on June 21st, 2024

Unlock the Power of Networking! Discover expert advice from Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) Civil Engineering Lecturers to build a robust professional network to help propel your career forward.

Breaking into the job market as a civil engineering graduate can be challenging. With numerous applicants vying for positions, standing out requires more than a degree. This is why networking is crucial for civil engineering students aiming to make their mark in the construction industry. It opens doors to job opportunities and provides a platform for professional growth and development.

Building relationships for career growth allows students to connect with professionals, professors, and fellow students, offering valuable insights into the industry, potential job openings, and diverse career paths. Students can expand their professional circles and cultivate meaningful relationships by connecting with alumni who share similar career paths, interests, or industry sectors.

These interactions are invaluable as alumni share knowledge, lessons learned, and industry insights gained since graduating. Engaging in stimulating discussions with peers and mentors allows students to learn from each other’s experiences and stay updated on the latest trends and developments in their fields. Networking enhances one’s understanding of the industry and fosters a sense of community and support among professionals.

Still not convinced? Just ask any graduates working in the construction industry about how they started their careers, and you are guaranteed that “via networking” will be one of the common answers you hear. Conversely, many will regret not networking more during their university years. That’s because missing out on networking opportunities can limit one’s career potential and connections in the field.

But don’t fret. This article will put you on the right track to create your own network.

Don’t Yet Have a Network? Start Here!

Many students believe they lack a network, especially if they don’t have family connections in the industry or relevant work experience. However, the fact that you are studying means that you already have the foundations of a network. Here’s how to find and build it:

Lecturers: Many lecturers have industry experience and maintain contact with former students. They can offer advice or connect you with professionals in your area of interest or companies you aspire to work for.

An EIT civil engineering lecturer, Dr. Ana Evangelista, highlighted that EIT offers several opportunities to boost academia and industry connections. “Many casual lecturers work in the industry and share current trends and demands with students. After class, students are also welcome to discuss career paths, research opportunities, or industry trends.

“Therefore, in class/live sessions, students should be proactive, ask insightful questions, and demonstrate their interest in expanding their knowledge and gaining new skills. This shows initiative and makes a good impression,” said Dr. Evangelista

Careers Advisors and Placement Officers: These professionals stay in touch with recruiters and often maintain relationships with former graduates and placement students. They also have access to your university’s alumni database, which can be valuable.

Professional Bodies: Joining a professional institution as a student provides numerous networking opportunities. Engage in discussions on LinkedIn and other social networks to connect with industry professionals. Many institutions have groups for students and recent graduates.

Visiting Professors and Industry Speakers: Don’t hesitate to contact guest lecturers or speakers via email or LinkedIn to thank them for their talk and ask further questions. This can initiate a valuable ongoing conversation.

Work Experience Contacts: If you have industry work experience, keep in touch with your line manager and any colleagues you connect well with. Even if you don’t have family connections in the industry, discussing your career aspirations with relatives and friends can be beneficial—they might know someone who can help.

If you’ve gained industry work experience, maintain connections with your line manager and colleagues with whom you have a good rapport. Even if you lack family connections in the industry, discussing your career aspirations with them is worthwhile. You never know who they might be able to introduce you to.

Network with Professionals Online

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual networking has become more popular. Many networking and career events have moved to online platforms instead of being canceled.

You can still connect with professionals and recruiters at:

  • Virtual career fairs
  • University-organized virtual recruitment and networking events
  • Virtual talks and networking events, such as EIT upcoming Networking Session with Alumni
  • Site visits arranged by your university (when possible)

However, before attending any event, try to get an attendees list for research and consider the following valuable tips for effective virtual networking:

Keep your introduction simple. When speaking to a camera, maintain eye contact, smile, and introduce yourself concisely. For example, “Hello, I’m Jane Smith, and I’m in my penultimate year of a civil engineering degree at Smith University.” If typing into a chat box, have a similar introduction ready to copy and paste.

If you’re an introvert or struggle with long screen time, focus on one person at a time and take breaks when needed.

Be ready to save and log contact details if they are offered. Respect privacy and approach this on a one-to-one basis if necessary.

Send a follow-up email or LinkedIn message promptly, ideally the next day. Mention how much you enjoyed meeting them, ask for further advice, or remind them of any promised information.

Have some opening topics ready, such as:

• How has your day been?
• What does your role involve?
• What projects are you working on?
• Which project have you enjoyed the most?
• Do you enjoy your work?
• What is the biggest challenge or opportunity for the industry right now?

“The key to success is being prepared for different scenarios. From my experience, the best spontaneous response is one that has been thoroughly prepared.

“Have a great introductory line ready that captures your essence but avoid long speeches,” said Dr. Igor Shufrin, EIT Lecturer and Unit Coordinator.

He pointed out that people are generally more open to shorter introductions, adding that one should highlight their essential skills for the opportunity, and not necessarily all your skills at once.

“After the event, focus on follow-ups. Send only personalized messages to ensure that people remember who you are. Thank them for their time and express interest in staying connected. I believe this approach will yield positive results over time.”

These tips will help you make the most of virtual networking opportunities.

EIT’s Upcoming Networking Session

EIT understands that networking is essential for career growth and professional development. They are committed to helping their students and alumni build strong professional networks. By bringing together alumni, the institute has created a platform for individuals to forge new connections, exchange insights, and share experiences.

There will be three networking events.
Perth, Australia on 11 July 2024 at 3pm to 5pm.
Melbourne, Australia on 17 July 2024 at 3pm to 5pm.
Johannesburg, South Africa on 11 July 2024 at 3pm to 5pm.

For those interested in reconnecting with fellow alumni, expanding their professional network, and exploring collaborative opportunities, further details and announcements regarding these events will be provided soon.

EIT encourages everyone to harness the power of their alumni network to inspire, support, and empower each other on their professional journeys. Staying connected and engaged will make this networking session in July a resounding success.

The institution is also committed to providing all on-campus students with 240 hours of work-integrated learning at no extra cost. This equates to a six-week full-time internship or an equivalent of part-time hours. Find out more about the EIT internship program HERE!

Participants will receive a digital Certificate of Attendance after the event, along with a 50% discount on one of EIT’s Professional Certificate of Competency courses over the next 12 months.

Dr. Shasha Wang, an on-campus lecturer in civil engineering at EIT, said: “The forthcoming networking sessions will feature experienced industry professionals, creating a forum for our current students to interact with them face-to-face. This provides a unique opportunity to seek career advice in a way many other communication approaches may not always accommodate as easily.”

She advised students to prepare questions they think may benefit their career development the most in the short and long term and encourages them to reflect on where they expect themselves to be in the next five years, 15 years, and 30 years to make the most of this opportunity.

These insights from EIT lecturers underscore the importance of networking for civil engineering students and provide practical advice to help them build a successful career.

The latest news

EIT News

Round vs Flat Earth: The Mystery Extends to EIT’s Ambassadors  

The Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) actively hosts discussions, webinars, and seminars on industry trends. One ongoing topic of interest that has been circulating has been the debate over whether... Read more
EIT News

Engineering: The Thrilling Technology Transforming its Future

As an individual considering a graduate degree in engineering, you might be curious about the future trajectory of this dynamic field. This article examines the top engineering trends revolutionizing the... Read more
EIT News

New UAV Research Is Set to Revolutionize Engineering Inspections

A groundbreaking study by Japanese researchers marks a pivotal advancement in engineering management. It introduces innovative solutions poised to revolutionize UAV-based inspections in diverse engineering fields. engineering i In engineering,... Read more
Engineering Institute of Technology