I first heard about the Future Female Engineers event through an email I received from TARGETjobs – I had previously signed up to receive emails from them. Not knowing much about the event, I researched it and realised it would be a fantastic opportunity! Reading past blogs/success stories on the TARGETjobs website, like the one I am writing now, helped me to further grasp what the event was about and what to expect on the day.
The application process could not have been simpler. I answered some questions about myself online and, soon after, I had a telephone interview. This was the first interview I ever had so I was very nervous., but it was quite conversational and very relaxed. I was asked questions about myself, why I wanted to attend the event and where I see myself in the future.
Arriving at Arup in London, which is where the event was held, seemed daunting at first. I was a little apprehensive as I did not know anyone attending, so I started talking to some of the TARGETjobs team members and other engineering students who were at the event and my nerves disappeared.
The day started with an introduction from the TARGETjobs team, after which the key-note speaker Kate Taylor, an empowerment and wellbeing coach, conducted a workshop on creating our own personal brand. One of the aims of this workshop was to help how we present ourselves to future employers so we stand out from the rest of the candidates.
This was followed by a networking lunch where we could talk to the employers at the event and ask any questions. I would highly recommend researching each company that is attending the event prior to the day and making a list of questions you have for each one. This will help you to get the most out of the event, as opportunities like this are quite rare. From each company, there was either a senior female engineer or a graduate/junior female engineer that had not been at the company for very long – or both.. It was interesting to compare the experiences of the different levels of engineer.
After this, attendees were split into smaller groups and had the chance to ask questions to representatives from specific companies. I was in a group with two engineers from Arup. During this time we were able to ask questions about the application process, what it’s like to work for the company and anything else we wanted to know. It was a great way to find out what employers are looking for and we were able to get some key tips that are not available on company websites.
Staying in these groups, we were given a team challenge, similar to one you may encounter at an assessment centre. The representatives that we had been previously talking to assessed how our team worked together to solve the problem and gave feedback.
This was followed by a ‘how to get hired’ Q&A session with a panel of leading female engineers from each of the companies at the event.
I am very grateful to have been able to attend the Future Female Engineers event because it gave me the opportunity to ask questions and meet some of my possible future employers. I found speaking to the graduates to be as important as speaking to the more senior engineers. The senior engineers had more experience and knew more specifically what the ideal candidate was for their company; the graduates, however, were experiencing what I will be experiencing in the next few years, so gaining their insight was also vital.
After the event, the TARGETjobs team have remained in contact, offering advice and tips whenever I felt I needed it regarding applications to companies and other queries. I applied to all of the companies that attended the event for a mechanical engineering industrial placement. I am fortunate to have been offered a 12-month NAVED industrial placement in the submarine division at BAE Systems, which I am looking forward to starting. Attending the event gave me something individual and unique to talk about at my interview, which I believe helped me stand out a bit more from other applicants.
Keeping in contact with people you network with at the event either through email or LinkedIn is a great way to build your contacts. I highly recommend this event as it helps you to focus on what is really important in applications, build up your network of contacts with engineers at some leading companies, and build on skills that I know I would not have developed that early on otherwise. Good luck to all you aspiring female engineers and make sure you apply to attend this not-to-be-missed event!