Sunday, December 11, 2011

Network, Network, Network!

One advantage to being a female in engineering....everyone knows who you are.  They simply pick you out of the crowd.

Now that you have this information, you have two options:

  1. Get to know everyone
  2. Shy away, and be known as that-weird-girl-who-doesn't-talk-to-anyone.
I'm not trying to scare anyone away! However, networking has its advantages (and disadvantages, but we're not going to talk about them here.). 

The cool thing about being social is that you have a ton of engineering friends.  I bring this up for a couple reasons: two days ago, I had a younger engineering friend that needed help with some class....(I have little shame in doing this) but I emailed my friend (who is extremely smart and could definitely help my younger friend) and asked if they could help.  And they did. 

I know a large number of my friends (people in my class) are willing to help other people.  A couple things happen though:
  • the more-senior students don't socialize with less-senior students
  • the less-senior students are afraid to ask
  • the less-senior students don't socialize more-senior students
So there! It breaks the connection, and all student miss out. So three lessons:
  1. Have no shame in asking for help (unless you're being annoying....but chances say you haven't asked yet)
  2. Join Clubs! Get involved in a mentoring program. Eg. Society of Women Engineers (SWE) has a great program to create those connections between more-senior and less-senior students.  It doesn't cost any money to network!
  3. Really get to know your peers. They will start to respect you, and you will respect them.  Help them when they need help.  But make them feel good (and smart) by referring them to other people.
Hope this was helpful! 

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