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Engineering
engineering careers timeline

Your essential engineering timeline 2017

We've put together an engineering careers action plan for both non-finalists and finalists to help you organise your search for engineering jobs and internships. This is just an overview, so remember to consult the employer hubs for the specific deadlines of the employers you're interested in.

What to do in autumn

Non-finalists

  • Apply for summer internships or placement years for 2017. Some employers won’t take students until their penultimate year, but that’s not the case across the board. Application deadlines can be before Christmas and many recruiters will not wait till the closing date to start filling places.
  • Take steps towards actively helping to run a university club or society. You will develop valuable transferable skills.

Final-year students

  • Apply for graduate jobs and schemes. Engineering employers may run assessment centres as early as November. Some have application deadlines before Christmas, while others fill many of their graduate schemes by then, regardless of the stated closing date.
  • If you want to pursue postgraduate study, applying in the autumn term is ideal. Popular courses fill up quickly and for some universities you need to accept a place before you can apply for funding. Funding deadlines vary widely and it’s financially inadvisable to miss them.

What to do in winter

Non-finalists

  • Apply for any remaining internships or placement years.
  • No luck finding an internship? Investigate other options for the summer vacation. Top of your list should be engineering-related experience such as work shadowing at a local engineering firm or volunteering on a construction project in the developing world. However, any role will help you develop transferable skills.

Final-year students

  • Keep applying for graduate schemes. Some will accept applications into the new year.
  • Make any remaining applications for postgraduate study or funding.
  • Be prepared for interviews and internships. Ensure you factor in time for assessment centres and interviews alongside your university work. Have a respectable interview outfit at the ready.

What to do in spring

Non-finalists

  • Got any choice as to your modules or projects for the next academic year? If so, find out which options would tie in best with the work of employers who interest you. You can always phone the company's recruitment team if this information isn't provided on its website.
  • If you want a trip abroad this summer, consider organising some independent travel, rather than a package holiday. It's likely to develop your planning and problem-solving skills, which employers will like, and is more likely to provide job-interview-appropriate experiences than a trip to Magaluf.

Final-year students

  • Knuckle down to your studies in preparation for your exams – with a 2.1 you will be eligible to apply for many more jobs than with a 2.2.
  • If you have some free time, keep your eyes peeled for any schemes that haven't closed yet or may reopen. Make a note in your diary ready to apply once your exams are over.
  • Remember that it's not essential to have a job lined up for September. Some employers, particularly smaller ones, advertise vacancies all year round. See our advice for the summer for more options.

What to do in summer

Non-finalists

  • Doing an internship, job or voluntary role? Keep a record of what you do, who you work with, any improvements you make and any challenges you help overcome. This will help with applications and interviews later on.
  • If you can't find any job, consider initiating your own engineering project for the summer – could you design and build a vehicle, app, website, handy energy-saving household device...?
  • Research which engineering companies interest you for internships or graduate jobs so you are ready to apply in the autumn.

Final-year students

  • Look out for immediate vacancies with small employers who don't run graduate schemes.
  • Find graduate internships via STEP – many employers who use this scheme like to offer good interns permanent jobs.
  • See if you can find the odd graduate scheme place still available for the autumn with companies who have struggled to recruit or who have had graduates drop out at the last minute.
  • Got a job? Give yourself a decent break but make sure you're prepared for work so as to make a good impression from day one.
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