Best way to meet professionals?

The more I talk to people, the more I realize about 95% of people with decent jobs had SOMEONE that knew SOMEONE else that got them their first job that put them on the path they’re on now. In other words, almost no one seems to get a good job with just a good resume/cover letter, especially right out of school.

So, what’s the best way to network in a meaningful way? Sure sites like linkedin let you annoy people into adding you, but you’re just a spec on their contact list, it’s not like they actually care who you are. It annoys me to no end that girls that went to school for fashion design just have to go work retail for the company they want to design for and meet people at company parties and bam job (don’t argue with this, I know several girls that did exactly that). Meanwhile, there’s no meaningful retail position to introduce you to people at product consultancies or even regular engineering firms. Where do all of the engineers go? Why is no one at a bar ever an engineer? do they go straight home and talk to no one every night?

I can’t get a good job because I don’t have enough experience and I don’t have enough experience because I can’t connect with someone enough to get a job. Is this just a matter of waiting until the economy improves to the point that companies are desperate for employees and will hire people without knowing them first?

Maybe professional events and conferences like IDSA? Tradeshows? Local meetup groups?

I actually started doing my own business after having no luck with 200 resumes sent out after college. It was a hard road and I got burned alot early on but almost 2 decades later I can say I have more diverse work expereince from paying dues on my own than people who stayed at one company for the same period of time. Yeah it’s doing it the hard way but that’s how I got my expereince. You might work for peanuts at first but you meet people within those companies who move on to other companies, etc. I went out and searched for my own clients and took on all sorts of projects. Now I am pickier but when I was building a track record, I did it all and that became my work expereince.

Just keep a portfolio handy in a iphone or something and be ready to show people your work at all times. I meet clients in all sorts of situations from parties to picnics to trade shows, to sitting on the airplane. You never know.

I got my first job with just a good portfolio. I didn’t know anyone… and my boss told me that he typically threw out portfolios from my school because he felt like every alum from there he had worked with had a high attitude to low skill ratio… what saved mine? He liked the way my resume was put together graphically and the work in my portfolio was emotive and memorable. So he had me come in even though he was about to make an offer to a kid that came highly recommended to him through a former peer. The result? I got an offer on the spot. The other guy? I dunno.

Don’t underestimate the ability of good work to win people over. Personally I can not stand people who don’t have the goods trying to schmooz me.

well, remember as well, I’m trying to get a design engineer position rather than an ID position, so it’s harder to show what I’m capable of via a portfolio. Even though I understand mold design/case design/etc., my only experience is in gigantic oilfield equipment, so if I put that in my portfolio, I’ll get a reaction like “this guy doesn’t even know what we do! trash can

I use Core77. Not sure about you since you’re more engineer oriented, but there’s plenty of professionals and I was able to get my name out by posting some of my projects.

good point :wink:

Well, while we’re at it, how does a design engineer portfolio differ from an industrial designer’s portfolio? Would they appreciate me going on my own and designing, say, a game controller or something intricate like that to show I understand case design and interior structural ribbing, recessed screw holes (is there a technical name for those?), smooth fillets and other mold-friendly features, etc.? I don’t quite understand if I would be expected to be a designer in the artistic sense as well or strictly a functional designer to minimize cost of the non-visible parts of the product.

My school director advised to just ask for portfolio review to get connection. People aren’t afraid to give feedback than replying for job. Moreover they might give you a chance to talk to them and remember you for future opening.

I think engineering portfolio should have details than styling. Part detail, functional, mechanism, ability to understand and reflect modern manufacturing principles. 3D modeling- solidworks, CATIA, pro-e, etc. showing how part is molded, formed, extruded etc.

And you should know the technical names- such as,