If you’re a recent engineering graduate, the end of the year after you pass your final exams is usually the time most of your cohort will start looking for their first professional position.
This means you can be up against a lot of competition when applying for your first engineering job.
Whether you’ve already completed your course or you’re simply planning ahead to make yourself more attractive to employers when you do, here are some of the most important things engineering companies are looking for in recent graduates:
What engineering companies are looking for in recruits
1) Your grade
This is a pretty basic requirement in most engineering recruitment processes. The minimum most companies will accept is a 2:1. This means if you’ve got a 1st (1:1), you’re already ahead of the game.
On the downside, if you got a 3rd or a 2:2, you’re in a more difficult position. You may need to look into getting some additional qualifications to make up the gap between yourself and other candidates.
There is a chance that you can turn your lower grade into a benefit by talking about it as a learning experience at interview. What would you do differently if you had the chance? (The answer should have something to do with course decisions that would suit you better rather than your approach to the course in general.)
The problem is getting to the interview stage in the first place. That’s why working hard and getting that 2:1 or coveted first is a smart idea if you’re still in a position to do it.
2) Your placements
Your lecturers may have been going on about how important good placements are. Some sad news if you found this annoying – they’re not wrong.
If you’re now facing whole reams of job descriptions that expect you to have so many “years of experience” despite only just qualifying, you’ll understand why.
Relevant experience in the particular field of engineering you want to work in is always going to be best if you can find it. If you want a structural engineer job, you’ll want to aim for a placement or sandwich year (these are great if you have the opportunity) in an adjacent role.
That said, almost any engineering experience you can demonstrate will be good experience. This might also be the time to try a few different things, so you know where you want to aim your career.
3) Your location
Are you willing to move to secure your ideal job? If your hometown or the city you studied in don’t have many options, you’re almost certainly going to have to be.
If you are willing and able to move to a new part of the country to secure the right position, working with a local partner is always going to be a good idea. The right engineering recruitment agency can help you get considered as a candidate by all the possible employers in a region and help you find the fit that’s right for you.
4) Your desire for further training
Linked to the final point below, many employers these days know how important it is to hire graduates who are the right fit for their teams in terms of personality and culture over the skills you have.
This means that some companies will prioritise who you are as a person, knowing they can train you to the standard they need in other areas.
In turn, this means it’s really important to clearly signpost how keen you are to get further training and develop your skills whenever you interact with a potential employer.
5) Your personality and cultural fit
As just touched on, the process many smart, growing companies follow for engineering recruitment these days prioritises candidates whose personalities will mesh with their existing team. This is done instead of the hard skill box-ticking exercises of yesteryear.
It’s something that specialist engineering recruitment agencies like Ernest Gordon have long since picked up on. So don’t be surprised if you get asked some questions about who you are if we’re working together to find you a role.
For you personally, everything you can do to make a good, positive first impression both in your written application and interview is important. Remember, in today’s culture-first recruitment processes, personality can go a long way.
Being keen and friendly can set you apart from other engineering graduates, turning you from just another candidate into someone who might just be the right fit for a company’s team.
Looking for your first engineering job? Want to chat about it?
Get in touch with us today. Ernest Gordon is a specialist engineering recruitment company. We pair first-time candidates with the employers that are right for them every day.
Arrange a commitment-free chat with one of our helpful advisors. Let’s explore putting your first, best foot forward in your new career.