The Top 3 Tips Entry Level Engineers Need To Get Their Next Job

Eyram Sotome August 1, 2017
13 people like this post

Getting Your Next Job Is Easier Than You Think, Just Follow This 3 Tips

As an entry level candidate, there is just too much competition. Whether you are searching online, talking to people at a career fair or handing them out at an engineering company, you are always at the end of the pole – because you have no experience. However, things don’t always have to be so hard if you learn how to hack the system.

Here are the top 3 ways I’ve used (and verified) that works to get your next job as an entry level engineer.

Make Communication Real – Through Any Event

Never underestimate the power of simple conversation.

One day, I went to a pre-career fair event (only because I just wanted the free food). I brought my resume with me and ended up sitting with 2 guys that were just relaxing at the table.

Career Fair to get Job

Turns out that these 2 people were actually engineers that were working at the company I wanted to work for.

Do you think I talked to them about “how cool I was” and “my greatest achievements as an engineering student”?

Nope. I just talked to them about how I was a master at getting free food.

3 days later, I had an interview.

Within the same period, on another occasion, I went visiting my old junior high school and saw my tech ed teacher. After talking to him about how I went to college to do engineering, he hooked me up with his son-in-law who was an engineer that worked in Upstate NY.

2 weeks later, I got a job offer. Better, this one was guaranteed 😉

Celebrating getting an interview

Now, I ended up going with a different company but the point is don’t sell yourself short.

Placing your confidence in an online website is dumb. Make communication real by actually letting people know that you are looking for a job in engineering. Or talk to them about free food.

LinkedIn Is A Real Marketing Tool – Use It

Using laptop for LinkedIn

Too many students today just think that the jobs are waiting for them after school. They aren’t.

Why not target a few people that will get you a job instead of trying to prove you are worth hiring compared to 50-100 other candidates?

I tried this for myself and I came up with some interesting results.

Here’s what happened:

1. I went to Linkedin.com and look for engineers that worked in the mechanical engineering industry.

There were too many people to choose from so I used the shortcut: Just look for engineers that are already talking to other people.

I used CTRL + F on 2-3 articles that were career-related then searched for “engineer” and looked for a mechanical engineering manager who I wanted to talk to.

2. Connect with them using an “awesome” message

From there, I messaged them using this template. You can use it as well. Send them something like this and it should work for you:

Hey {Name},

First, I just wanted to thank you for your comment you made on the {insert article name}. I totally agree with you on that point, especially since {your point you found interesting}.

In any case, I would love to connect with you. Please keep me updated if you ever plan to write articles as well!

– Eyram

Wouldn’t that make you smile if you got that message because of a comment?

3. Follow up 1-2 days later asking a question

After they accept the request (this is usually within seconds of seeing your message), send them another message asking them a question that you’ve been wondering.

It can be almost anything related to the engineering industry.

I asked this question: What advice would you give for {insert topic}?

In the message, go deep into what your problems have been lately and how they have been a real inspiration for you, especially after looking at their profile.

Then, explain where you want to go in your career in the future but you don’t know how to approach the problem.

What will they reply?

A positive answer in the right direction:)

I got to speak to the HR Director of Ferrari and even some IBM engineers that gave me tips, from experience hiring other people to THAT company, to put me ahead of other candidates.

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Jobs Will Only Come With Experience

The catch-22 that we face will always remain the same: “How Do I Get Experience Without Experience?”

You need to make it. Remember, experience is more than just some bullet points on a resume.

Some colleges programs, like Knod, are trying to solve this problem by linking more work experience with classroom lessons. Here is an infographic that talks about what they found while developing their program:

College Grad Infographic - Knod
Click to see the full infographic

So, in other words, we can’t concentrate our efforts on school. It just isn’t worth the time investment.

Focus on your experience, meaning all the hands-on projects you can get, to be able to talk with employers before they are actually looking for people.

I had a similar experience where I contacted a company when they weren’t hiring and, 8 months later, they hired me when I was looking for a job before graduation.

When you are in that situation, you need to show evidence that you know what you are talking about. Even if you don’t have much, the fact that the open communication was made before they were hiring will put you ahead.

Focus on the core. Be useful to who is hiring you.

Before you go, I would like to know what other tips have you applied or heard of?

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Eyram Sotome

I like helping those who need help. Kind of like superman without the tights. To put it simply, you are in the right place. Thanks for reading.

