Do you feel like you need to move up in your engineering career? Before you sink into the deadlines and client demands of your average day, take some time to reevaluate your career path and determine if you are on the right one. If not, there may be some things you can do to advance your position. Here are some tips.
- Go beyond the surface when you network. Engineers aren’t typically known for being outgoing individuals, but networking does take some interpersonal skills. When you attend a networking event to give out and collect a few cards, this is only the very tip of the iceberg. The next step is to follow-up, call individuals with whom you would like to build a connection, and get to know them as people. Also, offer to help any way you can. If you see another connection you can make, introduce them.
- Find a mentor. Many industries stress the value of having a mentor. If you feel like you’ve hit a wall with your career, finding another professional who was in your position to speak with can be very enlightening. Talk with senior engineers in your current company. Talk with people from some of the national or local engineering societies. You can even simply ask. If you post on LinkedIn or other social media that you are looking for a mentor to help you with your career, you may be surprised by why answers.
- Stop letting yourself be overlooked. Most companies have an established review process but so many people walk into the meeting entirely unprepared. If you know when your review is going to be prepared to talk with your manager about career development, money, or other issues you feel need to be addressed. Don’t just let the review happen to you, be an active participant.
- Manage your time better. It is easy to get caught up in the drama surrounding all levels of employment. For example, if you spend all day waiting for the next email to pop into your inbox you may never get anything done and find yourself in a rush to meet deadlines. Instead, focus on communications only twice a day or so. Respond to anything that needs addressing immediately so responses don’t stack up.
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