Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice
Along with law and medicine, engineering is considered one of the most prestigious professions. For those who choose to major in engineering, their problem-solving skills, ability to communicate and proficiency in technology are put to the test. Those who are successful in college are always ready to put their skills to the test in real-world situations, but doing so requires being able to land that elusive first job.
When looking to land your first engineering job, it all starts with the resume. While you can do your resume yourself, it's often better to seek the help of a professional. Recent graduates often turn to the campus career center, which offers advice on resumes, cover letters, interviewing and more. The career counselors in career centers are aware of the latest trends in resumes and interviewing, so they should be able to offer sound advice. If you choose to go it alone, there are several good website to visit like ASME.org and Engineering.com, which offers career advice from experienced engineers.
When preparing for your interview, be aware you may face a variety of situations. Some companies do individual interviews, while others do group interviews or multiple interviews. Depending upon the employer, you may even be asked to take a lie detector test to help judge your character and provide possible security clearance in the future.
Engineering professors are also great sources of information for helping land a job. Since they know you, they can provide letters of recommendation as well as use their industry connections to help you find out about job openings that may not be advertised. In fact, the majority of engineering jobs don't get advertised, so talking to professors as well as friends and other alumni can get you a referral to a potential employer. As with most jobs, networking plays an important role in this profession.
Attending career fairs on campus and in the city where you live may also land you a job. When attending these events, always dress to impress and bring many copies of your resume. These fairs are great opportunities to meet employers in a laid-back atmosphere, giving you the chance to ask questions and possibly arrange an interview.
By using these methods, you should be able to land your first engineering job with an employer that's a great fit for your skills and personality. As with most jobs, if you're enthusiastic, motivated and willing to do whatever is needed as part of a team success will usually follow.