Tag Archives: Networking

I recently attended a fascinating event held at a marketing company, specializing in PR and marketing for startup companies in the cleantech space. Now I recognize the necessity of marketing (as separate from sales), and I understand how much of it (nearly all of it?) is done online these days. But my goodness, I could spend my entire working time on the computer doing marketing, if I followed all the “best practices” as outlined! Hmm, I guess that’s why even small companies find value in a dedicated marketing person… ūüôā One of the audience asked a very thoughtful question: “Many times startup companies are operating in ‘stealth’ mode, to avoid showing their hand before their product is ready. But how then to build a marketing buzz or excitement, or establish yourself in the market, while dealing with that kind of restriction?” The answer I found quite relevant – it has…

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A couple days ago, a headline in my IEEE Job Site newsletter caught my attention: How a Personal Blog Can Boost Your Career. ¬†(Being a blogger, things like that do catch my eye.) ¬†The article mentioned several ways in which a blog can help you, a couple of which I believe are more relevant for engineers than others. Let’s start with where I disagree with the post. ¬†I am not sure that I buy into the whole “personal brand” idea, but I also take issue with one of the final comments: that your blog probably isn’t going to replace your resume. ¬†The first is a matter of opinion, and in engineering, I’m going to guess that more manager-types are going to be interested in results and not your marketing je nes sais quoi. ¬†(I could very well be wrong on this, however, which is why I’m an engineer and not…

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There have been some great posts on networking and impostor syndrome in the science blogosphere lately, which has prompted me to do some thinking about one of those pieces of advice that always crops up in such discussion: finding a mentor. It’s pretty generally accepted that mentorship matters at every career stage, but as someone early in my career, it seems that the first advice I’m given when I’m struggling is “find a mentor”.¬†One mistake I think most of us make at least once is assuming that because we report to someone, they will serve as our mentor. Maybe it’s because finding a mentor is actually not a straightforward process. I can’t write a flow chart that will consistently find someone a mentor. Personally, I’ve generally found mentors simply by talking to professors outside of class, about something other than class, or talking to professors who I no longer take…

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Last week, I didn’t manage to post because I was uber busy for two reasons: 1) there is an engineering society that I am heavily active in and it was the annual meeting and 2) I fractured my right fibula doing a Tough Mudder on the Sunday morning before I had to flew to the conference. Considering DrWife, NanoGEARS, and the InLaws were in conference city and my heavy involvement in the conference (planning committee, session chair, presenting, and poster), I had little time to rest and ice my foot while still making the necessary contacts at the meeting. Check back to my normal blog for details (and maybe some gruesome photos) on the Tough Mudder. And with all that going, I come back to find we have a Theme Week: Engineering things that I’m thankful for. And rather than harp on some cool gadget, or proclaim my magnificence describing…

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Few have escaped the news that there is a new shinny social media network launch underway – Google+ is here but what are we the engineering community making of it? Over the last few years I have become a convert when it comes to social media. If you had told me that facebook and twitter were good engineering tools then I would have laughed at you. However just over a year ago when I joined DesignSpark as a blogger for ebmpapst I started the slippy slope into online networking. So Google+ is here in Beta phase at the time of writing this and I got an invite from a fellow engineer about a week ago. The community is still growing all under the control of Google but is slowly starting to show how it can be used. So early on I wanted to capture the first views of other engineers…

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Over the last year or more, we engineers have seen a great number of new social network changes and continued growth in social media. But where do we fit into this and why are all the big companies like RS, Farnell, Digi-Key etc. all after us to be members of their Social Hubs? First off, let’s look at the big three social sites you could visit (alphabetical order):¬†element14 ( Farnell ),¬†DesignSpark (RS Components), and¬†TechXchange (Digi-Key). There is then a host of other sites you could also use, like¬†EEWeb, ARM, StackExchange, and even big cuddly Dave‚Äôs EEVBlog Forum. That should get you started. These sites are first and foremost here for us to use as tools. We can use forums to ask questions, write blogs to tell others what we have been doing, post videos and pictures, and even have pages that follow our projects. Engineers are not the people you…

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There is a fair bit of communication talk going around this month. For instance, last week on EngineerBlogs was all about job networking and next week’s eTech magazine will be about electronics communication. However, I have found a hole in our very own social media networks which is potentially isolating and reducing good quality chat between engineers around the world. I call this the Twitter Timezone Triangle Effect. A large number of the readers of this blog will be familiar with using Twitter and other social media like facebook. These are a great way of communicating and sharing ideas around the world between engineers. You can post your work for review on your own web site and then post a link to it via Twitter. For anyone looking at their hits on their web site, they will have noticed that around half of the traffic comes from the USA. If…

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The theme this week at Engineer Blogs has been networking and if you haven’t had a bunch of engineers give you advice on communication and socializing than you just haven’t lived. I thought I’d chime in with my own, as usual cynical opinion. My first job (beyond paper delivery) was a part time position while I was a full time student. I was looking for a nice easy office job and hoping to avoid having to go into retail or the fast food industry. My sister had worked a data entry position several years before and she offered to email her old boss (who had liked her very much) and see if she was looking for anyone. Turns out she wasn’t, but she knew someone in another department who was. And so became my first job. Every time they hired someone there they asked us if we knew anyone first…

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Networking. Just like Professor GEARS, I hate that term. People, especially recruiters, throw it around as the answer to everything. Need a job? Network. Looking for a¬†contractor? Network. Interested in other fields? Network. I can’t stand how people seem to think it’s the panacea of the engineering world. The worst part¬†is, NO ONE EVER TELLS YOU HOW TO DO IT! Until now. Yup, this is the engineer’s guide to networking. What is networking? Let’s start in the obvious place. What the hell is networking? I’m going to define it thusly: Networking is the process of meeting people in the hopes getting something done later. This could be a new job, obtaining critical resources or¬†even meeting (different) people. Alright, now let’s say it in terms engineers know and want to hear: Networking will get you a job. It will make your current job easier. Or it will introduce you to some…

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Getting laid off. This was what happened to me more than a half dozen years ago now. I was the first one to be let go from a start-up that was starting to show cracks in its hull. It wasn’t a surprise. I didn’t get along with most of my colleagues. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to get along with the rest of the team; rather, a clique had formed before I arrived and they had apparently decided that I wasn’t to be part of it. In the two years that I was there, the only person that I got along with was with the wife of a colleague from a previous job and another outcast that wasn’t part of the clique. Unfortunately for me, the outcast left voluntarily a year before I was let go. When the kraft envelope was gently pushed across the cafeteria table by my…

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