As we approach the end of 2021, many engineering students will be preparing for their final year project. Despite this taking up most of your time and energy, it is also important to look beyond the end of your course to assess your options for post-graduate employment.
We have written previously about what we can do to inspire younger generations but thought it would be useful to discuss the options of post-graduate engineering students. So, what does the industry hold for an engineer fresh out of university?
Presumably, you have already attended recruiter fairs over the past few months. These are invaluable options for building an early network of companies and engineers, and may help shape your choices immediately after leaving university.
A 2016 study found that 84 per cent of respondents were in full-time employment 3.5 years after graduation, but only 69 per cent of them worked in the engineering field. If you are interested in a job in engineering after university, it is therefore vital to maximise your chances of finding a relevant (and long-term) role.
Below are some of our suggestions based on industry experience that can help improve your chances of successful employment in the engineering sector.
Begin by leveraging connections you might already have through your university or course. Depending on the institution, there will be recruiters and career counsellors available. Another option is to speak to lecturers, who may have their own connections or advice on finding the right sector for your skills and interest. It makes sense to do this while the resources are available, as it can help you refine the following steps.
Next, focus on your online presence. We have written about this in depth before, so if you would like to read more on that, click the link above. One of the main takeaways from this article, having an up-to-date profile on a site like LinkedIn will make it easier to build connections and a professional network. If you do not feel you have many skills to your name that would look desirable on your profile, use this as a starting point for extracurricular or post-graduate development courses.
As mentioned, this feeds into two of the most important aspects of the engineering industry: networking and connections. We have a full post on networking and its importance, so read that for more guidance. Use the final stages of your degree to begin building a professional network of connections, which you can use once you start job-hunting. Also, consider attending industry events if you can because these provide invaluable connections. Engineering is, after all, about who you know as much as what you know.
So, when is the best time to look for a post-graduate role? While it depends on numerous factors, job opportunities typically pop up in the first and third quarters of the year. Q1 means new budgets and possible expansion, while Q3 means an influx of graduates looking for work. As such, you should begin a job search anywhere from March of the year you graduate from university.
Of course, you should also consider further training or graduate schemes as a way to further your skills. Our sister company, KDC Projects, offers graduate schemes as well as intern opportunities. Feel free to contact us for more information about enrolment.
Graduating university can be a daunting prospect as you are unleashed into the “real” world of working. But, with the right preparation, you can make the difficult process of finding your dream role that much easier.