Regardless of what stage in your engineering career you are at, graduate level or climbing through the ranks, you will inevitably have to look for the next rung of the ladder at some point.
So, if you’re there at the moment, or you think you might be there shortly, have a read through our tips to discover three ways to boost your engineering job search for 2018.
1. Develop your soft skills
You might be considered the best engineer in your field, but if you can’t play well with others, communicate effectively, problem solve or work in a team environment, then you’re almost certainly not the ideal candidate, nor are you likely to get promoted if you are hired.
Employers want to hire people who get on with their colleagues, who can pull their weight, who can add extra value. If that isn’t you, then you want to work on your soft skills.
If you’re looking for ways to put yourself ahead of other potential candidates, develop your soft skills whilst you search for your next engineering job:
Volunteer. Giving up your time to help others is not just good for the soul, it’s great for your CV. You instantly demonstrate emotional intelligence, plus it gives you something to talk about and draw experience from, other than engineering, during the interview.
Get work experience. Whether it’s in the engineering world or not, soft skills are transferable, so build up your database however you can and get paid to do it.
Get life experience. Go travelling, join a sports team, a club; whatever interests you. Just make sure you do something to show you have initiative and other core soft skills.
2. Always look for opportunities to get ahead
Gain experience however you can
Never be afraid to ask for an opportunity. If there’s a project that you want to work on, ask your boss if you can get involved. Even if they say no, see if it’s OK if you’re just a casual observer. Showing interest at work is never going to be met negatively.
Never stop learning
The vast majority of engineering employers actively look for recruits who have advanced degrees. Obtaining an undergraduate engineering degree is no longer enough to get ahead in this world of ever-changing technology. Developments occur so quickly that you have to be constantly learning and looking for ways to enhance your knowledge. So, seek out courses that will give you a boost up.
Talk to your line manager about doing a Masters degree. See if there is a way you can be sponsored, or get credit towards it, or even how other people have worked it around their day jobs. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Think outside of the box
If you’re a graduate trying to break into engineering and you can’t find a clear job route, inquire about internships. Getting your foot in the door is the key; how you get there is irrelevant. If there are no starter job opportunities for you, gaining experience in the industry through an internship will set you head and shoulders above other candidates.
3. Do your homework
Don’t adopt the scattergun approach to job hunting and just assume that you should apply for every engineering job going. Like any industry, there are engineering jobs that will suit you and your particular skills and interests, and engineering jobs that won’t.
And whilst we all come across some form of the latter at some stage in our career, landing a job that you don’t want, that you have no interest in and can’t benefit you now or in your future career, is just a waste of everyone’s time.
Research engineering companies and find ones that appeal to you and start your job search there.
Reach out to potential employers on LinkedIn and send them a connection request and a brief introductory message outlining who you are, what you want and what you can offer them.
Finally, don’t get obsessed with finding the ‘ideal job’. Chances are it doesn’t exist or isn’t open to you yet, so channel your energy into jobs that are close to it. Make a list of everything you like and don’t like doing in your current job and allow that to guide your job hunt. You’ll likely end up reading several hundred job spec frogs before you find your prince!
To enable comments sign up for a Disqus account and enter your Disqus shortname in the Articulate node settings.