The Buzzword: Networking. Three Ways to Grow Your Construction Network
Get ready to get to know your peers, exchange ideas and grow your community.
We hear the term “networking” a lot lately. Perhaps in all the buzz, we’ve lost the real meaning behind this industry buzzword. To break it down, a “network” is a community of individuals with similar occupations, goals and interests. This type of community or network benefits everyone involved. When networking in the construction industry, the goal is to bring like-minded contractors together to learn from one another, share ideas and enjoy a sense of comradery.
Construction is a relational industry by nature. In fact, many brand new construction companies were started and grown solely by word-of mouth. It’s easy to know other contractors who live or work nearby, but what about those who are in differing states or even countries? The way our world works today, there are a lot of new ways for contractors to network with one another - matter where they are located.
1. Join a Local Trade Association
Is there a particular aspect of the construction industry you are passionate about? A great way to engage in that topic with like-minded individuals is to join a local chapter of a trade association. A few great examples are the NAWIC: National Association of Women in Construction, CFMA: Construction Financial Management Association and ABC: Associated Builders and Contractors. Each of these associations have regular meetings all over the US and also hold annual gatherings for all the chapters to come together at least once a year. These are great opportunities to make connections with other contractors, learn from one another and celebrate the comradery around the industry you each know and love. To learn more about joining a trade association, check out our podcast featuring Michael D. Bellman, President and CEO of ABC.
2. Fix up your Linkedin Profile
Another great way to easily network and stay connected to other contractors or industry experts is through Linkedin. A common misconception about Linkedin is that it is a platform used exclusively for job hunting. While it is a great tool to help you find a new job when necessary, it can be used all the time for easy networking and creating strategic business connections. Here are a few ways to help transition your Linkedin experience from a job hunting tool to a networking tool.
- Turn off your recruiter settings.
The best way to communicate that you are not on LinkedIn to find a new job is to switch your recruiter settings to “off”. You can do this by going to your profile and navigating to your dashboard. Under the section titled “Career Interests” you will see an option to “let recruiters know you’re open” then toggle the button to “off”. To learn more about your recruiter settings, check out this article published by Linkedin.
2. Refresh your profile.
If you are going to start using Linkedin for networking, you’ll want to make sure that your information on Linkedin is up-to-date so that new connections are seeing the most current information. Make sure your job title and headline are accurate, adjust your “about” section with information about who you are and what you do, and you might also take some time to add an updated profile photo.
3. Start connecting!
Once you’re satisfied with your updated Linkedin profile, it’s time to start using it to network with other contractors! The best way to start is to join Linkedin groups that interest you. Browse groups that match your interests such as this Construction Management group, Construction Environmental Health and Safety or even Viewpoint Construction Software. Members of these groups have a similar interest and will make great connections.
Another way to build your network is to get into the habit of adding people on Linkedin once you’ve met them or worked with them. You should be connected to everyone you work with on Linkedin to start. From there, try connecting with folks outside of your organization after working on a project together. You can also begin connecting with folks you’ve met at your local trade organization or networking events. By connecting with people you’ve had interaction with, you will build your digital network to allow you to stay connected and up-to-date on industry news and best practices.
Attend Networking Events and Tradeshows
What better way to make some new connections than by attending awesome events and conferences around the country? Attending networking events and conferences is not only a great way to meet new people in the construction industry but they also serve as opportunities to learn more about the industry in general. If you don’t have time to travel far, look for local events like our Digital Contractor Roadshow series-this takes place in thirty cities all over the US. If you don’t mind traveling, look for larger events to attend like the CFMA Annual Conference and Exhibition, World of Concrete, The National Association of Women in Construction Annual Conference, or Collaborate.
Each of these events will feature exciting general sessions, breakout sessions for deeper learning and then plenty of time for networking! Come prepared with some specific questions about how other contractors operate, bring business cards, and download the Linkedin app on your phone to make sure you’re ready to connect and grow your network.
The bottom line is: we learn more about ourselves and how to do our jobs better when we work together within a community. We hope this information gives you some practical ways to make connections and grow your own construction network.
P.S. Networking is also a great tool to help you combat the labor shortage. To learn more, check out our complete labor shortage toolkit.