10 Tips for Landing Your First Engineering Job After Graduation

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Aug 20, 2018

Aug 20, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Do you want to do engineering as a career? Engineering is a promising career but you're met with plenty of competition. 98,000 students concentrate on engineering.

These factors make it hard to get a start in the engineering field after you graduate from college. But don't worry -- this doesn't mean you can't land a job after college. You just need to know how to stand out from the competition.

Show prospective employers you're the new hire they're looking for. Here are 10 tips to land your first engineering job right out of college.

1. Identify the People Who Inspire You and How They Gained Success

Everyone has their own success story. Maybe they started from nothing and rose to the ranks. Or maybe they had an incredible skill and that skill was recognized.

These figures can be celebrities, famous engineers, or maybe a family member.

Learn their stories and know how they gained success. None of these figures got an easy ticket in life. They worked hard, endured turmoil, and rose back up to claim their success. Use their stories as guidance.

2. Develop a Portfolio

As a student, how much experience do you have? Did you know any internships while in school? Or was your school hands-on and assigned different projects? Before applying for jobs, develop a portfolio of your past projects.

What if you don't have many past projects? It's never too late to do an internship or start volunteering. Take on every hands-on project you can find.

A portfolio shows an employer you have some experience to excel, but you're fresh enough to always learn.

3. Start Networking

It's never been easier to network with professionals in your niche. Social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn are great networking tools.

Even in the technology age, face-to-face meetings are always preferred. Through your school and the local community, you can also attend open job fairs and make connections through your professors.

Look for outside-of-the-box networking tools. Conferences and engineering events are a great start. Reach out to any speakers or companies at these events.

Find any engineering alumni from your school and see if you can get company referrals.

4. Work in Teams

There's no better way to know people in a niche than by working in teams. Team players are also ideal candidates, especially in the engineering field.

If you're working on a school project or are doing an internship, don't be afraid to ask your manager or professor to work on a group project.

And who knows how many leads and connections you'll make through teamwork? You'll work with other engineers who can see your performance and may know more people than you.

5. Learn Other Leadership Roles

Engineers are natural leaders. But you shouldn't be reduced to only engineering roles. Why not beef up your resume with a myriad of leadership roles? Sign up for school politics and lead your fellow students.

You can also take a look at your hobbies and lead a group of hobbyists. This can include a sports team, a newspaper, or you can even form an art group.

Are you still stumped? Run a charity organization. Find a cause you're passionate about and raise money for that cause.

This devotion to leadership will impress any employer and you'll be one step ahead of other applicants.

6. Find Your Flaws and Fix Them

No one is perfect. Even if you're a brilliant engineer and a hard worker, you have qualities that others won't appreciate. And most professionals can't even identify their flaws. But knowing your flaws is the first step in improving as a person.

How do you find your flaws? Ask your friends and family for advice. Reach out to colleagues, students, former managers, professors, and other people who work with you.

Take their advice as constructive criticism and find ways to improve yourself.

7. Take Business Classes

Do you revolve your education around engineering courses? Take entry-level business classes. These courses are your first step in improving your leadership skills.

Is it too late to take electives in school? Find other business courses.

You can attend seminars, lectures, and find other non-college business courses. Some may be free and others may cost a fee, but know they're always worth the time and money.

8. Take Arts and Humanities Classes

Like business classes, arts and humanities classes are powerful electives. As an engineer, design is a huge part of your job. Use your artistic side and design incredible structures.

Web design also helps your engineering skills, discover more here.

Use these in your portfolio and prove to employers that your creative mind can improve your performance as an engineer.

9. Stay Productive Before You're Hired

There's no rush to land that dream job after college. If you're excited to start your career but have no luck in your job search, stay as productive as possible.

See if you can take on a part-time or entry-level role in engineering or a similar field.

Attend engineering events and conferences. This is also a good opportunity to take additional business and humanities courses, as well as creating groups to strengthen your leadership role.

10. Create Your References Now

When employers hire entry-level engineers, they look at your references just as much as your past experience.

Start by creating a list of strong references.

For starters, ask your engineering professors if they can be your references. If you worked while in college, ask your managers and co-workers if they can be your references. Who knows, maybe an employer will recognize your references.

Time to Land Your First Engineering Job

The engineering field is competitive. To land your first engineering job, you need to be sure you're an employer's best candidate.

Go above and beyond by taking extra classes, tapping into your leadership roles, and have a portfolio and references ready. Always reach out to those you trust and ask for additional advice.

Are you a recent college grad looking for a role in engineering? There are plenty of Canadian companies looking for entry-level engineers. Search for open positions here.