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A letter to the May, 2010 Engineering Graduates

First of all, allow us to congratulate you on proving yourself worthy of being part of the noblest of professions. Whatever your specialization in college was, you will soon find out that the engineering profession provides unique challenges and opportunities which will provide you with a lifetime of meaning and satisfaction.

We are all glad that you are now part of our profession.

Over the past year, I am sure you have been keenly aware of the realities on the ground pertaining to the current state of our economy. You obviously know about how the bursting of the housing bubble triggered a domino effect of which the engineering industry was not spared. As a result, projects were eliminated while others were placed on hold, a perfect recipe for job losses. Such has been the uncertain economic climate that engineers have had to deal with over the past two years; however, current trends appear to indicate that we are no longer in that downward decline and that the  economy is in fact stabilizing. This is certainly good news for engineers and graduates because at least it confirms that the worst is behind us.

A stabilizing economy only means that jobs created outweigh the jobs lost. The next crucial step becomes integrating the unemployed and recent graduates into the workforce. While it is undesirable that you are joining the workforce in light of these less idyllic conditions, such conditions might provide you with an opportunity to determine exactly what course of life you would like to take. The following guide is intended to provide you with insightful tips to help you with your quest for your next engineering job.

Network, Network, Network

networking_guide-for-engineers
As a new graduate, networking will become a crucial part of your professional development and advancement. Much more so in an environment such as this in which the competition is more intense and the job search period might be longer than anticipated. Given this intense climate, we offer the following non-traditional networking strategies which might play a crucial role in getting you closer your dream job:

  1. Join community-level engineering associations;
  2. participate in various activities in the professional community; and
  3. Attend professional conferences – entry to some of these conferences might be free or cheap for students and unemployed engineers.

Strategic job search

Strategic Job Search
Strategic Job Search

Dire market conditions such as these call for an out-of-the-box approach to job search. While the conventional, responding-to-a-newspaper-ad type of job search might work for some people, such tactics have not been fruitful for most engineers I have interacted with. The following strategies might serve you better:

  1. harness the power of LinkedIN;
  2. search for internships as well as full-time positions;
  3. focus on small and medium-sized companies;
  4. follow the money – watch the news and determine where the money is being spent and then find out which companies are receiving those funds;
  5. pick a growing sector such as energy, transportation ;
  6. create job-specific resumes which highlight your best and unique attributes; and
  7. take the interview seriously and make sure you avoid these common interviewing mistakes.

New Engineering Jobs

Spend your time wisely

It might be easy to get distracted. Focus and spend your time wisely. For starters, stop using Facebook and spend more time on LinkedIN instead.

Better yourself

Learn something that will better your professional career. For example, study Microstation or AutoCAD, public speaking etc.

Congratulations again and we wish you all the best in all your future endeavors.

Yours Truly,

The Engineering Daily Community

Additional guides for new graduates

Guide for New Engineers
Best job search websites for engineers
10 things you must do before you start looking for an engineering job
10 résumé tips for engineers
10 common interviewing techniques used by engineering companies

About Ken.Kabaki

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One comment

  1. I know this is a slightly belated response to this article but I would like to advise all graduates to consider working internationally. If you are young and ambitious, there are multiple other countries that you can look into if you are an engineer. For example, engineering project are booming in Brazil and Africa. If you find yourself unable to find employement in your country, why not give another country a shot. As in everyting, make sure you analyze the pros and cons before booking your plane ticket.

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