10 things you MUST do before you begin searching for an engineering job

Searching for a job can sometimes be the most frustrating and disappointing process you can ever go through. This experience is only further exacerbated in dire economics times when more people are competing for the same positions you are applying for. You therefore have to be well prepared before you start looking for an engineering job. Here are ten things you should really look into,

10. GOOGLE/Bing your name and see what comes up

Look up your name using all available search engines to find out if there is something embarrassing or incriminating that comes up. If you made a silly comment on a raunchy topic many years ago, chances are the comment is still there for potential employers to see. If that is the case, contact the site’s webmaster to have the comment removed. If Google’s site crawlers cannot find the page, they might erase it from their search results. Note: your Amazon wish list might also be available through the searches. Adjust your “wishes” accordingly.

9. UPDATE your Facebook profile picture

If you have a Facebook account, make sure the profile picture is professional looking. One portraying you in your favorite Halloween costume probably wouldn’t get you a call back let alone an interview. As unfair as it is that that your personal life could be used to assess your professional caliber, realize that the employer has nothing to go by but what is now readily available on the net.

8. ERASE your Myspace page

Some might argue that Myspace was attractive several years ago, but we can all agree that it has now become a distasteful congregation of bored teenagers and Viagra spammers. Your membership on the site only undermines your credibility as a serious professional.

7. Make sure you have a LinkedIn account

While most engineers are still ambivalent about social media, LinkedIn has been more readily accepted by most engineering professionals for online networking. It will therefore serve you well to have a professional account for the purpose networking and potentially getting a job through. At the very least, an account with LinkedIn shows that you are serious and tech-savvy.

6. Join Professional Associations

Some professional associations provide their members with certain perks. Some of these might be access to job boards and lists of companies. Having access to such information gives you an added advantage over the average jobseekers relying on Monster and other engineering job search sites.

5. Call your friends

Every engineer knows another engineer working for another company. This would be a good time to call the old buddy from college and let him know that you are out of work and that he should keep his ears open for you. If more people know that you are looking for work, the more likely you are to have opportunities come your way.

4. Obtain several professional references

This should be done before you even start looking for work but if you don’t have a stockpile of reference letters, it might be a good idea to call your former bosses and have them jot down something nice about your professional life.

3. Know what you are looking for

And what you are willing to settle for. This also includes salary and benefits. Are you comfortable taking a 30% pay cut in a relatively new industry. You should analyze your situation and determine what you are willing to accept.

2. Update your resume and cover letters

This goes without saying. Check out our 10 résumé tips for engineers for tips and suggestions.

1. Have a plan

Know what is it you are looking for and what you have to do to get it. If you need to attend a conference to further expose yourself, allocate the money and time.

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