It is a fantastic feeling finally to complete your degree, but it can also be extremely daunting and difficult to know exactly how to begin your search for a job.
If you are looking for a career in civil engineering, there are some key ways to ensure you are making yourself as attractive as possible to employers.
Careers Fairs and Presentations
One of the best ways to get yourself noticed and to find out as much as possible about potential employers is to attend careers fairs and presentations.
All of the major players in civil engineering, including Jacobs, Atkins, Arup and Balfour Beatty, will have a presence at university fairs, and this gives you the ideal opportunity to speak to other graduates and engineers working for the organisation. You can find out first-hand about the graduate scheme the company have on offer, what areas they specialise in and any other benefits they offer. It also gives you the opportunity to shine and stand out to the employer.
If you come across as really keen and give a good impression, there is a high chance that one of the representatives will remember you!
Preparing your CV and applying for jobs
When preparing your CV and applying for jobs, it is essential to state exactly which area of civil engineering you are interested in. For example, you may have specialised in water, highways or traffic, and you need to make this clear to employers: this is crucial.
If you simply say you are interested in any job in civil engineering and apply for every civil engineering job available in the company, chances are they won’t take you forward. Large-sized civil engineering organisations will have many departments, with different hiring managers, and they want to be sure that you have a passion for the area they work in, rather than feeling that you are just looking for anything. Rightly or wrongly, this is the way the hiring decision often works.
It is also important to do some research into the organisations you are applying to. Don’t simply apply to the companies who offer the highest salary or a golden handshake. Take time to consider what you are looking for from your career. If you want to progress, does the organisation have a good graduate development scheme in place? Would you like to travel? Find out what the options are and whether the organisation is global.
Civil engineering is highly competitive so it is in your best interests to be as flexible as possible. Many other graduates will consider relocating for the right jobs, and it will put you at a disadvantage if you are not open to these opportunities. It does not have to be forever - often you can relocate and move back when a suitable position becomes available in your own locale. The willingness to be flexible will make a good impression on your new employer.
For more information about graduate engineering jobs, visit WikiJob.co.uk, the graduate jobs pages on icerecruit.com and the career development section of the ICE web site.
Edward Mellett, WikiJob.co.uk