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Career Ideas: Build a network

September 19, 2013

Today’s post is courtesy of Benjamin Sawa and Anna Luciano. Benjamin Sawa, Corporate Development Manager at GEI Consultants and Vice President of SMPS Boston, can be reached at bsawa@geiconsultants.com. Anna Luciano, Senior Marketing Coordinator at Nitsch Engineering and Director of the SMPS Boston Communications Committee, can be reached through Twitter @annaluciano or LinkedIn.

untitled3When it comes to your career, it’s important to remember that it’s the people who make a difference. It’s people who hire you, who make your day-to-day job fun (or terrible, for that matter), and who can show you how to expand your skills and areas of expertise. As a result, networking is critical to success – and not just for you as an individual, but for your company as well. When you (as an individual) know people well at client/partner/subconsultant firms, you put your firm in a better position to get more work.

The people that you meet now (even if it’s not apparent to you at this exact moment) will become invaluable as you progress in your career. They will help you find opportunities, can offer advice on things they have learned in their career, and can be great mentors and peers to help you develop professionally and personally. That being the case, the sooner you start building your network, the better off you’ll be in the long run.

Not sure where to start? Start off by identifying your goals: do you want to meet potential clients? Expand your network of peers? Find a mentor? Once you know your goals, you can figure out which organizations and events would best support that goal.

Joining an organization like SMPS is great for marketers to develop their skills and find ways to grow as a professional. Joining other A/E/C organizations and attending events that your clients go to can help you build client relationships. Try to meet as many people as you can – and then be sure to follow up afterwards to develop a connection!

One of the best places to network within an organization is on committees. By joining a committee, showing up, doing what you say you will do, and being fun to work with, the other committee members who are clients or referral sources will learn to trust you… and that could result in project teaming or job opportunities down the road!

Remember that people do business with people they like, know, and trust. As you expand your network, strive to be a person that others want to work with – it’ll pay off for you, your firm, and your new friends.

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