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Comments (31 people commented this post)

  • avatar image

    Caroline

    August 31, 2017 Reply
    Hey Eyram, This article is super helpful. You're right - it definitely takes more communication than just an online application sent to a company's website to intrigue an employer to want to set up an interview. My problem with that fact is: how do I go about sending these "cold call" emails or phone calls without sounding too formal so that it sounds fake, but also without sounding too casual to the point it seems that I'm not really serious about the opportunity to work with them?
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      Eyram Sotome

      August 31, 2017 Reply
      With messaging, there is no right answer. There's just a preferred approach. Cold call emails don't work because you can tell it's a cold call. However, if you design all your emails to have 2 pieces of uniqueness (Ex. "I really liked X about your company" or "I didn't know that your company uses Y approach"), then you can automate all your messages out from there. My approach is to tailor the emails to the industry and size of the company. If the company is small, my emails are more casual. If the company is big, then it is more formal. Note: I said "more casual" and "more formal" because I'm adapting my own style of writing to suit the needs of the employer. To find your own writing style is usually what people find most difficult. Engineer typically don't like to write about how they feel out of fear that they will be judged. To get a good idea of that, look at my LinkedIn profile. So...Is this hard? If you are doing it by yourself, yeah... Not gonna lie. But, if you are interested in working together on it, please let me know. I can give you a process (with wealth of perspectives) that makes it way easier to do. Hope this helps :)
      • avatar image

        Caroline

        August 31, 2017 Reply
        Thanks for the quick reply. I totally agree with you on the judgement aspect! But what you mentioned about the size of the company being a factor on how you approach the conversation is a great tip; I’ll have to keep that in mind the next time I reach out to a recruiter. I would definitely like to hear about your process!
        • avatar image

          Eyram Sotome

          August 31, 2017 Reply
          I'm glad it was helpful :) For more about the process, send me an email at eyram@plusengineer.com titled "Process pls" and we'll talk later.
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    sean

    June 12, 2017 Reply
    this is a good article. I think my major issue is that I don't have the skills and experiences they want to get a job. I feel in most of the cases, it's not very helpful to posting applications online. To find a job, it's better to know someone and connect with someone actively. But before I went through the article, I have no idea on how to tackle with my situation. Now I got more clear. Thank you for sharing!
    • avatar image

      Eyram Sotome

      June 12, 2017 Reply
      You got it ? I got something for getting experience without experience if you are interested. Get on the newsletter and it'll be the first email ? Best, Eyram
  • avatar image

    Alipt

    November 26, 2016 Reply
    Eyram, it is a great pleadure to go through this article. Your words can make people stronger and give a hope to find a job when they are done applying jobs. Thank you for your inspiration and guide for applying a job and tips on making networks.
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    Jasper Whiteside

    October 10, 2016 Reply
    I like your tip to follow up. Open communication plays a very big role in getting you the attention you need. As a bonus, even if you don't get exactly the job you are looking for you can use the experience to make yourself better off. If you were to ask for advice like your example suggested, if you were sincere in your question then the advice would be applicable and would help you in whatever future you end up in. Even if it's not with that employer. For example, an engineer might ask for advice and the answer might point out that he might enjoy a different position a little better.
  • avatar image

    Andrew

    January 9, 2016 Reply
    Hi Eyram, This is something I have ran into several times, infact I know it's the reason that with two companies in particular my interviews didn't go beyond the second phone interview: How would you go about the issue of applying for postions you would have to relocate to? Can companies legally reject a canidate based off of their geographical location? Respectfuly, Andrew
    • avatar image

      Eyram Sotome

      March 2, 2016 Reply
      Hey Andrew, I'm replying very late but here's the answer to your questions: When it comes to relocation, you need to decide 1) what are the costs of living there 2) If the environment is your "type" of place to live (some people hate the desert) and 3) if the job is worth leaving where you are. Now, most people are just going to leave their friends and parents because of money. But, money will get old quick so it's important to ask those 3 questions first. Once you are done with that, I would suggest getting in contact with recruiters in that area where you want to relocate and ask about the experiences of others who they've placed there. The recruiters will be the most honest about this stuff because you aren't a direct customer when you first call them. 2nd Question: Legally, no. However, "preference" isn't legal... or is it? When you hear about things being legal with employment, they usually are talking from a financial point of view. If I'm an employer and I want to hire someone, I might as well choose someone who knows my area so they can do the job fast. If I can't find anyone in the area, then I reach out to find other people from far away and pay them to stay so my business grows. When you think in those terms, the answer is quite simple: yes. However, the law protects you from racial, gender, age or other discriminatory things. Geographic location is only applied when you are better than the other candidates that are local from the start. I hope this helps!
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    Terry

    December 26, 2015 Reply
    Great article. I'm a 36 yr old man, who have been working as a full time machine operator for the past three years while going to school . . My major is in Chem Eng and I graduate in May 2016. What advice will you give me as someone who was working full time and going to school full time.
    • avatar image

