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How to get a job in engineering after graduating

Following months of stress, tears and finally celebration as you reach the end of your journey in education, graduation can be equally thrilling as it is terrifying.
Written on 11/12/19

Following months of stress, tears and finally celebration as you reach the end of your journey in education, graduation can be equally thrilling as it is terrifying.

After the dust settles on graduation, and you’ve moved back in to the box room at your parents’ house, the stark reality of employment (or unemployment) looms large.

It is a position faced by thousands of graduates every year – not just in engineering but across the board.

Encouragingly, if you are armed with a degree in engineering then you are more likely than others to find work.

A study by the Royal Academy of Engineering found that 81% of graduates enter into full-time work, further study or a combination of both six months after graduation. This compares to 76% for graduates across all subjects.

That number then jumps to 94%, three and a half years after graduation.

And so, while there are plenty of opportunities available, there are also several things you can do to make yourself the most employable candidate you can be. 

Firstly, while studying it is important to use your time wisely. This may mean passing on the holiday to Zante with your mates and working over the summer instead.

Building up your CV can be a game-changer in terms of setting yourself apart from the crowd.

Obviously this should not be at expense of your studies so finding the right balance between getting that all important 2.1 or above and building up your CV is vital. Balancing a job or work placements alongside your studies also demonstrates great time management and organisation skills, as well as showing a dedication to the profession.

During the first and second years of your degree you should start to work out where you want to work after graduation. This will then help you target companies for work placements in between semesters. 

The second thing you can do is get yourself in the room with eminent people. Your university can usually help with this and most universities will put on events or guest speakers for you to meet. This is your time to shine.

Do not be the shy sally in the corner, shake off any inhibitions and get yourself in front of potential future employers. This could also involve apply for awards which place young engineers in the same room as industry leaders, such as the New Civil Engineer Graduate Awards.

Thirdly, once you have decided where you might like to work, it is important to tailor your applications accordingly. This involves research, research and more research. Look up what the company specialises in, what they are working on and where they may want to grow. Keep abreast of industry trends – via magazines such as New Civil Engineer – and incorporate what you have learnt into your CV.  

And finally, don’t give up. You will face rejection and knock backs. Some companies may not even reply to you, but that does not mean you are not worthy of their attention.

Emails alone may end up floating around the ether. They say a picture paints a thousand words, well a phone call goes a thousand miles when trying to get someone’s attention. Pick it up, there’s more to smartphones than Instagram and Snap Chat!