Where EEs Navigate A Changing World.
Globe

In today's economy, even if you are employed by a large corporation, you need to think like an independent consultant or contractor. Long term incentives like defined retirement plans are now rare, and life-time employment is only a fond memory. Employer-Employee relationships have become more "immediate". It's "what have you done for me lately, and what will you do for me in the near future." Every engineer needs to actively manage their marketability. Start by ensuring you are good at what you do, and are recognized as such. Leverage that by keeping track of past coworkers and friends who have moved on to other employment. THIS IS IMPORTANT! Don't wait until you need a job to touch bases with those old colleagues.

60% to 70% of people find their new jobs through networking - not through traditional recruiting agencies. It really IS about "who you know". If you've been in the business a long time, you'll probably eventually ended up with a large stack of business cards, 90% of which are out of date. A great way to keep in touch is electronically. Make sure you swap personal email addresses with coworkers that you might like to work with again. Make use of an on-line networking tool. LinkedIn is one we can personally recommend. They have several levels of service, and the basic package is free.

Another site you might visit is the Riley Guide "Networking & Your Job Search site, which has a quick introduction to the topic.

Finally, if you are an IEEE member, check out the IEEE-USA Employment & Career Strategies Forum and consider attending meetings of your local chapter of the IEEE.