No matter what is going on in the world at any given time, there is always going to be a demand for extremely smart people to create, manage and improve the technology and power that we all rely on every single day. And it doesn’t matter if you are a kid in school, a parent working from home or even a Fortune 500 CEO… we all rely on this same technology. without ever giving a thought to the individuals who are helping to make it all possible.
And while the world will always need engineers, a STEM education is no longer a guaranteed career. The good news is, there are some ways to make sure your skills, education and personal expertise stands out from the crowd.
To help you get the upper edge in the competitive world of new engineering grads, be sure to consider each of the working methods and recommendations listed below.
It Starts With a Stand-Out Resume
Gone are the days of easy transition from an undergraduate engineering education into secure, long-term employment. STEM fields like engineering are still highly sought after and there is the potential to find secure, long-term employment with higher than average entry salaries post-graduation. But decades of such potential has seen an uptick in engineering graduates, which means new grads have to do more to stand out.
One of the first steps to standing out is to create a resume that will get your application pushed to the top of the pile. There are specific ways to design a good engineering resume, and templates available to help provide structure and direction. New engineering graduates with top-notch CVs are usually those who get scooped up the fastest.
Don’t Neglect Your Career Portfolio
Just because you haven’t built a long, illustrious career does not mean that you don’t have enough relevant experiences with which to create an impressive career portfolio. A career portfolio features a bio page highlighting your strengths, any awards, and your educational experience, your resume, and information about your courses (especially ones you did exceptionally well in).
Letters of recommendation are also important additions to a portfolio, as are evidence of your technical skills, including videos, drawings and any features in faculty or school media of things you made or projects you contributed to.
Do Your Homework on the Companies You Interview For
Getting the interview is half the battle. Wowing the hiring manager is the other half. If you are applying to large companies for highly competitive roles, you can rest assured that you are up against top talent, many of whom have almost identical credentials to your own and who are as, if not more impressive on paper. In order to stand out and demonstrate you are, if not more qualified, at least more interested in a role, you need to make it clear that you understand the business better.
Spend a lot of time prior to your first interview brushing up on a company’s niche, its competitors and reviewing its annual general statement. It is always a good idea to read recent press releases and any features or mentions in industry journals. You can also ask questions about the company during the interview. Most new engineering graduates are so concerned with selling themselves that they forget an interview is a mutual exchange.
Display Superior Soft Skills
Engineers often get a bad rap for being unsociable or purely left-brained number crunchers and analysts. While much of the job is highly analytical, succeeding in modern engineering also requires great soft skills like written and verbal communication, and a much higher emotional intelligence than engineers are often given credit for.
Across the board, employers are increasingly hiring for these soft skills and even, in certain instances, prefer candidates with these skills over other more technically gifted ones. A good way to bolster your resume with important soft skills and competencies is to invest in things like leadership courses and to be constantly working on your written and verbal communication. An engineer who can do the tough technical work and who also possesses superior written and verbal communication capabilities is a double threat and a huge asset.
Join Professional Organizations
Most career engineers are members of a number of different professional organizations. These networks connect professionals, provide access to professional development opportunities and speak to interest and commitment in the field.
If you are a new graduate and are willing to go to the effort (and spend the money) to join these organizations, including this on your resume is a great way to show that you are committed and fully invested in your education and career choice. It is a good indication to employers that you are going to be an engaged and conscientious employee right off the bat.
Coming into a highly competitive professional field as a new graduate with no work experience, in a sea of similar candidates, can seem overwhelming, even hopeless at times. There are more talented new engineering graduates than there are positions to be filled. But, if you incorporate the above considerations into your job search, you stand a much better chance of making not only a good impression on hiring managers, but standing head and shoulders above the crowd.