As many of you know, LinkedIn is a social networking website specifically aimed at business professionals and is designed to help you connect and network with people you know and trust. You can add colleagues, peers and others as contacts and send them messages. You can create and update your personal profile to let your contacts know about your professional activities, and both recommend or endorse your contacts and get recommended or endorsed by your contacts for your professional skills. In addition, you can join groups to communicate with other professionals within the same sector or industry. You are also able to ask and answer industry-related questions, and to learn about and apply for job openings.
A basic membership on LinkedIn is free, but you can also upgrade your account in order to have access to professionals outside of your network.
To help guide you, here are some best practices for how to set up and optimize your LinkedIn account.
Update and Complete Your Profile
Having a complete and updated profile on LinkedIn allows you to put your best face forward. Make sure to summarize your role and responsibilities and current and past work experience, highlighting the details you think will make a prospective customer want to work with you. Include a professional-looking headshot and your current contact information. LinkedIn will even tell you your profile strength on the right-hand rail.
Join Industry Specific Groups
Joining groups that are relevant to our industry will allow you to participate in online industry discussions. Answering questions related to your field of expertise within these discussions is an excellent way to position yourself as an authority and build your professional reputation. Here are some structural engineering groups that you can start with:
Connect with people you already know using your email contacts. This will help you maintain your existing relationships as well as branch out to connect with industry-related people your contacts may know. Another great feature of LinkedIn is that it will tell you “People You May Know” based on where you work or are already linked to. This feature will help you find meaningful connections.
Follow the Company Page and Share Posts
Simpson Strong-Tie has a company LinkedIn page to connect with customers. Company pages are a way to keep up to date on trends in design and building materials, code changes, product launches and other industry news. Make sure to follow the Simpson Strong-Tie company page so that you can stay informed about our latest news and updates.
Make sure to review and manage your privacy settings to help you control how many people can view your activities and personal information. You can do this by hovering your mouse on your thumbnail image on the far right- hand side of your home page.You should see an Account & Settings drop-down menu appear with an option that says “Privacy & Settings: Manage.” Click this option. Once you are there, you can manage all of your privacy settings.
How do you use LinkedIn as part of your engineering career? Let us know in the comments below.
We have written posts before about how social media can help you grow your business and how it can make you better at your job. But the main question you may still be asking is “why social media?” Isn’t it just a place to view cat videos or chat with friends?
While you can use social media for personal reasons, it has now become a serious source of professional content that can help make your life as a structural engineer a little easier. Here are some reasons why social media is (still) important for structural engineers:
It Offers Solutions
If you are encountering an issue or problem, there is a strong chance that there are other structural engineers that have faced the same issue. The nice thing is that with social media, you can find those structural engineers a little faster. There are LinkedIn groups for structural engineers, Facebook groups and even blogs that you can turn to if you have a question.
At the Structural Engineering blog, we get questions from structural engineers on a regular basis asking about our calculations or how we have resolved a particular issue. We respond to those questions right away. They also provide us with great insight into the challenges you face day to day.
It Connects You With Other Engineers
We all know that networking is important. Social media just makes it a little easier to start that conversation. Groups on LinkedIn and Facebook are a great way to exchange best practices and ideas. You can also find out about local events with professionals in your area from these groups so that you can network in person.
It Keeps You Informed
Social media is the first place where industry conversations happen now. Whether it is about soft-story retrofit ordinances or truss designer responsibilities, you can find online conversations about structural engineering on a variety of social media platforms.
All in all, social media is a great resource and can supplement the ways that you already enrich your professional career. How has social media helped you with your job? Let us know in the comments below.
We wish you a happy and safe Fourth of July from all of us here at Simpson Strong-Tie.
Check back next week for our regular blog posts.
I am pleased to introduce you to one of our newest members of the Simpson Strong-Tie team, Minara El-Rahman. She is our Social Media Manager here at Simpson Strong-Tie. Minara has extensive experience with digital/mobile marketing, social media marketing, engaging with online influencers and blogging. As structural engineers use online resources more and more, she will be contributing to the Structural Engineering blog to help you navigate using them.
The last time we wrote about social media, we gave tips on how structural engineers can use social media to be better at their jobs. But we also believe that you can use social media to grow your business. The more touch points that you can have with your existing and potential clients, the better chance you have at forging a relationship with them. That’s what social media is all about, it is about engaging and fostering a relationship with others: whether it is with an individual, company, brand or your old college buddies.Continue Reading
Let’s be honest, going to school and majoring in structural engineering or architecture is not easy. Just look at Paul McEntee’s post about his experience with his semester long course in Statics at 7:00 AM complete with Friday pop quizzes for proof in our post about Statics and Testing. While these majors may be a challenge, we know that the degree at the end is well worth the effort. Our industry is a great one to work in and not only do we make other people’s lives better, but we also can save lives too. Which is exactly why Simpson Strong-Tie has developed a structural engineering/architecture scholarship program. Continue Reading