Knowledge and skill often extend and expand engineering careers, but sometimes the squeaky wheel needs some amplifying in positive ways. Fortunately, engineers looking for ways to develop their careers and fortify positions can do so easily and simply.
One of the mainstays in any career field, networking with other engineering professionals and firms increases your professional profile among those with whom it counts.
Regardless of your engineering specialty, get to know those in the field and let them get to know you in return. Read their books, magazine articles and reports. Subscribe to their newsletters or e-zines and send comments to them. Ask pertinent questions that spotlight their specialty. Give them professional attention and respect without fawning over them.
Attend professional conferences and seminars. Spend constructive time outside the conference room discussing the presented information, projects and other industry issues. Attending presentations of various forms extends your professional networking into national or international arenas, not just locally. However, if there’s an important conference in or near your city, don’t overlook that silver-platter opportunity.
Join every engineering organization you can find and can afford. Don’t limit yourself to just local organizations and associations but certainly don’t forget about them either.
Start with those that pertain specifically to your specialty. Become active in the association, not just a paying member. Volunteer for positions or tasks within the organization.
Often, your extracurricular activities gain more exposure to your abilities, your attitude and your competency than you might imagine. That exposure creates opinion, and opinion drives positive affect.
Submit a well-written article to a professional publication. Include contact information that meets the publication’s guidelines. Your name in the by-line grants instant professional recognition.
Electronic publications grant additional exposure. E-zine and newsletter owners often welcome contributing authors. Since most electronic publications don’t require long texts that magazines might, e-zine and newsletter publications can be easier to write and submit for consideration.
If the list owners aren’t accepting outside contributions, start your own. Blogs aren’t difficult to start, and if focused on one specialty and presenting highly qualified, relevant content, they can be easily found by someone looking for information you offer.
Creating a blog, maintaining it and keeping it tightly focused—then using the blog in a resource box for publication boosts your blog’s credibility and exposure. It also presents you as an expert in your field—a status that creates greater exposure and development possibilities on a CV and in the industry as a whole.
Volunteer your time and expertise to local charities and causes. If your specialty is civil or electrical engineering, channel that expertise into Habitat for Humanity, for example. Chemical engineers might teach a safety course through the Red Cross on household cleaners. Mechanical engineers can work with youth and adult programs in a number of ways, teaching basic machine design or repair, for example.
Use your skills and knowledge to help your fellow citizens, and you could create a legacy that gains attention of not only those you help directly but of those who oversee the programs and who fund them, potentially cross-networking at high-influence levels.
Engineers are detail-oriented, science-minded individuals. Adapting those highly proficient and necessary skills and traits into a broader range and focus can work to enhance any engineering specialty, increase professional exposure and potentially boost career aspirations.
About the Author
JC Ryan is a freelance writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them understand which online courses and online schools they can choose from to reach their goals.