Landing Your First Job as an engineer

getting a job as an engineer after college
Many graduating students are often intimidated by the thought of the first post-graduation job hunt.  However, it is worth noting that the process can be easier than they think if they remember the basic job search rules.   Below at ten rules that I have found to be helpful landing that dream first job to jump start your engineering career.

  1. Get out into the real world An engineering internship or part-time co-op job tells employers that you have already experienced a real-world work environment and know what to expect.
  2. Network, network, network – Most grads land jobs through people they know — not by answering newspaper ads. So, make a list of your own contacts, such as professors, family and friends, and add to it by attending career fairs and other professional associations and activities.
  3. Have a superb resume – One of the most popular statement you hear when it come to job search is, “how does your resume compare to the rest of the resumes”.  You should definitely create your resume to stand out from the other applicants. This can be achieved by precisely tailoring your resume to the job you are looking for, using pertinent keywords, listing relevant experience etc. See our articles on writing effective resumes and cover letters for additional tips and guidelines.
  4. Showcase your grades – Grades are still important to potential employers, especially for first time engineering graduates. In my own experience, most employers look for a 3.0 GPA or better. Do not be discouraged if you have a GPA lower that that. If that is the case, make sure you are able to explain why.
  5. Research – Prior to the interview, take the time to learn about the company you are targeting by visiting its website. It is also a good idea to speak with current employees about the company. Using, tools such as LinkedIn, you can easily find a person working for subject company and strike a conversation with them.
  6. Use examples – During the interview, show interest in the company by asking open-ended questions which show that you are interested in the potential position. It will also do you a lot of good if you use specific examples from school or internships to answer questions about your experience. Do not be afraid to highlight your strengths and skills for the employer.
  7. Smile – It’s hard to smile when you are on the hot seat — but a smile during an interview shows enthusiasm for the position and the company. Potential employers might interpret a non-smiling face as a lack of interest.
  8. Show your thanks – A thank-you note following a phone or face-to-face interview reinforces your interest in the position and the company.

In my own opinion, your first job as an engineer is very crucial because it might determine where you end up in your professional life. The type of work you do right after college might interest you and cause you to specialize in that area in engineering.  You should therefore be very careful where you are by making sure you analyze your long term objectives and those of the company and see exactly how the first years in that company will affect the rest of your professional life.

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  1. Sorry guys but,

    I’ve been in Calgary since July 1st 2012. I’ve spent alot of time and effort to improve my ability to job search. I’ve been to free workshops of many different government agencies. I’ve received subsidized training to help “special people”, I’ve been on income support. I’ve networked and cold approach and continue to do so.

    My results ?

    I was looking for a drafter position because I am a drafter (as well as a chemical engineer with no experience)

    A. I landed 1 great job working with a CNC router and a robot R&D project. I quit this job because the employer was not mentally healthy and it was over my threshold.

    B. I landed a job as a drafter in a very nice architectural firm.

    Now I want to contribute more in an innovation environment where I can help with my analysis and learning skills (that I got for free when I was born).

    So my point is that I’m right in the middle of it. And I am very irritated by your article, I’ve never seen your blog before but it makes you look like I will never come back again.

    Please try something else, it’s OK to look stupid, just keep trying (happens to me often 🙂

    I think I would get more help from an article if I was getting the truth about job search, which is that it is VERY difficult, even if you are VERY qualified. Creating that special connection is like finding love, everyone has similar needs but we only feel that good with that special someone.

    Knowing yourself is very hard too, it takes experimentation and acceptation, you’re gonna need this to find a good job…

    knowing what’s out there, most job are stupid and boring, or maybe what you need is a stupider, more boring job to fit your personality… what ever floats your boat, but you got to do the work to learn that by trial and error. That’s takes time and effort, and it’s hard. Doesn’t mean it can’t be fun along the way.

    Thanks for listening to my rambling this morning.

    Chemical Engineer
    Drafter (AutoCAD & Revit)

  2. Hi,

    It might be my fault, how ever, I have rarely seen a stupid article like this.

    Grades, interships, … Those are things of the past, it’s too late for the reader to act on this.

    “Have a great resume” How ? By tailoring your resume to the job post, ok good idea, how ?

    This is a useless piece of “paper” lol

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