Hunting for engineering jobs has become very challenging. One of the many challenges is that job posting requirements have become ridiculous rather than relevant. That’s why job hunting should come with a plan of action. In this article, I’m going to tell you about 3 things you should avoid as much as possible.
Below I have listed 3 dumb ways to look for engineering jobs. These are relevant to other types of jobs as well, though as an engineer myself, I know I’ve done these before and they only resulted in added frustrations and not many great results.
My goal in this article is to give you an idea of what you should NOT do when job hunting. You will also learn a few tips on what you should do, especially if you’ve just graduated and it’s your first time looking for an engineering job.
Mistake #1: Using only one method of job searching that you are most comfortable with.
Why is this a dumb way of finding a job? Well, first of all using only one method of job searching these days just doesn’t cut it anymore! Employers are getting bombarded with applications, resumes, calls, referrals etc. and you need to make sure that your reach will not be very limited. If you use only the Internet to find jobs, know that not all companies would post the job you want online. Especially new grad jobs!
Search online but also network effectively to connect with existing engineers in the companies you find and locate their hiring managers. Increase your presence on LinkedIn because social networking is one of the most successful hiring programs for many companies.
You must also ask for referrals from the new connects you’re making on LinkedIn who work in companies you want to be part of. Though you should not ask directly i.e. “Hey I’m currently in the job market looking for opportunities, do you know of any companies hiring, or actually are you guys hiring?”
That is what you never want to do. Because you’re creating obligations for that person and you’re basically asking a stranger to do you a favor. And here’s another even more important reason: Would you refer someone to your boss for a job at your company, if that person just sent you a message online and you had never spoken to them?
Yes, of course, you wouldn’t. Why would you risk your own reputation for someone you don’t know and don’t owe anything to, right?
So how exactly is the employee referral program the most successful hiring program?
Wel, it is because the person making the referral has spent some time for getting to know you. Therefore, your goal when networking is not to ‘ask for referrals’ but instead to establish a relationship and then develop conversations that help you gain someone’s cooperation and earn their friendship.
Being referred to an existing opportunity or open job is the natural path/result of having made a friend. That’s what friends do for each other. Here’s a list of my top 6 tactics for establishing and maintaining professional relationships on LinkedIn.
Mistake #2: Making your resume as long as possible.
A long resume could contain anything you want to showcase to your prospective employer. But it’s not supposed to have everything. Your resume isn’t your life or career history document. It’s just a marketing document that highlights your top traits, skills and interests. The ideal resume length is 1 or 2 pages. Not 1.5 pages; either 1 full page, or 2 full pages, so it comes across as professional as possible.
You do not need to write a novel about you when writing your resume. No personal stories, no talk of how great you are as a person, or how well you work in a team. Just focus on listing your hard skills (not soft skills) and write them using terminology and verbs that portray confidence.
When writing your resume, also mind your formatting, spelling, and grammar. Making one of these mistakes will really make you look dumb. And who wants to hire a dumb engineer? That’s right, no one.
These are some of the visual turnoffs any hiring manager can notice. You can use businesses that offer services to improve your resume or proof read it. You can also ask someone whom you’ve built a strong connection with on LinkedIn to proofread your resume for you. And also use software such as Grammarly, like I do… hopefully, I didn’t make any spelling mistakes here :)
Mistake #3: Depending on recruitment agencies to find you a job.
Employment agencies may be helpful in some cases but not a whole lot for new graduates. Unless you’re looking for sponsorship through H1 visa and you’re ok with starting your first job on contract basis. Otherwise the main reason I suggest you stay away from 3rd-party recruiter, as a new grad, is that employers just don’t need their help in hiring new grads. Plain and simple.
A lot of the work recruiting agencies have is reliant on the economic activities of the industry they support – trust me that’s what I did from 2010 till end of 2016 – when the economy booms, recruitment booms; when it declines, the agencies and the amount of business they get declines as well.
Notice what I said up there? Business, it’s business to them. For an employer, hiring an engineer from a recruitment agency is the most expensive option, so they will stay away as long as they can. Until when they really need to hire someone and they couldn’t find that person on their own.
So, you want to spend hours again contacting recruiters? Think about this: How difficult is it to find a new grad on LinkedIn?
Exactly! Not hard at all.
I have nothing against recruiters. I owe everything I know to my last 7 years working as a recruiter… though I’m not cool with new grads who spend all day every day messaging recruiters on LinkedIn, and not getting any results, and then doing the same thing again tomorrow, and not getting results, and wake up in the morning adding a full page to their resume, and start sending it to all recruiters, and not getting results, so on and on and on… you get my point.
If something doesn’t work, Stop doing it, and find a better solution.
If you think you’re stuck in one of these three or some other single method you keep using, I believe it is time you use other ways to find jobs. If you want to find a job that you really want, then do your research and create a targeted list of companies in your local region who currently employ new grads with your skills. Then focus on establishing connections with senior engineers and hiring managers who work on those companies.
If you want to learn more about how to create a targeted list of companies for employment after graduation and also specific tactics on how to contact their hiring managers, make sure to connect with me on LinkedIn and send me a personal message with your career goals and challenges you’ve faced so far.
I wish you all the best in your job search and look forward to connecting with you on LinkedIn.