The battle for engineering roles in the UK is as competitive as ever. Our eight tips will help to make sure yours is one of the names that stands out from the pack.
1 – Choose a sector. Like agriculture, maybe.
Focusing on the sectors you would most like to work in will narrow your job search and help you channel your energy. One of the industries where engineers are currently most in demand in the UK is agriculture. Global food security is high on the government agenda. The population is growing. Farmland is shrinking. Climate change is affecting yields. Tomorrow’s engineers are needed to tackle the mounting challenges in novel ways. Energy is another sector where talented new engineers are sorely required.
2 – Intern
Many graduate jobs expect you to have hands-on experience. No degree? No problem. Lots of companies offer apprenticeship programs, giving you the opportunity to get into the industry and earn while you learn.
3 – Tune up your CV
Every CV and cover letter you send out should be carefully adapted to suit the role. Highlight specific work experience, clearly stating what you learned. No previous on-the-job engineering experience? Don’t panic. Highlight the skills you have acquired that are relevant to engineering: attention to detail, problem solving, creativity and so on. Frame your CV and cover letters in terms of how you can help the company you are applying to. Be specific. It will help you cut through the sea of applicants.
4 – Don’t just focus on grad schemes
Lots of graduate engineers make the mistake of applying only to grad schemes with the major firms. But don’t limit your options. There are hundreds, wait, thousands of opportunities at smaller firms. Sure, they may not be graduate specific roles. But your position will likely be way more varied, with more responsibility, giving you broader industry experience.
5 – A well-presented design portfolio
Got a good catalogue of CAD work? Put together a well-presented portfolio that you can take along to interviews. It’s a good idea to get a website too and showcase your designs online. Those speculative emails will be way more persuasive when you can point the recipients to a collection of your work.
6 – Ask questions
Graduates in their first engineering jobs can often be a little nervous while they are finding their feet. That’s natural. But never let it stop you asking questions. You are likely to be working alongside engineers who will be happy to help you find your way. They were in your position once.
7 – Brush up on your detective skills
Being a great designer requires a unique ability to put yourself in the shoes of the end-user of your products and services. You need to adopt the mind-set of the user and focus in on their problems, their desires and their needs. In short: you need to hone your detective skills.
8 – Find educational resources
Engineering moves fast. The best engineers never stop learning. Find the resources that stimulate you and dive in!
Engineering is a challenging, demanding and competitive profession. But more than any of that it’s rewarding. Best of luck in your job search.