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Strategies for your engineering job hunt

How to be a better job hunter in engineering, design and manufacturing

Find out how other students interested in engineering, design and manufacturing employers are finding and applying for jobs – and use our four tips to help you get a job offer.
LinkedIn is undeniably the social media of choice for students interested in working for engineering, design and manufacturing companies, with 76% using it.

When it comes to your job hunt, you can learn some valuable lessons from those who’ve graduated before you. How did they connect with engineering companies? How much work experience did they have? What do they think are the most important factors when choosing an employer?

We found the answers to these questions and more through the Graduate Survey 2018. The survey is the largest of its kind in the UK and is conducted by Cibyl, a partner of Group GTI, which is the parent company of TARGETjobs. 73,517 students took part overall, but we’ve focused in on those students who expressed an interest in working for engineering, design and manufacturing employers.

After analysing the findings, here are our four nuggets of advice:

A quick snapshot: students who are interested in engineering, design and manufacturing employers

Before we reveal more about our four key takeaways from the Graduate Survey 2018, take a look at the full infographic below. Knowing how other students interested in the same career as you are approaching their job hunt can help you follow in their footsteps – or learn from their mistakes!

Compare yourself with your peers in engineering, design and manufacturing

Four tips for getting a job in engineering, design and manufacturing

While there are more than four insights you can gain from the infographic, the following tips stood out to us as very important to help you secure a job offer.

Make the most of the different social media platforms

LinkedIn is undeniably the social media of choice for students interested in working for engineering, design and manufacturing companies, with 76% using it. If you belong to the other 24%, it’s time to create your profile. If you already have a profile, take the opportunity to review it and check that you’re making the most of the site.

Some recruiters actively search LinkedIn for suitable profiles, so you could find yourself headhunted. You can also join engineering-specific groups, follow engineering employers and professional bodies and participate in discussions. Your careers service will usually offer advice on your LinkedIn profile and you can read our tips in the articles listed below.

Students interested in this sector probably weren’t making the most of other social media platforms for careers purposes, though, with 20% using Facebook, 19% using Google+, 15% using Twitter and 18% using YouTube. You can get ahead of the competition by taking advantage of the range of social media available to you. Start by following us on Twitter @TjobsEng_Tech.

For more help, read:

Meet engineering employers on campus and further afield

Students interested in engineering, design and manufacturing employers want to engage with recruiters in person and on campus. Meeting employers at careers fairs, through the university careers service, by having industry practitioners as guest lectures and by attending careers workshops on campus were the four most preferred options.

However, not as many students are engaging with engineering employers as much as they should be. The most popular way of engaging with recruiters was by meeting them at careers fairs, but only 58% of students interested in this sector said they wanted to. So, make sure you are attending any events that your careers service or department put on. Accept invitations to off-campus events (eg employer open days or sessions held by professional bodies) too. You’ll usually have fewer students to compete with for the recruiters’ attention! See if you can attend a TARGETjobs networking event such as Future Female Engineers.

For more help, read:

Look for work experience – especially internships and placement years

Most students interested in engineering, design and manufacturing (81%) employers have work experience of some sort. 62% of students have work experience related to their course, which, for most, will be an engineering discipline.

However, 68% of these students aren’t on a course with a placement year, despite this being one of the most common forms of work experience in engineering. The number of students who have completed an internship of two months or more is also lower than you might expect (26% of penultimate years and 37% of final years) considering the number of engineering employers that offer these. The Institute of Student Employers’ Annual Survey 2018 found that 62% of the employers surveyed are recruiting summer interns and 53% are recruiting year-long placement students.

So, one of the best ways to stand out from your peers is to make sure you’re one of the students who has got work experience on your CV. Especially as the ISE also reported that employers rehired an average of 52% of their interns and 43% of their summer placement students! If you aren’t on a course that involves a placement year but would like to do one, talk to your department to ask if you can still do one. They’ll usually support you in gaining such valuable work experience.

Unrelated work experience, such as a part-time job at a supermarket, is great, but work experience within engineering, design and manufacturing is even better. Get as much work experience as possible and, if you can, use it explore different industries, such as automotive, rail, the built environment and power generation.

For more help, read:

Choose a job that matches your priorities and values

When asked what kind of company they want to work at, 25% of students interested in engineering, design and manufacturing employers say a large international company, 17% say a large UK-based company and 13% say a small/medium size enterprise. 38% say any of the above and 6% say they don’t know.

Students interested in this sector are more likely to judge a company on its innovation than students interested in other sectors. 36% of students say ‘innovation is very important to me’, which is the highest percentage across all sectors.

Over half (59%) of students interested in this sector rank a good work/life balance as a very important factor when choosing an employer, while 23% rank a high starting salary and 21% rank corporate social responsibility as very important. International interaction and opportunities are also viewed as important, with 30% of students saying this is very important.

Considering these factors before you decide which employer you want to work for increases the likelihood of it being the right fit for you and you being happy in your job. Other factors to consider include the location of the job, the employer’s success in the market, attractive tasks to work on and the training and development on offer.

For more help, read:

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In Partnership

This content has been written or sourced by AGCAS, the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services, and edited by TARGETjobs as part of a content partnership. AGCAS provides impartial information and guidance resources for higher education student career development and graduate employment professionals.