Sometimes the most difficult part of the job search process is getting your foot in the door. You may have the education, experience and work ethic to get the job done well, but trying to get through the selection process is more than just a great interview. The following strategies will give you a leg up in the engineering job search and help you land the career of your dreams.
1. Engineer your application. One size does not fit all. Always have a resume and cover letter tailored specifically to the position you are applying to. You don’t have to start from scratch each time, but tailor your skills, accomplishments, and specific work experience to align with your potential employer. Keep in mind, this does not mean embellish your resume! You may just have a large plethora of skills and past experiences that all aren’t necessary on every single resume. For example, if you are applying for a design job, you may want your CAD experience front and center.
Your cover letter should also be addressed to the person who could be hiring you. You will stand out from the crowd when you address the letter with “Dear Director John Doe,” versus “Dear Hiring Manager.”
2. Follow up or fall behind. Following an application, many job seekers fail to follow up with companies because they do not fully understand its importance. Oftentimes, hundreds of applicants are filling out and submitting the exact same online applications as you, meaning your information could get lost in the crowd. Stand out from fellow applicants by following up with a phone call or email to the company (or hiring supervisor) to let them know you submitted your application. This will show your expression of interest for the position.
3. Update social media accounts. This doesn’t mean you have to start posting to your wall because you haven’t in five years, but just be sure there is nothing inappropriate on your social media pages. If you’re sure everything on your page is appropriate, verify your profile information is clearly written, well organized and informative, especially for LinkedIn. Whether you like it or not, employers are checking prospective employees’ social media pages, and a strong social media presence can make or break their decisions.
4. Get your game face on. There are limitations on what a recruiter can learn about you from resumes and online profiles. Positive face-to-face interactions with potential employers can help them learn about you on a more personal level.
○ Hold a reverse interview - Get together with your potential employer or someone from the industry for an informal meeting. This is a great way to make important contact as well as learn more about the industry.
○ Industry conferences and professional associations - hosted by professional associations in your industry, these events involve experts from various companies. At these events, you can learn more about the industry as well as meet potential employers.
○ Job fairs - One of the most direct in-person job search strategies is attending engineering job fairs. All parties attending want the same outcome, and that is to hire or be hired. Dress business professionally, have an elevator speech ready, and bring copies of your resume, cover letter, business cards, and portfolio pieces (or links to them online).
○ “Cold call” inquiries - Online applications are becoming more and more common. Don’t become a needle in a haystack because with online applications, odds are your name will get lost in the crowd. Stand out to your potential employer by calling and asking about potential openings at the company and your interest in working for him/her.
When it comes to landing that great engineering job, practice makes perfect, however doing your homework is even better. Hiring managers are always impressed when applicants know a lot about the company and industry and when they prove they’re truly interested in a position. Keep these strategies in mind to help maximize your chance for success. If you’re interested in a career at Gausman & Moore, visit our Careers page to see our current open positions.