As an engineering student looking ahead to your post-college career, it’s good to put some thought into how you’ll approach your job search and to start it early. Even though you have decades of working years ahead of you, it’s important to enter them in the right way because the choices you make early in your career determine its trajectory.
Determining your discipline
Engineering is not a one-size-fits all industry. There are many different types of engineering jobs, and finding the right field for you is critical if you’re going to have a successful career. While you’re still studying engineering in college, look at what fields have the most entry-level jobs, what they pay, and, perhaps most importantly, what fields are most intriguing to you. Remember that you’re going to likely be doing this type of engineering for many years.
The importance of networking
As an engineer, you have a lot of marketable skills; it also helps to know the right people to show them off too. Networking not only gives you the connections that make it more likely that you will find the right job for you, but it also allows you to learn more about the industry as a whole. Never dismiss the value of positive human contacts in your job search.
Approaching your first job
When you’re applying for your first post-college engineering jobs, your employer is not going to expect you to know everything right away. After all, you’ve just graduated from college. Rather, they are looking for someone who is open-minded and ready to learn, and that’s they way you want to come across in job interviews. Be prepared to listen to what potential employers are looking for as well to talk about yourself and your qualifications.
Prepare you resume
Especially if you don’t have much engineering work experience, your resume is extremely important. To start with, make sure that you detail the specific skills you have with software, and mention the types of engineering you are most knowledgeable about. Additionally, don’t leave out the practical experience you have, and it’s fine to describe any in-class and internship work you have done.
Finally, make sure that someone else proofreads your resume. A single typo or odd grammatical structure can ruin a good impression!
Your online impression
It’s very easy for hiring managers to get the lowdown on a candidate simply by checking out their social media presence. Therefore, it’s best to take down everything on your accounts that make you look bad. Those Instagram images of you doing shots of tequila or profanity-filled tweets aren’t going to help you land a job. Additionally, make sure that you have a LinkedIn account set up with your professional profile and that it’s current and reflects your skill set.
The all-important cover letter
Many hiring managers start with the cover letter first, and, if they don’t like what they read, they won’t move on to the resume. First of all, you have to customize your cover letter for the job at hand. If you send out the same, generic cover letter to every job you apply for, you’re sending the signal that you don’t care enough about this job to even research it properly.
Customize your cover letter, and also, be honest. If you’re passionate about the type of work you’re applying for, then, by all means, express that passion. If you’re not, don’t pretend to be because the hiring manager will see through the fake enthusiasm right away. It’s always a good idea to say that you’ll work hard, take the job seriously and that you’re reliable and dependable.
In the interview, it’s good to be relaxed, but don’t be informal. You want to show that you’re going to be respectful and courteous to higher-ups. Also, ask questions about the company.