As an engineering student, you spent four years in college studying the field. Now that you have graduated it is time to find your first job as a civil engineer. What are the best ways for a college graduate to find entry-level civil engineering jobs?
College resources can provide a good way for new graduates to find entry-level civil engineering jobs. Placement offices usually maintain lists of job openings that employers have submitted to the college. Similarly, many colleges will sponsor job fairs related to the programs they offer.
Civil engineering is a job where what you know really does matter. It can be difficult for new graduates to demonstrate what they know, however, as the only thing they may have to show is their college transcripts. New graduates with a low GPA are at a particular disadvantage.
An engineering internship after college provides several important benefits to a graduate.
- An internship provides real-world knowledge and skills. College provided the basic building blocks of engineering knowledge, while the hands-on experience brings it all together.
- An internship improves the changes of being hired by another engineering firm after the internship is completed.
- An internship creates an opportunity to be hired by the firm where you are interning.
Many entry-level positions are now advertised with a preference for some experience. How is a new graduate to find experience before being hired for their first engineering job?
While new graduates may not have professional work experience as a civil engineer, any relevant engineering experience, even if on a volunteer basis, can strengthen their resume. Working on volunteer projects provides a portfolio of real work, as well as providing a professional reference.
Networking matters in many industries, and civil engineering is no exception. New graduates should be thinking about building their own network from early in their careers. Larger firms often have formal programs for potential employees who are referred by an existing employee, while smaller firms may have positions that have yet to be advertised.
Networking allows a new civil engineering grad to connect with people who may either be able to offer a job, or who may be able to make a recommendation.