The other day I was speaking to a college student who hadn’t received any call-backs for internship interviews after his school’s job fair. He knew the problem was likely his resume and we were conversing about ways to highlight his skills on it.
I was struck by his limited focus on a few companies and job types because of his “ideal” of where he thought he wanted to go.
After our discussion, he came away with several actionable steps to both improve his resume and find other companies who might not have filled their internship quota yet. If you don’t yet have an internship or entry level job yourself, don’t worry… there’s plenty of open jobs out there still. You just have to go find them.
Let me show you how to perform an engineering job search.
Broaden your horizons
Part of the reason that I had so many job offers coming out of school was because I had a resume that highlighted my engineering experience. How did I garner them? I had been working off-and-on for various architecture and engineering firms since high school.
Don’t kid yourself, there’s little to no chance that your first job will be your dream job.
It’s short-sighted to focus all of your attention on one company, one industry, or one job title. I’ve been all over the map in what I’ve studied, designed, and done… and I’m a better engineer for it.
The bigger firms might have their interns all lined-up for the year, but there’s a ton of other companies out there who are still looking for talented individuals. Chances are you’ve never heard of many of these companies because they don’t focus on recruiting.
The types of companies that I’m talking about have fewer than 25 people working for them.
They’re not going to come to school job fairs. They won’t post job recs looking for interns or entry level engineers. They don’t have dedicated human resource departments.
Online yellow pages are one of the best ways to find them.
Find potential companies
These companies are too busy find you, so it’s your job to tell them that you’re a great addition to their company.
Once you’ve found a company that sounds interesting, you should do some research on them first. You should get to know who their clients are, be able to name a couple of their recent projects, and even look up their workers on LinkedIn… then it is time to make contact.
I can’t stress how important knowing the company is. When I did the hiring for one of my previous firms, there was nothing more frustrating that talking with someone who has no idea who you or your company was. A little bit of research can go a long way to impressing the person sitting across the table at an interview.
Give one of the managers at the firm a call.
Tell them that you’re a local college student studying engineering at the nearby college. Congratulate them on landing their latest project (or something else interesting you gleaned from your research).
Then ask them if they need anyone to do any CAD work or surveying – remember what I said about broadening your horizons.
Regardless of whether they need help right now, ask if you can send your resume over.
If you try to just send your resume over without talking to the company first, then it’ll end up getting buried at the bottom of a very long inbox. The reason I’m suggesting you to reach out this way is from personal experience.
Try it my way; you’ll be impressed with the results.