Transitioning back into an engineering career

The 2008-2010 recession saw many engineers out of work, in some cases for an extended period of time. From what we have observed here at The Engineering Daily, the jobs section continues to receive a wider audience, at times single positions receiving multiple applicants. This definitely indicates that there is still a segment of the engineering community out of work.  Luckily, one promising observation shows a significant increase in the number of positions available.

What is now clear is that jobs are available and employers now have a wider pool of candidates to choose from. Given these new set of circumstances, the question then becomes; how does one compete and reclaim their career in a seemingly more challenging and complex job search environment.  For this exercise, we will analyze an engineer who lost his/her job at the onset of the recession in late 2008, and switched to a different career, say teaching.

If you have been out or work for an extended amount of time, the major challenge becomes reacquainting yourself with the job market,; recognizing the emerging opportunities; and proving to employers that you have what if takes despite the lengthy ‘break’.  Once you have the job, then you will have to assure your employers that you will quickly transition back properly into the workforce.

The following tips will be helpful in helping you with your career change phase which encompasses, shining your credentials; how to implements a successful job search strategy; and recognizing the rapidly changing world of technology.

Reinforce your job search strategy

  • Review your previous engineering experience and highlight what is relevant and recent.  It is also a good idea to custom tailor your job search to each specific position that you apply to. See other jobs search tips.
  • Use language that sells on resume and focus on performance and results. Quantify results whenever possible and provide some context for accomplishments. This is especially true if you are transition from a different career back into engineering. It might be safer to highlight the results from the latest career instead of trying to correlate two contrasting experiences.
  • Do not be afraid to contact old co-workers and ask for help in determining how to approach job search.
  • Join a local chapter of a relevant engineering association such as, ASCE or IEEE.
  • Become an active participant on social media sites, read blogs written by industry leaders and actively participate in discussions.
  • Make networking and relationship building a bigger priority by getting active in associations, going to conferences, and building relationships online. See more tips on successful networking.
  • Target emerging sectors such as clean energy companies and build connection with idustry insiders.

Next – Interviewing and convincing employers that you have what it takes

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