Happy holidays from us at Simpson Strong-Tie. Please check back Jan 7 for our regularly scheduled posts.
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.
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. Simpson Strong-Tie Company, Inc. established the scholarship program to assist architecture and structural engineering students by supporting education and encouraging the design and building of safer structures in our communities. Just last year, Simpson Strong-Tie awarded 38 scholarships of $1,000. This year, Simpson Strong-Tie is making an even bigger investment and offering up to 57 awards of $2,000 for the 2014/2015 academic school year. Applicants must be enrolled as juniors (60 semester hours or equivalent) or seniors in full-time undergraduate study in architecture or structural engineering at one of the colleges or universities listed below. Click here to learn more about the specifics about the Structural Engineering/Architecture Student Scholarship Program.
- Boise State University
- Brigham Young University
- California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
- California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo
- California State University, Sacramento
- Clemson University
- Florida International University
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- Iowa State University
- Louisiana State University
- Ohio State University, Columbus
- Oklahoma State University
- Oregon Institute of Technology
- Oregon State University
- Penn State University Park
- Portland State University
- Purdue University, West Lafayette
- Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
- Texas Tech University
- University of Arizona
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of California, Davis
- University of California, Los Angeles
- University of Cincinnati
- University of Florida
- University of Idaho
- University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign
- University of Maine, Orono
- University of Miami
- University of Michigan
- University of North Texas
- University of the Pacific
- University of South Carolina, Columbia
- University of Southern California
- University of Texas, Arlington
- University of Texas, Austin
- University of Washington
- University of Wyoming
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
- Washington State University
Here are some pictures of the students who were awarded scholarships from last year:
Do you know a college student who is studying structural engineering or architecture at the schools listed above? Let them know about this opportunity to help them pay for their schooling. The deadline for applications is April 25, 2014, so share this blog post and spread the word soon! Do you have any questions? Make sure to ask in the comment box below.