According to a 2018 government study, for the engineering sector to gain enough candidates to reduce the skills shortage, they would need around 186,000 skilled recruits each year until 2024.
However, just because the UK is experiencing a shortage of engineers doesn’t mean getting a graduate job is easy. In this blog post, we address the key considerations you need to take into account that will help you secure that all-important first role in engineering.
Build Your Perfect CV (Early)
Don’t leave your job-hunting tasks until after you graduate. While you’re studying, think about what you want your CV to look like and then go out and try to secure experiences and skills that will help to build it.
Experience, Experience, Experience
According to the Institution of Engineering and Technology, 40 per cent of engineering employers believe that graduates lack practical experience. There’s no way around it; work experience is the most important thing when it comes to improving your chances of getting hired for a graduate position. Luckily, many universities include year-long placements, which can sometimes lead directly to permanent jobs.
If you can’t secure work experience through university, start asking firms if you can come in for a day to see how things work. Then try to undertake a few weeks of work experience or a summer internship.
Reach For The Stars
Don’t be afraid to apply to the companies you really want to work for. The UK is home to leading engineering companies, as well as outposts of many international giants. Additionally, don’t let your degree stop you from going for a particular firm or job that specialises in a different discipline, as the basic principles of engineering are widely applicable.
On the flip side, remember that there are a plethora of small and medium-sized technology firms that you might never have heard of which could offer the ideal opportunity. Smaller firms tend to require more niche skills and experience and so can struggle to find the right graduates to join their ranks. Remember too that smaller companies can sometimes offer an accelerated career path, enabling you to get more responsibility quickly.
Tap Into Those Resources
Your university is a hotbed of research that is often called upon by engineering firms to collaborate on exciting new technologies. In fact, it’s common for firms, especially startups, to contact universities they’ve worked with in the past to search for new recruits for graduate jobs. It might sound obvious, but check your university career centre. As well as job listings and other information, career departments often provide personal advice sessions and coaching in skills such as CV writing and interview techniques.
Tailor Your Applications
If you want to stand out from the competition, you need to demonstrate not just that you’re a good engineer but that you’re the best person for that specific graduate job.
As well as thinking about how your skills and experience match the role, you should research the company and demonstrate an understanding of their technology, the challenges they face and the broader sector in which they operate.
Don’t Lose Faith!
Don’t get hung up on rejections - they’re going to happen throughout your career. It’s crucial that you stay positive and think about the reasons why you weren’t successful. For example, was there a gap in your CV? Were there questions you couldn’t answer in the interview? Remember to always ask for feedback if you made it past the initial application stage, so you know what to work on next time.
Find Out More
To find out more about how you can excel in your engineering career, download our guide ‘Engineering Your Future: The Ultimate Career Guide For Engineering Professionals’ today!