IEEE has a significant membership population who are independent engineering consultants. This growing segment of IEEE members has acquired certain skill sets over their career that they can go out and offer (for a fee) to more than one company. IEEE consultants across the United States have formed local consultants networks to mentor, network and socialize with one another. These networks often provide training on various topics to keep consultants abreast on the ongoing changes happening in the engineering world.
IEEE-USA also provides training to the specific group of engineers through its webinar program. Over the years, IEEE-USA has offered specific webinars directed at IEEE consultants and IEEE members who are considering the consulting option.
Most recently, IEEE-USA had its President-Elect Gary Blank do a repeat of one of his most popular webinars: Consulting 101. Dr. Blank discussed how he became a full-time independent consultant, in addition to things one should consider before becoming a consultant. During this webinar, he also outlined what a person will need to become a full-time, independent consultant.
Late last year, Christine Silver, of Silver Business Solutions, provided IEEE-USA a very thoughtful webinar on Functioning as a Professional Consultant about soft skills consultants’ need. The webinar covered 10 qualities a professional consultant should possess, and how to assess the areas a consultant should work on. Silver communicated her belief that one of the most important qualities for success is the ability to communicate verbally, and in writing, and she provided tips and tools to assist consultants in those areas.
In June, IEEE-USA showcased Jean O’Brien, president of the O’Brien Group, LLC, and her webinar Seven Ways to Build Your Necessary, Notable, Networking Skills. In scheduling this webinar, IEEE-USA’s primary target audience was IEEE members currently involved in a job search. O’Brien also passed along networking tips consultants could use to obtain new business. She is an expert in face-to-face networking, and provided information on how a person can get introduced to potential clients. Further, O’Brien taught techniques on how one can confidently network with strangers, and she provided steps on how to consistently get noticed by people you do know. This presentation is a great one for job seekers and independent engineering consultants.
Daryll Griffin is IEEE-USA’s program manager for careers & innovation programs.