If you have landed on this article, then you have probably made a great decision when it comes to your profession by pursuing an engineering career.
In the role of an engineer, you are not just book-smart, but you are also a forward thinker. It is after all one out of the few in-demand and fastest-growing opportunities across the globe right now.
Here we will unwrap all this brainpower when it comes to securing your first job as an engineer. Regardless of whether you are still studying at a college or you are thinking about what move to make now after completing grad school, below is some information you can use so you stand out from the crowd.
Building A Career Portfolio
In many cases, engineers find it a difficult task to promote themselves. This is the reason why when I mentor college interns and high school students, I request that they create career portfolios, that involves your story about yourself which you will feel comfortable sharing with your potential employers.
This is a tactic that solves 2 problems at the same time. To begin with, you will see yourself from a view point that will help you to focus on what will make you stand-out. The second is that you give your potential employers the way to learn about you, before your interview begins.
The better portfolios will usually include:
- Your bio page that will summarize your recognitions, education and your strengths
- Your resume
- Information containing your internship, coursework, language proficiency, hobbies, volunteer work, and anything else which will make you stand out
- Recommendations and testimonials from any people that have closely worked with you like former clients, professors and employers
- Evidence that shows your own technical skills. This may be examples of any projects you may have worked on, tables or flowcharts which illustrate how the way your traits will combine that makes you a candidate that is ideal for the job.
- Evidence associated with your non-technical skills. When you describe your internship, it should include photos or links as well an explanation on how this work was a benefit to the business. This is also applicable to your personal accomplishments. For example, instead of just saying that you recently completed a marathon, you should discuss factors such as the self-discipline required for training for such an event.
- You should have your portfolio online, which should be included in your resume, your LinkedIn profile along with any of your other materials that you submit with an application. It is also advisable to bring along a hard-copy with each interview, so the manager that is hiring is able to go through the content. When you display your portfolio through various formats, it makes it an easier task for the hiring company to spend a lot more time going through your work.
Know About The Business
You may be an engineer, which means not many people will have questions about your intellect. You have already survived extensive courses in physics, programming, data analysis and calculus. But are you aware of how these technical skills will translate into the balance sheet of a company. In many cases, engineers do not know how to do this, which means if you are able to show the potential employers about your knowledge on business savvy, you immediately stand out. If you want to know more, keep tabs on the Redline blog.
If your interview is with a company that is publicly traded, read over the annual reports to find out about their customers, costs, and sales channels. If the interview is at a private-company, then go online to find out information about their customers, competitors and markets. This information will offer you with questions you can ask that will impress the hiring managers.
Over and above using online resources, you can also contact people that work for the companies you are interested in working for, or even the industry leaders. I have often heard that senior executives have participated in an information interview with an aspiring engineer. However, if you secure an interview with one of these big guns, make sure you have relevant and substantive questions ready. Below is a guide on how to reach out using an email, and how to make the most from a meeting.
Invest In Yourself
Is it possible to live inside the same home for 30 years without conducting any maintenance? The answer is of course-not. The foundations would literally start to crumble, and the same rings true when it comes to your career.
When you are an engineer, you need to consistently work on building new skills. This is possible through joining up with professional networks like the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) or the SWE (Society of Women Engineers) and make sure that you participate in these conferences.
You should also be open to diverse and challenging projects, even if they fall outside the ones you were assigned at school or work. Also look for personal side-projects, freelance assignments, or short-term jobs in order to obtain experience. Think about the skill sets which are in demand at the moment that are not being addressed and try to work on acquiring them.
In conclusion, work on developing your social and leadership skills. It is easy to build up your confidence when you take online classes and networking. When you have secured a job, think about either starting or joining with one of the employee affinity networks, which can assist you in navigating your work environment as well as build up the skills needed for this job.
However, do not allow these group types to limit you as labels over time can soon become self-limiting. I am an African-American woman, and I cannot tell you the importance of not allowing your race, gender or any other factor to define who you are. For this reason, it is important to surround yourself with others from different experiences, trainings, perspectives and backgrounds to help you become a stronger and more professional engineer.
There may not be a shortage when it comes to engineer jobs, but employers are still looking to employ the very best people. If you are able to show what you can offer and take the time to understand their business and focus on knowing your crafts, you will secure an outstanding job along with the success you have been dreaming about.