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Posted by James Hawley, EVP, Hays USA on Thursday, Apr 6, 2017
Who do you know, and more importantly, who knows you? Networking has always been central to the construction industry, but social media has made it both easier and harder. It’s easier than ever to find relevant people, but building meaningful relationships is more difficult - and many people are overwhelmed with messages so it can be hard to stand out.
For the Hays DNA of a VP of Construction, we talked to more than 20 VPs about their career path, job advice, and what role networking played in their work life. Here are their top tips.
1. You get out what you put in
“You have to be out there speaking to people, gathering leads, referrals, getting your face out there. Know your market and what the competition is doing. Business is done with people not with money.
Eric Brody, Principal/COO, Wonder Works Construction Corp
2. Networking is a two-way street
“You must network up and network down. Get to know the people that you manage and the people that manage you. When you network with the people who work for you then you keep your finger on the pulse of what is happening in your company. And when you’re networking up, pay attention to the skills and concerns that the people above you have. That’s your next career step.”
Justin Jeffus, Vice President, Retail Services, Mycon General Contractors
3. It’s not about making friends
“Sometimes people mistake networking with making friends. I have some great friends in the industry, but even if you don’t get along with someone, you still need to respect them and maintain a professional relationship.”
Paul Gingold, Vice President, CM & Associates
4. Consistency is key
“When I look at my own personal success, I could attribute 90% of it to my personal network. I utilize that network daily to make connections, form business deals, seek advice and council, provide and look for resources. It has been and will continue to be the heart of my success.”
Mark L. Christensen, President, Christensen Building Group
5. Use social media for initial contact
“Social media, particularly LinkedIn, is a part of networking as a whole. It lifts geographic boundaries and can help build your network and reputation. The next level is the difference and that is the interaction in person.”
Matthew Schimenti, President, Schimenti Construction Company
6. In-person is necessary for strong relationships
“Social media is becoming more important as the culture shifts, but nothing can replace face-to-face interaction with people. Networking is very important. Building relationships with your employees, design consultants, sub-contractors and clients will all be key to your success.”
Steve Giordano, Vice President, NYC Office, LPCiminelli
7. Your reputation precedes you – especially with social media
“In today’s world of technology, smart networking is important. People do research on you before you meet them so you need to be professional online and off.”
Stephanie Cesario, Managing Director, Hillmann Consulting
Not sure where to start? Join a Meetup in your city, attend some industry association events, or talk to your recruiter about which individuals or events could have the biggest pay off for your career.
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