Job Search Networking 101 For Engineers

Whether you are looking for your next job opportunity or to advance your engineering career, networking has proven to be the best way to achieve that. Read on to learn more.
Nader Mowlaee

Whether you have career aspirations to advance your engineering job search or you're looking for a more challenging opportunity, getting your next job requires more than applying for a coveted role online.

If you want to enhance your engineering job search, you have to work at it consistently and career networking is the key to achieving this goal. But when you're networking for job search and career success, it is important to have a plan. Here are a few factors to consider and effective tips to use for successful job search networking as an engineer.

Why is Networking Important for Engineers?

Advancing your job search is hardly a feat most engineers achieve on their own. In fact, studies show that most people get their professional jobs through networking. A 2019 survey from marketing firm CivicScience revealed that 31% of its respondents found their jobs via networking through their personal contacts, including 44% of respondents working in the computer, technical and medical fields.

Moreover, 64% of the 1,535 survey respondents were more likely to get their recent roles via an acquaintance within the company or through networking. These figures highlight how vital networking is in discovering new job opportunities.

When you engage in job search networking, you can take advantage of several benefits, too. Job search networking gives you the opportunity to share valuable insight and build your personal brand. You'll also get the chance to create long-term, mutually beneficial relationships.

What Could Happen if You Neglect Building Your Personal Network?

When you neglect to build your personal network, you're missing out on opportunities that can advance your engineering job search. For instance, building your personal network can lead to access to exclusive online networking groups and meeting key stakeholders who can help advance your engineering job search.

Engineers can benefit from using social media platforms to network, too. Yet, engineers often don't take advantage of using social media for job search networking. An IEEE Engineering360 study revealed that engineers use social media primarily for information with 54% of respondents using social media for product reviews compared to 35% using social media to network.

The good news is that this leaves an opportunity for you to leverage your social media network for job search and career development, too. It's crucial for engineers to build a presence on social media networks.

When you have an online presence, it's easier to make valuable connections and share insight with the engineering community. While there are several social networks you can use, LinkedIn often outshines the rest as the best social network for job search networking.

How Will Your Career Improve When You Search for Jobs Via Networking?

Networking can help you accelerate the process of improving your job search. That's because 70-80% of jobs aren't even posted online or via job boards. Networking enables you to connect with other engineers in your industry and keep you up-to-date on events you can attend live to network in-person with others in the engineering community.

For instance, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) offers social networking features to help you connect with a wide variety and diverse group of engineers around the globe.

How Do You Take Advantage of Job Search Networking Effectively?

You can take several approaches to network for job search success. But some tactics are more effective than others. Try these essential job search networking strategies to advance your engineering job search:

  • Start in advance. By the time you see a job posting online, it's likely that employees inside the company have known about the job for weeks and are even vying for the same role. You can avoid simply tracking down a circulated job by starting your networking long before the company posts a job. Reach out to employees who are peer-level and discover how they got their job as an engineer.
  • Identify LinkedIn engineering influencers. Take note of engineering experts who are sharing articles online, commenting on discussions, and engaging with their audience. These influential individuals are valuable contacts that can enhance your network.
  • Diversify your networking strategy. Don't limit your networking to an online-only strategy. Expand your search by using a variety of methods, such as reaching out to recruiters or third-party agencies that focus on finding jobs for engineers. It's also critical to network in person since it will help you build your confidence and character.
  • Offer Help. Make your relationship mutually beneficial by offering help to influential people you connect with and other engineers. Offer support and connect other engineers with like-minded individuals. When you demonstrate your helpfulness, you increase your chances of getting assistance with finding a new engineering job or project.
  • Tap into engineering networking groups and alumni networks. Join a LinkedIn networking group for engineers to find jobs and connect with other like-minded engineers, such as ASME, Freelance Design Engineering or Automation Engineers. It's also worth tapping into your alumni network or contacts at your school. A recent study by MIT highlights that 21% of its 2018 graduates obtained jobs via professional conferences, its Career Advising and Professional Development (CAPD) contacts, MIT administrators and faculty, and other networking outlets.

Final Thoughts

If you're looking for new career opportunities to advance your engineering job search, then it's crucial to engage in job search networking. The good news is that you can network effectively when you have a strategy and a plan.

Just follow the tips mentioned here, and you'll be on your way to enhancing your career and network as an engineer. If you are still on the fence and want to take baby steps first before heading out to an in-person networking event or a meet-up, then begin by building your LinkedIn profile and proactively expanding your connections with hiring managers in your industry.

To be more successful with this particular networking strategy, consider targeting one company at a time and diving deep into making many connections. This tactic allows you to quickly learn about the hidden or unadvertised jobs - just make sure to target Managers only because other engineers are responsible for hiring so they won't be the right contact person. Good luck!

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