, brainstorm new ideas, or start a new business altogether!

The importance of networking for career development can’t be overlooked. It’s up to you to make the most out of it.


Some tips to networking

Now that you understand the importance of networking; it’s time to cultivate a strong network and maximize your career growth with these five simple tips.

  • Identify influential people: It’s good to add every colleague and friend in your sector to your network. However, identifying the core contacts, which you know personally, and adding them to your network is even better.

  • Create a win/win situation: There’s nothing wrong in mailing your professional contacts and asking for help, but it’s important to remember that it’s a two-way street.  To build a long-term relationship, make sure both parties have something to gain from your networking connection.

  • Offer some help: If you feel an engineer you know is struggling in his or her career, don’t wait for them to ask for help; offer support. He or she is likely to return the favor some day.

  • Be a connector: Introducing people who can mutually benefit each other is a good way to create multiple connections at once and expand your personal network.

Personal networking can propel your career in the right direction, help you acquire new skills, and expand your web of professional contacts. So, spend some time on personal and professional social networking Websites, evaluate your existing network and start bridging the gaps today!

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