You've got your honours in chemical engineering, you're a junior engineer-in-training, you have less than 4 years of experience at a firm and suddenly you get fired. What do you do? Do you try and get your masters in chemical engineering? Do you try and find a job unrelated to engineering? What can be done? This was a question recently posed to anonymous engineers on a social media site and the reflection of the engineers currently working in the industry could inspire you to take control of your engineering prospects whether you're currently looking for a job or not.
This year has not been kind to chemical engineers. We've seen chemical engineers with BTech degrees begging for jobs on street corners in South Africa, and now isolated incidents of firings of junior engineers in Canada. Employment in these fields is obviously few and far between in 2016. Nonetheless, employment issues are not limited to a certain type of engineering around the world, there are more industries that are struggling to accommodate engineers and the salaries that they demand. It's enough to stress out an educated, employable engineer.
However, fellow engineers have offered their two cents on what to do to keep pushing for the engineering jobs, to ensure that you snag that job:
- Update your resume
- Update your LinkedIn Profile
The Dean of Engineering at the Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT), Steve Mackay, talks about constructing an engineering résumé in the fifteenth episode of the Engineering News Network. Here is a summary with some quotes from the Dean that might strengthen your curriculum vitae:
1. Focus on the job: "Most people think they can use a generic résumé because they are applying for lots of jobs but that is a sure fire path to destruction."
2. Make it simple: "Use simple English, lay it out simply, you don't have to address it to the village idiot but by the same token make it simple and easy and reasonable."
3. Grammar and spelling must be 100%: "Try and look at the English and the spelling to make sure it reads well."
4. Avoid excessive information: "The twenty page CV is long since gone. Employers don't have time to read."
5. Lots of white space and include an executive summary: Mackay says the executive summary should be included because it would state why you think you're the right pick for the job. "Try and be specific, give real employers names...who actually exist...plus your time with them and the job you had and the reason why you left," he said." He further says that you should try and avoid the 'job hopping' approach where your CV shows that you've only spent a few months at a place of employment because that doesn't look good at all.
6. Search for jobs you really want: "It's pointless going for a higher paying job if you hate it. Try and focus on the jobs you are looking for, make sure it's aligned with you."
7. Business strengths: Mackay says it should include 'business wins' from previous employment. Stating what kind of successes you achieved.
8. Experience: "No matter how many qualifications you've got, if you don't have the experience that matches up with the qualifications, you've got a pretty tough job selling yourself. Experience plus qualifications...great match."
- Send your CV everywhere: You never know where you might get a response from
- Find other employment in the interim: This is specifically for engineers who are between jobs or struggling to find the dream engineering job of their dreams. Sometimes, getting a job unrelated to your industry could give you more skills that will assist you once you get into your dream job
- Be prepared to relocate: Engineering experts say that limiting yourself to your city or town is a bad idea, especially if the industry is slowing down in a particular area.
The skills shortages in the STEM industries continue to plague the industry. However, engineers are being influenced to broaden their skill sets in entrepreneurship and other studies so that they are instantly more attractive to businesses who might be interested in hiring them. Keeping a job in the industry means continually learning and applied newly learned skills. It's never too late to learn some new tricks, according to the engineering aforementioned engineering experts.
How do you remain employable in the engineering industry? Let us know in our comments section.
Source: Reddit / The Engineering News Network