You studied hard and you finally graduated with an ME, EE or CE with honors. Now comes the tough part. Getting that all-important first job. It’s a key step that calls for study (you’re good at that) and some serious introspection, for the first job will determine the direction of your career path.
So where to begin? First off, you should already have joined a number of engineering associations and societies. And if you’re really on the ball, you will have already participated in a number of internships and part time co-op jobs. From there, you should have been networking your butt off. Getting to know senior and project engineers on a first name basis. If you’re lucky, you may even have found a mentor to guide you in your fledgling career and full-time job search.
If you’re still out of work, it’s time to mine every industry contact you have in your little job “connections” book. You should also be attending job fairs, seminars, and trade shows, letting industry professionals know of your good grades, school project work and eagerness to get into their industry. If they ask for a resume, you should have one tailored to that particular industry. Yes, you’ll need to fine-tune several resumes—each loaded with keywords and projects geared toward a particular industry.
If they ask you questions about the industry, you should be “all answers” because you did a ton of research before going to the event. Use LinkedIn and other professional sites to acquaint yourself with the key players in the company, the project engineer or rep you’re talking to.
Be enthusiastic and ask if they are hiring. Get the name of the HR manager. When you send off your resume to these HR managers, tell them you talked to so and so at the seminar, trade show or industry exhibit. Mention what you talked about and throw in some specific details (although don’t get too wordy).
For an added perspective, check out this video:
Got any thoughts on landing that first engineering job? Include them in the comments section below.
Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients. Please see more of his blogs and view additional job postings on Nexxt.