      Eyram Sotome

      December 28, 2015 Reply
      You actually have the best situation. You got experience working and a degree. Now, you need to focus on positioning that to get interviews and job offers. Join the newsletter to get that info and email me if you got questions!
  • avatar image

    umair

    November 4, 2015 Reply
    nice and thought provoking article . i am too on a job hunt in middle east and really needed those tips. by the way can I get u some free food ;) never mind just kidding... cheers
    • avatar image

      Eyram Sotome

      November 4, 2015 Reply
      Hehe... I'll come if you got some ?
      • avatar image

        umair

        November 4, 2015 Reply
        haha y not man ! :)
  • avatar image

    Tanweer Khan

    October 26, 2015 Reply
    Amazing and very informative post Eyram. I just graduated from uwindsor in Civil Engineering and looking for opportunities now. Thanks for the post again :)
  • avatar image

    Manie Mynear

    September 16, 2015 Reply
    Wonderful posts posted! Terrifically interesting posts. Good effort!
  • avatar image

    EDMUND

    July 6, 2015 Reply
    Thanks Eyram for that piece. Honestly I have never taken the time to read your blog (busy for nothing). From now will take a closer look to your blog. Thanks Again. EDMUND.
    • avatar image

      Eyram Sotome

      July 6, 2015 Reply
      Hehe... I don't blame you (I've been slacking for a while). Thanks for reading! More to come!
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    John Winkowski

    July 4, 2015 Reply
    Although the Knod infographic was well done, it is honestly upsetting for me to read. Seeing the unemployment and underemployment rates doubling since 2007 for people with bachelors degrees is very telling. I've had my degree in ChemE for 2 years now (3.1 GPA) and so far I have only gotten a couple interviews and a lot of denial letters. The "relative importance of attributes in evaluating graduates for hire" also stuck out to me. I didn't get an internship, I didn't work during college, I didn't do any extracurricular activities, and I've never volunteered (although I have offered to work for free before). That's a grand total of 66 out of the 100 scale that I do not have to offer employers. I fully understand how not having an internship is a major setback, but seriously? People won't hire me because I don't like to volunteer or do extracurricular activities?
    • avatar image

      Eyram Sotome

      July 6, 2015 Reply
      John, the bigger question is not why didn't you do it, but why aren't you doing more about it. I came into college with 1 goal: get a job out of there. I didn't care about anything else and that's why I applied to more than 200+ companies before figuring this stuff out. Even though ChemE is a hard major to get a job with, it isn't impossible unless you make it impossible. Focus on the goal, bro. I'm sure if you even apply just the tips I mentioned you'll go far. It's just really how bad you want to be an engineer.
      • avatar image

        John Winkowski

        July 8, 2015 Reply
        I should have first mentioned that I use your resources a lot and the rest of this article was very helpful and informative. Thanks for all you do Eyram! You really do have the right ideas :) I just couldn't help it after reading that infographic though. I had to vent my frustrations a little bit. You get told that you can get a job out of high school, but if you want a little more you should go to college. Then they tell you that you will get a better job because you went to college and worked hard. Then that piece of paper called a degree isn't enough and now you need all these other things that are completely unrelated to your field just to make you stand out. It produces this feeling that one is being lead on and taken for a fool. This is also why I believe the current economic "recovery" isn't real. The stock market has bounced back, but the job market is still nowhere near where it should be (when looking at other historical trends during past recoveries). Wages are still stagnant (barely keeping up with inflation) despite productivity steadily increasing. If the gains in productivity aren't going to the workers, they can only be going to the fat cats. But I digress. And you're right. I can't give up no matter how stacked the odds are. I simply have no choice at this point.
        • avatar image

          Eyram Sotome

          July 8, 2015 Reply
          You got it, John. Let's become the next chapter of engineers Who actually do something ;)
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    Wilson Fok

    July 4, 2015 Reply
    Hi Eyram, I like the article. It is helpful. But everything in it sounds daunting. Could you give us more tips please? Thanks Wilson
    • avatar image

      Eyram Sotome

      July 6, 2015 Reply
      Sure. What specifically would you like more tips about?
  • avatar image

    Abhay Vincent

    July 3, 2015 Reply
    Great work Eyram..Nicely Done. The tips are great especially the one about LinkedIn. Will make use of that message template for sure. Congratulations and well done mate.
  • avatar image

    Benjamin Spangler

    July 3, 2015 Reply
    This article is very inspirational. I am three to four semesters from graduation and far from being experienced so I am trying to get my foot in the door with companies by playing off of my previous career which is welding. So far no luck but I will keep trying. Thanks for your words of wisdom.
    • avatar image

      Eyram Sotome

      July 6, 2015 Reply
      No problem, Benjamin! It was really funny writing the article because sometimes, I don't even believe I had the guts to do those things. But, that's what is required today to make it. Show the guts ;)
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