5 Helpful Networking Tips in Construction That Brings Results
The importance of networking is well-known and commonly reinforced to new professionals looking to build their reputations and career. These 5 helpful networking tips for construction will build those relationships. The construction industry depends on relationships and networking to build connections between suppliers, subcontractors, general contractors, owners, developers, owner representatives, etc.
Networking has countless benefits, including building professional relationships, sharing news and ideas, and learning from other industry professionals. Because of the benefits of networking, professionals in any industry should focus on building their networking skills, especially when they are starting a new job or working in a new industry.
For professionals working in the construction industry, networking can bring lasting benefits to your professional ventures. Construction professionals should consider the following tips to help them get the most out of their networking efforts.
Look For Networking Opportunities
There are a variety of networking opportunities available within the construction industry. Many industry organizations hold networking events that benefit members in several ways. Looking for networking opportunities is the first of the helpful networking tips for construction.
In addition to introducing the industry to up-and-coming professionals, a networking event can provide avenues for employees to build their professional network, develop new skills, learn about industry innovations, and brainstorm ideas with others outside their own construction company.
For example, Forrester is a member of the Maryland SPECS Program (Strategic Partnership for Excellence in Construction Safety), a strategic partnership between the MOSH and the Maryland Chapters of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Maryland (ABC). This program encourages and recognizes ABC members implementing safety and health management systems to reduce or eliminate injuries, illnesses, and fatalities on construction sites in Maryland. As a member, Forrester can attend meetings and events to share best practices in the safety industry and new ideas for keeping our job sites safe.
To ensure you keep track of upcoming events, follow and subscribe to some of the leading industry organizations’ newsletters and publications in your area. In the Metropolitan Washington Area, many reputable industry organizations hold networking events for their members, including but not limited to:
- Associated Builders and Contractors of Metropolitan Washington
- Associated Builders and Contractors of Virginia
- Associated General Contractors DC
- Washington Building Congress
- American Subcontractors Association of Metro Washington
- NAIOP DC | MD
- NAIOP VA
- CREW Maryland Suburban
- CREW DC
Memberships for industry associations like these give discounted registration on the following:
- Networking events
- Other perks like awards and recognition
These various events are another great way to meet professionals within your industry and build your reputation and your network.
Come Prepared for Networking Events
When attending a networking event, it is crucial that you come prepared each time. Ensure you have an idea of your goals for the networking event. For example, if you are new to the area, the main goal may be to meet as many industry professionals as possible to lay the foundation for your career in the community.
It can also be helpful to come up with a list of questions you can ask others. These questions should be professional and focus on building your knowledge with the community. Though your conversation should remain professional, it is ok to ask some personal questions to get to know the individual beyond their job.
These questions should remain appropriate, even if more personal than about your jobs. It is great to connect with people on a personal level by discussing shared or common interests. This often leads to a better conversation on work topics as well.
Bring a stack of business cards to hand out to other professionals. Utilizing business cards is an easy way to provide your contact information in a quick, effective manner. Many companies will provide business cards to their employees when they begin a new position. If your company does not provide business cards for new team members, places like Vistaprint, Staples, and more can provide quick, easy, and cost efficient solutions.
When handing out business cards, don’t forget to focus on getting their business card in return and keeping it in a safe place. The business cards could come in handy when you least expect it, so safely storing them will help ensure you can contact them in the future. It is also good practice to input the contact information to your contacts right after the networking event in case you misplace the business card in the future. There are tools that can make this process easier, including apps like BizConnect, Sansan, and more!
If you are sponsoring a networking event or have a table at a conference or event, coming prepared is essential! Make sure you have the following:
- And anything else that will make you and your company stand out
Setting up professional, eye-catching areas and including giveaways will encourage others to come and chat with you and help you remain in their minds after the event.
Need to get branded signage, giveaways, or merch? Companies like Halo Branded Solutions and What’s Up Promotions work with you to create name-brand and cost efficient company branded items!
Connecting With a Variety of Professionals
When deciding who to start conversations with at networking events, it can be easy to focus on finding other individuals within your specific role. While connecting with professionals within your role is beneficial, you should also expand your network with other professionals.
For example, if your role within construction is marketing, try to connect with professionals that do not work in the same area, like law or engineering. In doing so, you can learn more about the construction industry while building your network. This variety of knowledge can become valuable as you continually advance your career.
Several companies attend construction networking events, including general contractors, architects, civil engineers, structural engineers, subcontractors, suppliers, vendors, and more. Networking events give opportunities to build connections that might lead to partnering on future jobs, discovering a great vendor, or finding a consultant.
Follow Up and Maintain Your Relationship
Following up with the people you exchanged information with at the event is good etiquette. Immediately after meeting the new professionals, send them a quick email to re-introduce yourself, thank them for talking with you, and provide your contact information. This will help make it easier for them to remember you in the future and is a powerful way to continue building the relationship.
In taking this initial step, you make it easier to reach out for professional questions or opportunities in the future. If you need help writing networking follow-up emails, this Indeed article also includes samples! After the initial email has been sent, set aside time periodically to check in with your network, whether through email, a phone call, or a coffee meeting. It can be easy to forget to continue building professional relationships, but being consistent is highly beneficial to your career down the road.
Another good follow-up activity is to try and connect with the new contact on Linked In. This professional social media platform offers you another chance to reach out, get in front of the contact, and provides an avenue for you to follow their work activity and learn more about their efforts. They in turn can do the same with you. As such, it is good to be active and engage on the platform, like or comment on other posts, and post professional information about your job, company, projects, and more.
Other Ways to Stand Out at Networking Events
One way to stand out at networking events is by getting involved with the industry organizations hosting the events. Joining a committee or board allows you to build deeper connections with industry professionals through meetings and planning sessions. Being an active committee or board member brings positive attention to yourself and your company and allows you to gain knowledge and skills you might not have within your day-to-day role. You can also learn from community leaders and hear about different points of view.
Working for a general contractor, like Forrester Construction, building a construction network can be both challenging and rewarding. Networking creates positive relationships that can lead to career growth, future jobs, and award-winning projects! When beginning your networking journey, prepare, be confident in yourself and your work, be open to meeting new people and learning about other roles in construction, and always follow up and put in the effort to grow your network by reviewing these helpful networking tips in construction.
Want to learn more about the construction industry? Read more of our blog posts.