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6 Ways Entry-Level Engineers Can Get an Employer’s Attention

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article | 6 Ways Entry-Level Engineers Can Get an Employer's Attention | Talent Management | Resume | Cover LetterYou are about to graduate with that coveted engineering degree. It’s the ticket you were told would land you a high-paying position in that big (or rising) tech firm you’ve had your eye on. Yes, the economy appears to be humming along with many companies eager to hire. But before you prepare your resume and cover letter, there are several things you need to do to make yourself more attractive to today’s CEOs and the people that they trust to make the best hires for them.

Here are six helpful tips that will be a sure way to catch that employer’s attention:

Clean Up and Polish Your Social Media

A recent Harvard Business Review article noted that many recruitment subcontractors scour LinkedIn and other social media to find potential candidates. They’ll trace your “digital exhaust” from cookies and other user-tracking programs to learn who you are. So, ditch those college party photos you have on Instagram, Facebook, etc. Replace them with photos or videos of you working hard at that tech firm you interned with during the summer. Don’t have any intern photos? Plug in some pics of tech projects you worked on in your garage or senior lab. Use photos of you attending tech seminars and symposiums – preferably those attended by that tech firm you want to join.

It also doesn’t hurt to add a professional bio to your social media account(s). And replace college handles and URLs with those that make you look more professional. Create a brand that sets you apart – post, share, or re-tweet anything related to the industry you’re eager to enter. Follow blogs, news sources, and any other websites that represent thought leaders in the tech field you want to work in.

Network like Mad

Referrals and professional networks are 1st and 3rd in order of what CEOs consider sources of quality. People in the tech industry know that you’re young, hungry and need advice. And many are all too willing to share what they know. They remember what it was like when they tried to break in. So go to every trade show, conference seminar, and networking event you can get into. Talk to people in booths and after seminars. Ask what you can do to get into their apprenticeship, internship or mentor program.

Print out 500 “job seeker” business cards with your name, major and the job you’re looking for. Include your contact info and website if you have one. Hand these out to people you meet at trade shows, tech conferences, and seminars. They may not have an opening, but word gets around about your unique approach. And someone may just call you.

Another tactic is to attend any social/community outreach programs which the firm you’re interested in may be sponsoring. Talk to the people there and ask if you can help. People are more open at these events and the conversation tends to be more relaxed. It also builds your reputation as a caring individual; the kind that other employees like to be around. Who knows, you may end up serving food to the homeless next to the firm’s CEO. (if that happens, ditch the hard sell, but answer any questions—just make sure they remember your name. Write your last name out clearly on your “Hello, my name is” tag.)

Sell Yourself in the Cover Letter

The letter is a key element in any job search. It paints a picture that CEOs, recruiters, and hiring managers will create in their minds about the kind of person you are. Like your resume, your letter should dovetail with the firm’s needs and requirements. If you met an engineer or other tech staff member from that company at a seminar, conference or other event, namedrop that in your letter. ‘Beta test’ your letter with a career counselor or someone you know in the industry. And keep it short, no more than a page – single-spaced.

Fine Tune Your Resume

If you’re an astute tech grad, you should know how to write a resume. There are all sorts of resume writing tips and templates online. The important thing to remember is to fine-tune your resume to the needs of the tech company you’re eager to join. That means including any internships and mentor programs you’ve completed. Don’t forget to stress any senior-level projects that align with the company’s product or service.

And don’t ‘fudge’ your background—many university career counselors advise students not to be as forthcoming with their qualifications or remove entire degrees if the job posting doesn’t call for it. While this may get you the interview, it will bring up more questions that will put off hiring managers when they ask you for details during the interview.

As with your cover letter, beta test it with guidance counselors and any pros you know in the industry. You can also get a free resume evaluation at Monster’s Resume Writing Service. You’ll get detailed feedback, including a review of your resume’s appearance and content, as well as a prediction of a recruiter’s first impression.

