All throughout college, your professors, classmates, and professional engineers working in-the- field tell you that networking is important. But it can be harder in practice than in theory, because socializing can be awkward, and at the end the workday, many of us would rather be watching Netflix on the couch than attending networking cocktail hours. However, networking can be critical to career success in a variety of ways.
Many members of the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers (NJSPE) are looking to take the next step in their careers. That step does not have to be underscored by a painful online search for new positions. A smart career move is to expand ones’ professional network because in the job market it is often less about what you know than who you know.
The relationships you make at networking events are important, but they do not require hours of preparation or in-depth knowledge about the specifics within your industry. Engaging someone in a 15-minute conversation about your interests and career goals at a mixer can help get your name noticed on an application and during the interview process. Imagine what active engagement in a community of professional engineers could mean for your career.
In addition to increasing your name recognition in the job market, networking can be a reminder that you are not alone on your career path. When you join professional associations, and take advantage of networking opportunities, you gain access to an in-crowd of like-minded individuals. There are innumerable opportunities to collaborate with your peers, learn best practices, share your concerns, and ask questions.
Professional associations such as NJSPE provide members with networking opportunities both online and in-person. For more information on events and membership, visit http://njspe.org/.