If you’re pursuing a career in engineering, first of all, awesome. You’ve made a great choice as engineering is in very high demand and is fast-evolving.
Engineers are known for being both book smart and progressive thinkers.
Fortunately, since engineering is in very high demand, you probably won’t have a problem catching the attention of an engineering staffing agency or employer if you apply these fundamental business savvy skills.
Get a Portfolio Together
Too often, aspiring engineers don’t do that. Instead, they often graduate with romantic ideas about being shoo-ins for the job that they inadvertently set a trap for themselves. As a result, they’re often not prepared for the high demands of the field, and they end up struggling to convince employers that they’re suitable for the job.
As a result, aspiring engineers are encouraged to put a portfolio together. This gives the meat of the story to employers before they meet you. It also helps you see yourself the way your employer does before meeting you-from a bird’s eye view.
Your portfolio should include:
- A bio page briefly explaining your strengths, education level, and any special recognitions you’ve received.
- Your resume. It may be just a stub, but that’s okay. You’re not expected to have worked very many if any, jobs if you went into college straight from high school. You probably also haven’t had very many jobs yet if you went straight from your Bachelor’s to your Master’s Degree.
- A summary of information about your course work, internships, whether you’re bilingual or more, your hobbies, etc. This can be put together in something called a curriculum vitae. A curriculum vitae is a brief statement about all of your academic and career achievements.
- Recommendations from former employers, professors, and clients. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can also ask them for testimonials.
- Give evidence of your technical skills. This can include links to your GitHub profile, showing of flowcharts and tables that you’ve designed.
- Also, give evidence of your non-technical skills. If you want to describe something you did for your internship, for example, don’t just send the pictures. Include an explanation of the details that went into setting up, collecting, and counting the money made from that fundraiser. This shows your business savviness as well as your attention to detail. It also shows your capability of going above and beyond.
Be sure to save your portfolio somewhere like Microsoft Word or Google Drive. That way, it will be easily accessible to your LinkedIn profile and wherever else you’re submitting your career information. Whenever you get called for interviews, it’s a good idea to bring a hard copy to show the employers that you’re organized and give them the chance to flip through it on the spot.
Show That You Know the Nature of the Business
It’s not a question of your intellect as much as aspiring engineers often don’t realize that, for example, that their technical skills can be transferred to the company’s balance sheet.
If you’re applying to a public company, don’t hesitate to check out their sales reports, channels, etc. If you’re applying for a private company, don’t hesitate to look up their competitors, markets, and customers. This can enable you to come up with some very well-thought-out questions, which highly impresses employers. It also makes you more likely to know what the company needs and to go above and beyond.
If you have a specific company in mind, or just generally, don’t hesitate to network with the leaders and those who work there. If you’re going for a large company, though, you’d better be able to back up everything you say. They can see right through anything bombastic or fluffy.
Always Stay Open and Ready to Evolve
As stated earlier, being a good engineer means thinking progressively.
If you’re going to stay progressive, you must keep building new skills as you go. There are many organizations, such as the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and, if you’re a woman, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Traveling to their conferences is a quick, direct way to learn the latest information and skills.
Networking and online refresher courses are also great ways to develop more confidence in your skills. Also, consider starting or joining an employee affinity network. This can help you, and everyone in your company navigate your work environment and build new skills.
Remember, almost every employer wants to hire only the best. Engineering jobs may not be lacking, but if you show that you understand the business and know your craft, you could become more successful than you can probably imagine right now.