Written By: Anna Lucas
Engineering is a great profession to enter, especially today when those jobs are so in demand. However, you are definitely not the only person to be an aspiring engineer. In fact, in 2018, there were 655,000 full-time engineering students enrolled in college. And as they say, it's not what you know but who you know. Now, this isn’t entirely true because in engineering, it is definitely about what you know. However, networking is still important, as making connections in the field can come in handy when trying to get into college, graduate school, getting internships, or even when entering the workforce. So, in this article I will detail the best ways that you can make connections in the engineering field while still in high school or college.
1. Attending conferences, lectures, events, etc.
In every state in America, there are countless conferences, lectures, events, and more related to engineering that are open to the public for free, or for a small ticket fee. These types of events are usually filled with experts in the field or subject that the event is focused on, and thus these events are great places to network. Although some of the people at these events may not take you seriously as you are young, or still in school, it doesn't take a lot of talking about your passion or experience in your desired field to get these experts interested. These engineers are always eager to get young people interested, and so just showing up and talking to someone who looks friendly can create great relationships that can come in handy later.
LinkedIn is an older website created in the early 2000’s which gives those in all different kinds of professions the ability to find jobs, internships, apprenticeships, to connect and strengthen professional relationships, and learn new skills. This website is a great place to make connections in the engineering field, as all you need to do is create an account, load it with information about your passion for engineering or pictures of you with your creations, and then send messages to those in the field that you look up to introducing yourself. This way to make connections is great for those who are less social, or don’t have the confidence to attend events and talk to people in person.
3. Joining clubs, groups, societies, etc.
There are plenty of in-person, and online groups, clubs, and societies for those interested in engineering that provide a great way to get connected to those who are interested in the same things you are. Almost every state has their own groups for specific fields, such as mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and civil engineering just to name a few. These groups often have events, or workshops that you can attend which allow you to not only learn new things that are related to your interests, but also to meet new people and form new relationships with people who are already involved in your desired profession.
4. Emailing your Regional Admissions Officer
Every college, besides State schools, have regional admissions officers who handle the admissions for certain colleges in your individual region of your state or country. If you already know which colleges you are interested in, emailing your regional admissions officer and introducing yourself to them and stating your interest in their school can really help you to stand out to them once your application finds its way onto their desk once admission time comes. These officers are also usually very well connected with other officers as well as professors and deans, and so getting on their good side early can be very useful even after you are admitted into college.
5. Attending Job Fairs
Although you are still in high school or college and are not necessarily on the hunt for a full-time job yet, attending job fairs can still be a great way to make connections and get an idea ahead of time of the kind of company you are interested in working for. Attending these fairs can be great opportunities to meet people who are already invested in large engineering firms such as Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance, Boeing, and more. It can be very helpful to make these relationships and have these people write you recommendation letters for college, graduate school, or even recommend you for an open position in the company they are involved with.