How to Land Your First Engineering Job
- Take Engineering Exams
- It's Who You Know
- Work on Resume
- Write a Good Cover Letter
- Prepare for the Interview
Getting an engineering job is the goal of most engineering students or graduates. After spending years in college, many graduates feel they're ready to hit the job market and land the first job they pursue. They often fail to consider all the competition in the engineering job market. Landing a first engineering job doesn't have to be impossible if the graduate has all his or her ducks in a row so to speak. Here are 5 ways to land a first engineering job.
See our ranking of the 30 Best Values for Aerospace Engineering.
1. Take Engineering Exams
Licensure is not required for many entry-level engineering positions, but having already passed at least the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam can enhance a resume substantially. Becoming a licensed engineer requires earning a degree from an ABET-approved engineering program, passing the FE exam, at least four years of work experience and passing the Professional Engineering exam. Most candidates applying for their first engineering job haven't completed all these steps because they lack the work experience. Having the FE exam under their belt can be a big step towards getting an engineering job.
2. It's Who You Know
It often is true that it's not what a person knows but who he knows. This can be especially true when applying for an engineering job. The Internet is a vast fountain of information, and a lot can be gained from taking advantage of all its resources. Connecting with a potential employer through a college alumni network or by speaking with fellow alumni members who are in the same field can be beneficial. Social networking sites like Facebook or LinkedIn are also great sources for connecting to an engineering network. The National Society of Professional Engineers offers a list of many engineering state societies located across the nation.
3. Work on Resume
It's often the cover letter and resumes that result in an individual being called in for an interview. It's important the engineering candidate work on the resume and makes it as impressive as possible. Because the candidate has just graduated and doesn't have much work experience, it's important that he or she details the stuff that they can do well. Any and all relevant qualities should be mentioned, such as completed internships or seminars. The resume should speak for the applicant and be able to say that although there is not a lot of work experience, there is knowledge and willingness to learn.
4. Write a Good Cover Letter
Many people feel that the cover letter is the most important part of the entire application process. The resume details all the person can do and what the person knows, but the cover letter best describes the actual applicant. Some employers even stated that if they didn't like the cover letter, they didn't bother reading the resume. It's important that the candidate be as honest as possible about his or her weaknesses and strengths. A potential employer is typically going to be more impressed with the honesty than the lack of experience.
5. Prepare for the Interview
Regardless of how good an applicant's resume looks, it often comes down to acing the interview. A degree and knowledge are important, but with little work experience it may come down to what type of impression the applicant gives. Applicants should be someone the company wants to work with. Applicants who are interested in mechanical engineering should do research on that particular branch of engineering. Trade magazines and the Internet, in general, can be helpful. Candidates should research the company and ask as many questions as possible so as to appear knowledgeable of the company.
Engineering is field very much in demand, particularly since engineers are used in so many ways in so many industries. Engineers are expected to see a job growth of seven percent during the 2016-2026 decade as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Knowing the best methods for getting an engineering job can make all the difference in when the engineering career starts.