I have received requests from so many soon to be engineering graduates for recommendations on how to land their first job that I thought I would write this post to share some recommendations for all:
- Tailor your resume specifically to the job you are applying for. I recently spoke at a conference where a hiring manager shared some very interesting with the conference attendees. He said that when he reviews applicant resumes, if he sees one that is customized to his company specifically he is much more inclined to interview them. I always tell recent engineering graduates, if you are applying to 10 different employers, you should have 10 different resumes.
- Focus on the presentation of your resume not just the content. In today’s job market most recruiters and human resource professionals’ look at a resume for 10 seconds or less due to the number of resumes they get bombarded with. In those 10 seconds, the one thing they are certainly going to notice is the presentation of the resume. How neat it is, and how professional it looks. Bold important activities so that they jump out at first glance.
- If you are having trouble keeping your resume under one page, which it should be as a recent engineering graduate, remove the Objective. I have been told by several recruiters and engineering HR managers that everyone has the same objective, to get a job – therefore they rarely spend any portion of those 10 seconds reading it.
- When in the interview, try to ask the interviewer a question early on in the interview about the specific day-to-day responsibilities of the opportunity. By obtaining this information, you can then present yourself as a perfect match for the position. For example, if the interviewer tells you that the position would require construction inspections and reports, then if you have had that experience you can respond by saying, “this is a perfect match for me because in my recent internship I performed construction inspections and prepared reports.” Being able to present yourself as a match in this way will dramatically increase your chances of getting the job. Don’t spend the whole time talking about all of your skills and all of the great things you have done, first find out what they really want, because ultimately they are going to hire the person that can best fill that need.
- Ask the interviewer when they plan on making a decision on the position. This will give you a timeline for following up with them.
Some of these tips may sound obvious, but you would be surprised at how many applicants don’t follow these recommendations and it cost them one or multiple job opportunities.
If you are a recent engineering graduate or a soon-to be graduate consider joining our Institute for Engineering Career Development where we provide younger engineers with step-by-step engineering career development guidance.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success