3 Tips to Take your Career in the AEC Industry to the Next Level

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Written by: Lou Barreiro, Content Marketing and Public Relations Manager at Microdesk

The architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry is one of the most dynamic industries to be in as it offers a variety of different career opportunities. Understanding all your options, much less how to land a job in a new area, can be a daunting task to say the least. The trick is to develop a strategy for continually honing your skills, staying on top of the latest trends, and building relationships with people who can help connect you to new opportunities or guide you down the right career path.

Here are the top three key actions you can take to help you get to the next stage in your career:

Upgrade Your Networking Game

You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating: networking is critical in order to build relationships that can help you advance in your career. The new takeaway here is to not just think of networking as attending events. While certainly this is an important part of networking, it’s not the only way to connect with people in the industry.

Thanks to new technologies, networking has gotten a major upgrade – call it Networking 3.0 – enabling us to make more connections and build new professional relationships without ever having to get out of our chairs.

Social media channels LinkedIn and Facebook are the leading “virtual” professional networking tools. One of their best features from a networking perspective is their Groups, which allow you to connect with other people who share a similar interest in a specific topic or expertise in a particularly industry, exchange information, and learn about the work others are doing.

Groups can be a powerful tool for advancing your career. Let’s say you are trying to find a new opportunity in healthcare architecture. By researching and joining groups on LinkedIn and Facebook that are related to healthcare, architecture, or both, you can start to build relationships with individuals who are similarly interested and knowledgeable about the area you want to go into. Leverage your membership to discover and connect with people you want to meet, learn about what projects members are working on, or understand what major industry trends people are concerned about.

Recruit a Mentor (or Four)

A mentor is a guide, someone who can help you navigate through all the issues, questions and concerns that may arise in the course of figuring out your next career more. Many people automatically think of having their boss or someone in their company act as a mentor, but often it’s even better if you can get someone from the outside who can be a neutral sounding board for discussing issues at work, recent achievements, or brainstorming future career options.

Mentoring is a commitment on both the mentor and mentee’s part so it’s important to pick someone who is willing and able to dedicate their time and has the expertise in what you need support with in order to make it a good use of everyone’s time. You will likely need different kinds of support for different situations, so rather than relying on a single person to guide you through all life’s challenges, consider aggregating a “board of mentors,” several advisors you can turn depending on the situation.

If you are having trouble finding mentors within your own network, get creative in your search. For example, if you are interested in developing your expertise in K-12 and university construction, look at firms that specialize in those areas and begin to connect with people in those companies. However, don’t just go straight for the kill and immediately ask them to be your mentor. Work on building a relationship with that individual first to feel out whether they have mentor potential, and then broach the subject.

Tune-In to stay Informed

Classes and events can be beneficial as they provide direct and in-person interaction with people in the industry. But they are a commitment in terms of time. Webinars, on the other hand, are a quick and easy way to get the information you need while on-the-go, as long as you have access to the internet.

YouTube is also a great starting point where you can search for on-demand videos about construction tools and trends. Many AEC consulting companies also offer regular live Webinars, which provides you an opportunity to interact with presenters and ask questions. For example, Microdesk hosts free live webinars on a regular basis on topics ranging from how to make the transition to BIM to tips on how to leverage a new BIM design tool.

Want to learn how you can take your AEC skills to the next level? Register or contact Microdesk at 1.800.336.3375 to find out more. Also, sign up for their newsletter and follow them on social media to get the latest scoop on events from Microdesk!

Microdesk is a design technology consultancy that combines the leading software tools from Autodesk, IBM, Trimble, Bluebeam and Panzura, with the latest methods, including Building Information Modeling, Virtual Design & Construction, Asset Management, and Application Development to help firms successfully plan, design, build and operate land and buildings. Microdesk is a member of the Autodesk, IBM and ESRI Developer Networks, a leading Autodesk and IBM partner, and operates Autodesk, Adobe and Trimble Authorized Training Centers. Microdesk has 12 offices nationwide and in the UK. For additional information regarding Microdesk, please visit http://www.microdesk.com/.