Each day, we receive calls from multiple graduate engineers who are on their journey to find and secure their first opportunity within engineering upon completion of their studies. Whilst this should be a very exciting time, it can also be a very daunting time. In a bid to help those struggling to enter the market, we have put together some quick tips that may help.
Whilst these are just a few of our recommendations, we hope that they help. If you have any questions, or would like any one on one advice, feel free to reach out to one of our consultants at any time!
CHOOSE YOUR SECTOR, AND STICK TO IT (FOR NOW!)
We get it, engineering is very broad and there could be countless number of sectors that you could work in having completed a Bachelors’ in say Mechanical or Civil Engineering field, and it can be difficult to figure out your direction if you’ve never worked in these sectors!
But too often we speak to graduate engineers who are applying for positions in say Building Services for example, who when asked, cannot articulate why they are interested in Building Services, or why they want to pursue a career in that field. This will be a huge put off to potential employers, should you manage to secure that first interview.
We suggest that you pick a field (or a couple), carry out some research, and focus on securing a position within that field. This way you can be focussed, informed across your search, and have a laser eye focussed on securing a role with a top employer. If, further down the line, you need to pivot to something else, it’s easily done!
RESEARCH YOUR INDUSTRY AND BUILD YOUR NETWORK
Once you have a clear understanding of the direction you want to head in, we recommend:
· Make a list of companies within that field (make Google, LinkedIn, and Engineers Australia your best friend!).
· Using LinkedIn, research who the hiring managers may be. You can click into the companies, and look through their employers, taking note of ‘Associates’, ‘Principals’, ‘Directors’, ‘Managers’, ‘HR and Talent Acquisition consultants/leaders’.
· Connect and engage with these potential hiring managers, and perhaps reach out to them, explaining your interest/passion for the field, and that you’re interested in seeking their advice on entering the industry – perhaps invite them for a coffee, we guarantee at least 1 in 3 will respond and take you on your offer!
· This may be out of your comfort zone, but you could also pick up the phone and reach out to them that way or dropping into the office with a resume.
· Network – have a look online for upcoming virtual and in person networking events where you can connect and learn from your peers! Institutions that we recommend include – CIBSE (Building Services), AHCA (Hydraulics), ACSE (Structural), and SYDBIM (Digital Engineering and BIM).
Remember, companies are always looking for confident communicators, or those willing to step out side of their comfort zone, so the above approaches can sometimes go a long way.
THINK ABOUT YOUR UNIQUE SELLING POINT (USP)
In a recent study carried out by Grad Australia, it was estimated that each year, employers within the consulting field received 4,387 applications for every 139 job openings, meaning competition is HOT. So how do these companies narrow down and shortlist their applications? We have previously discussed graduate recruitment with some of the top firms in the industry, and they have highlighted that they look at:
· Prior work experience (relevant and irrelevant to your industry)
Any work experience is seen upon favourable by those hiring graduates. Whilst experience relevant to your industry is preferred, whether that be part time work or internships, they also see irrelevant experience in say retail or hospitality as a chance to build great ‘soft skills’.
· Software proficiency
Upskilling and becoming proficient in softwares’ relevant to your industry, such as Revit, Civil 3D, 12D, BIM 360, Navisworks and AutoCAD, will mean that you can add value to potential employers from day 1, whilst you learn your craft.
· Location and Visa’s
As brutal as it sounds, some companies will look at location and visa dependency as ways to cut down their application numbers.
Take a think about what your USP and make sure to highlight this on your resume, your LinkedIn profile (your online resume), and in future interviews.
Not sure how to prepare your resume or set up your Linked In profile? Check out our Job Seekers Advice page here for more tips!