Make Your Resume Bot Friendly

It’s a regrettable fact that many recruiters, HR managers, and other gatekeepers use applicant-tracking systems (ATS) to pre-filter resumes. These bots look for keywords and key phrases. So include verb phrases and skills written in the firm’s job description. Use both the acronym and the spelled-out form of any given title, certification, or organization. And dump the ‘career objective’ section. Bots ignore this and so do most gatekeepers. Replace it with a qualifications summary – a bullet-pointed section packed with ATS-friendly keywords that highlight your achievements, applicable skills, and internships. Use spell check and grammar-check programs to wipe your resume (and cover letter) of any mistakes.

Ace the Interview

You made the shortlist and got a face-to-face interview. At this point, the job is yours to lose. So learn all you can about the company. Scour the firm’s website. Commit to memory the company’s key current events found in the ‘news’ section. If you met any company employees at a seminar, trade show or other function, be prepared to talk about your conversation(s) you had with them.

If you don’t know the answer to a tough technical question, own up sooner rather than later. It’s much better to admit temporary ignorance than fake your way in front of a potential expert. And do ask questions. If you don’t ask anything at the end of an interview, it shows a lack of interest in the company and what your typical workday might be like.

Know your resume like the back of your hand. Be prepared to discuss how your skills and talents align with the needs of the company. By the way, you should already be familiar with the basics of interviewing – firm handshake, smile, good eye contact, and dressing a step up from the person you meet. Check out a few videos on body language as well. And do follow up promptly after the interview with a thank you email – that’s one more chance to stand out among the other in-person interviewees.

You will want to start working on these steps well before you graduate so that when that graduation ceremony comes up and you get your cap and gown, you are well on your way to landing your first dream job.


About the Author

Dr. Radu Reit is the Vice-Chair of the Marketing Committee at the Society for Information Display (SID). Display Week 2020 will be held June 7-12, 2020, in San Francisco. For more information, visit www.displayweek.org.

How To Decide If A Career In Healthcare Is Right For You

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article

A career in healthcare offers various opportunities – including becoming a doctor, nurse, chiropractor, physiotherapist, and dentist, to name a few. If you are reading this article, you may already be thinking about pursuing a career in healthcare but are not yet completely sure. The same way you would choose any career path, you need to think about the choices you are making, and thus weigh the pros and cons. Although, in this case, you need to consider what entering the healthcare industry means, including the money aspect, job security and even time required. The three most notable factors to keep in mind are education, your strengths and the lifestyle choice itself.

Education

What type of education do you need for a career in the healthcare industry? As with all industries, the different career options require different degrees. While some nurses may only require a college degree, becoming a doctor requires medical school and is a longer process. Yet another option in today’s day and age is advancing or completing a degree online. This is beneficial in order to gain work experience and school knowledge at the same time. The online MHA program is one example of this, allowing you to obtain a Master of Healthcare Administration online while continuing to work in your current field. When thinking about education, one of the most important considerations is that of time spent. How long will it take to obtain the degree? It is for this reason than an online degree is often beneficial. Read more

The 4 E’s Of Landing The Career Of Your Dreams

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When it comes to landing the career of your dreams, you can get quite giddy. And who could blame you? Your entire future is out there, just waiting to be harnessed. So it’s time to work exact exactly how you’re going to do that. Whether you want to ensure you get started out on the correct path from the start, or you’re currently unhappy with what you’re doing and you want to make sure that you’re able to find the right career with a suitable change, you want to get it right. And to do that, you need to combine a few different areas.

Firstly, you have your education. Whether that’s currently where you are now, or something that you’re considering to going back into. But you also have your work experience to consider, and this can often play heavily into making your career work for you too. Then, you’ve got your enthusiasm, because your determination and drive often makes a huge difference in how well you can progress in your career. And finally, there’s your evolution, because landing that career of your dreams does often involve a range of progressive steps. So let’s take a look at how you’re going to combine all four to land the career of your dreams.

Education

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The Right Major

If you are just starting out with your career, and you’re still in college (or even about to start), you’re really going to want to drill down on the right major. Choosing a major can be tough is if you’re unsure of what you want to do. Sometimes, even choosing the right courses individually can be a hard task. But if you do have a rough idea of what career path you want to head down, you need to be able to make your major work for you.

