How to get your dream engineering job
Published: 29 Nov 2016 By Georgina Bloomfield
When it comes to finding our dream job, every one of us each has our own strategy to achieve this seemingly impossible task. Every job is different and no job is perfect. However there are certain things engineers can do in their career to help get themselves on the right track to career success. Here are a few tips:
Engineering has so many sectors it’s hard to keep track of them all. As engineering as an industry evolves and grows, these sectors will be constantly changing. What is known relating to do with building services now may not make much sense in the next 15 years. It’s a good idea to research each of the sectors that appeal to you the most as much as possible and look at which direction they’ll be going based on demand and the economy. It’s not always easy to predict where the world of engineering will go, but if you have an idea of what a career in electrical engineering is likely to be like for the next 10 years or so then you can decide whether or not that particular sector is for you. Even if you’re a seasoned engineer, you should get up to date with your sector and what the competition is doing.
Know what you want
What do you want from a career in engineering? This isn’t just a question for younger applicants. In fact, if you’ve been in the engineering game for a while you’re more likely to know what you don’t want from your career which can be equally as useful to achieving your dream engineering role. What’s most important to you in a job? Is it money, progression or making a difference? Do you want to lead others or be part of a team? Knowing each of these things will help you decide what engineering job you want (and what you definitely don’t want).
Networking – specialised
Networking is great when you know where to go and who to connect with. If you’re unsure, try signing up at engineering recruitment conferences and job fairs. If you haven’t already, invest in some business cards to hand out and have copies of your CV and/or cover letter available.
There are lots of different company types
Have a look at the type of company you want to work for. Do you want to work in a huge company or try an SME? Broaden your options; you may just find the perfect opportunity in a place where you normally wouldn’t think of as a good place to work. One of the best things you can do when pursuing a new career is to have an open mind.
Existing experience is invaluable
If you have any existing experience, you must play on it as much as you can. They say to get experience you need to have experience which can be an infuriating vicious circle if you don’t have any at all. It doesn’t always have to be relevant. If you’ve worked an in office previously and you’re looking to do some on site work then your previous experience still counts. For example, by working in an office you’ve learned a lot of workplace skills, possibly meeting deadlines and so forth. Even if you think the experience you have is irrelevant it’s worth mentioning. After all it’s up to the employer if they think it’s relevant to your new job role. You just have to sell it right.
You may need some very specific experience before applying for the role that you want. This could be in the form of a graduate scheme, apprenticeship or summer placement. Look for firms you’d be interested in working for and advertise yourself as an asset to them. Even if they’re not recruiting they may still take you on for work experience. This possibly won’t be paid experience however.
Both bad and good experience is useful for finding your next great career. Don’t exclude bad experience from your CV if it’s all you have. What you learned from a bad experience can sometimes be far more useful than what you learned at an average one.
If you’re worried that your experience may be too specific for the role you want to apply for, it’s still worth including it. Being a Jack of all trades is fine in many other professions, and you’ll surely have plenty of useful transferrable skills. However, lots of much-needed jobs in engineering require specific skillsets that generic workers simply don’t have.
Continue to grow at whatever stage you’re currently at
It doesn’t matter whether you’re in your first summer placement or if you’ve been in your role for five years. If you’re not learning new skills or thinking about where you need to move on to next, you’ll be stuck. Look at in-house training programmes or any training budget offered to you by your employer. You may find that your employer offers you a small sum towards personal development. It’s not entirely free, but it’s really worth looking into.
Join a professional organisation
Professional organisations are perfect for boosting your career. You can keep in touch with what’s going on in your chosen sector (mechanical, scientific, electric etc.) as well as make key contacts and look up perfect training courses. Professional organisations are great for personal development and staying in the know. Also, check with your employer as they may offer discounted membership to these organisations.
Consider engineering opportunities abroad
Part of your dream may lie in working in a different country altogether. Click here to see why you should consider this even if initially you may think it’s a terrible idea.
Overall, there are lots of different ways to approach getting your dream engineering job. Your current experience is the most important factor on moving on. Knowing how to sell it well is the key to your progression.