Grow Your Network
with the


If you are still a little hesitant about networking, here’s more for you to think about.

First, it’s easy. Networks consist of linked individuals. All you need to do to get started is press a key to ask an individual in the Community to join your network. As an ice-breaker, it’s smart to have questions in your field you think this person can help you with. Keep in mind that most people welcome being asked and are happy to help.

Then, if you get a “yes” (more likely than not), you can send a personal note thanking him or her. That’s it! You’ve widened your network.

One caution: be selective. This isn’t a numbers game. For your network, seek people who share your professional interests. The same holds true the other way around: participants you contact will be receptive to joining your network if they think it’s relevant to them.

Second, you’re not targeting huge masses of people. Engineering is a comparatively small profession, containing even smaller specialties within it. The population in the Community you might want to consider for your network isn’t likely to be dauntingly large. Quality, not quantity.

Third, precisely because ours is a Community of and for engineers, finding people in your areas of interest can be quick and easy. This isn’t LinkedIn or some other social media site; it’s a tailor-made pool of your fellow professionals. When you send an invitation, you won’t be inundated with irrelevant responses.

(One note: remember to put your background in your Community profile. You want to be a source of answers as well as a seeker of them.)

Fourth, remember one critical characteristic you have in common with anyone you approach. Not only are you both engineers, you’ve both taken the additional step of joining the Community. Your prospective invitee is already a kindred spirit.

Fifth, consider your career. It’s safe to say most leaders in any field have found networking an essential tool for personal and professional growth. As an engineer, you don’t just have a job. You have a career. And networking is a time-honored way successful people move their careers forward—widen their circle of acquaintances, make close friends of some, and become better at what they do by learning from those who are more experienced. This is a resource too powerful for you to ignore.

Finally, there’s the old-fashioned way: actually talking to live people. Consider making a list of questions to ask at a conference. Make sure you approach individuals knowledgeable in those fields. And each time you do this—tap somebody on the shoulder at a conference—you’ll see it gets easier.

And your network will grow stronger.

There’s no time like now! Sign in to your Community Profile and flex your networking skills.

Learn more about the benefits of being a part of the Community.


December 2014

by Charles Marshall