Going On To Graduate Level

Then, you may want to think about what graduate education can do for your career prospects. If you are looking to change career fields, this can also be relevant to you too. You may wonder how long it takes to get a masters degree, but if you’re serious about the right career, the one or two years of extra education will benefit you immensely. It may even be a prerequisite for the career you want.

Further Training

Then, depending on what career it is that you’re chasing, you may also be interested in further training. Some industries require licensure or certification, which you may need to train for. Or, if you’re interested in something like journalism or marketing, you may want to look into vocational qualifications that can help you to stand out.

Experience

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Work Experience

Following on from education, you also need to have the experience. It’s hard to say which of the two weighs up as more important, as in most career fields the two go hand in hand. So you may want to think about getting some work experience whenever you can. Gaining job experience can be done in a range of ways, but doing this while you study, or alongside another job, will often stand you in good stead.

Internships

One of the key areas of getting experience will always lie within interning. Sometimes, you may not feel as if an internship is right for you. But, a lot of the time, you will find that internships can open a lot of doors for you. Finding an internship can be competitive, but the right one will often provide you with key experience and allow you to build valuable connections too.

Starting Out

Some people often assume that as soon as you’ve landed your first job, your days of getting experience are over. But really, they’re just beginning. You often have to learn a lot when you first begin your career. In fact, you do learn throughout your career. But at the start, you need to take in everything. You need to prove yourself and ensure that you can absorb knowledge from those around you, and start to make waves in the industry that you’ve gone into.

Going Above And Beyond

You’re also going to find that you need to go above and beyond to get to where you need to be. Regardless of the industry, you’re in, or the job role that you go into, if you’re a mediocre employee, you may not go far. But when you have big career dreams, you need to chase them with all that you have. And that will often mean that you need to go above and beyond what is asked of you, in order to stand out.

Enthusiasm

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Combining Your Hobbies

Your enthusiasm is often what pushes you forwards in your career. Without it, you may struggle to get to where you want to be. One of the ways that you can often show your enthusiasm for the job, and ensure that you’re able to contribute as much as you can, is to combine your hobbies. Although they’re often there for enjoyment, you’ll find that sometimes your hobbies can make you better at your job.

Starting A Side Hustle

At the same time, you may find that having a ‘side hustle’ is invaluable. When you’re trying to commit your all to your job, you may not think you have time to operate anything alongside it, but you should find that it can help you to stand out and even progress in your field. Whether you start a blog or sell a product, it could be the edge you need to keep you moving in your career.

Going The Extra Mile

At the same time, you should also be thinking about how you can go the extra mile. Your enthusiasm helps with this. Yes, it is in some ways similar to going above and beyond what it asked of you, but sometimes it can be something that you come up with on your own – like giving ideas, that can help.

Taking On Extra

Finally, you may also find that offering to take on extra work can benefit your career in a range of different ways. Not only will this look good to your bosses, and go under the idea of ‘going the extra mile,’ but you will also find that you may be able to learn new things and get yourself experience in areas that you wish to progress into in the future.

Evolution

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Knowing Your Goals

The last ‘E’ in the list concerns your career progression. Because if you’re ever going to get that dream role, you need to be able to harness your own growth. To do that, you will need goals. Because it’s hard to advance without knowing where you need to be. Setting career goals may be tough to start with, but as soon as they’re in place, you will have a guide that can get you to where you need to be.

Following The Stepping Stones

Then, you need to be able to follow the steps that you’ve set out for yourself as a part of your goal setting. You may find that this is going to take you time, it could even be ten years or more, sometimes even twenty. But you need to be able to know what promotions you need, and what roles you’re to go through in order to reach the final step.

Using The E’s To Get To The End

And finally, you need to understand how you’re going to use all of the three other ‘E’s to get to this stage. By ensuring that education, experience, and enthusiasm can work together in harmony, you should find that you’re able to not only chase after your dream career path, but pass through it with ease.