This is a guest blog by Holly Welles
In many professions, it’s easy to find a mentor, primarily when you work with those who have years of experience. Unfortunately, this often isn’t the case for construction workers and engineers, as more and more young people enter the field every year. Mentors are a valuable resource for many as they provide insight, guidance, and career opportunities. Here are a few ways you can seek out mentorship in construction and engineering.
Think About Your Goals
Many of us think mentorship in construction and engineering requires expertise. In most cases, this is true, but remember that mentors exist for several different reasons.
Ultimately, these reasons depend on your goals. Do you want someone to introduce you to a new sector of engineering? Or would you rather move up at your current company? Sometimes their position doesn’t matter as long as they can help you meet your objectives.
While a prominent board member may be able to train you in another aspect of the job, your co-worker a few desks down probably has ties, too. You’ll want to choose someone who’s focused on your improvement. Luckily, this doesn’t always have to be a senior member of an organization.
Check With Your Employer
After you determine the type of teacher you want, it’s time to tap into connections you’ve already established. These days, it’s common for construction and engineering companies to offer in-house training programs.
Some companies employ values-based programs like Dr. Michael O’Connor’s “Managing By Values,” making them work in the organizational structure of construction and engineering firms. Others set new employees up with leadership for one-on-one learning or provide periodic career development opportunities.
Ask your supervisor or human resources team about this. Even if there isn’t an existing program, they may be able to direct you to someone who can help you anyway. Colleagues are often more than happy to extend their knowledge — you just have to ask.
Join an Association
For both construction and engineering, there are several national and local societies, all of which can help progress your career. These organizations seek both mentors and mentees throughout the year. They’ll match you up with someone who has anywhere from a bit to a lot more experience than you.
You may even be able to highlight specific areas you want to improve in, so be sure to ask about that if you take this route. There are often requirements and membership fees for joining an association — remember this as you move forward.
Look to Your University
Many people aren’t aware that their college’s alumni association is a terrific resource. Because you’re a graduate, you’re already part of this group. Successful alumni like to give back to their schools through job opportunities and internships.
Search your specific association online and see if there’s anyone relevant you can contact. Offer to take them out for lunch so you can talk shop. This strategy is a super-simple way to develop relationships with people in your field.
What good is social media if you don’t use it to your advantage? LinkedIn is the most popular way to form business connections, so if that interests you, make an account and reach out to some people in your field. Almost everyone has a Facebook or Twitter account — those are handy avenues as well.
Who knows — maybe you can send Elon Musk a message and ask for his help? You never know what’ll happen! Social media has opened up a ton of doors, and with the power of cell phones, your mentor doesn’t even need to live in your city.
The Opportunities Are Endless
Mentorships in construction and engineering are plentiful. All you have to do is search for them. Tap into resources like your alma mater’s alumni association, an industry-specific employee society, or the very office you work in. Social media is also an excellent tool for meeting people.
Soon enough, you’ll be on the path to success.
About Holly Welles
Holly Welles is a real estate and construction writer with an interest in emerging market trends. She is the editor behind The Estate Update, and even more of her work can be found via Twitter @HollyAWelles.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share about mentorship in construction and engineering.
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success