7 Tips for Engineering your next job.
A report by Engineers Australia shows engineering job vacancies have historically been largely influenced by economic forces when compared to the broader labour and business professionals occupations. As the mining, resources and infrastructure sectors continue to improve so too does the demand for engineering and technical professionals.
Seek data reflects a 3.4% increase in job advertisements nationally over the last 12 months with Western Australia leading the way at 14% growth followed by Queensland at 7%.
While engineering job vacancies may be on the rise, it still remains a competitive environment when vying for the top jobs. Harness these tips to stand out from the crowd to score your next job.
1. Forget the resume razzle-dazzle
“Cut through the resume clutter by tidying your resume,” says Anthony Blair who heads up Titan Recruitment’s engineering division. “A well-organised resume that is simple, clean and easy to read means employers can clearly see what it is that you can do, and where you can add the most value,” Blair explains start with a summary followed by education, knowledge of relevant software, then job experience (include project values if you have it) in chronological order. Active job seekers should also take the time to tailor their resume to the advertised job criteria, or job description if it is obtainable.
2. Polish the socials
Engineering is a tight community so dust off the socials, get them in peak condition and start networking. “The more people you know and are connected to can improve your chances of getting work,” Blair says. “LinkedIn has opened up avenues for expanding your network. Not only can you research the employer but you can connect with HR Managers and interviewers. Look deep enough and you could even find a common thread.” Blair also highlights the downfall can be where candidates may post rowdy updates from the weekend and suggests a cleanse of the socials before an interview if there’s something you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see.
3. Location, location
Consider working outside capital cities or the corporate office. Blair says “there is an abundance of opportunity for engineers to get fulfilling and rewarding project experience in regional areas. Western Australia’s south-west, which is under a two-hour drive from Perth, is a haven for engineering positions with the likes of Worsley, Greenbushes and Wagerup all home to major mine sites.” Blair adds the usual hot spots of Port Hedland and Karratha also offer opportunities for both FIFO and relocation. Likewise, in Queensland, you can find engineering and design work in Gladstone, Mackay and Townsville.
“The advantage of site experience, especially for engineers starting out, is you get to see real life application of your studies.”
4. Stand out from the crowd
Too often resumes (and cover letters) can be somewhat sterile. “Don’t be afraid to show your human-self,” says Blair. “Employers are also looking for charisma so show them your interests like hobbies, sport or activities that you may undertake within the community”.
5. Parity is not a dirty word
Let’s face it, there is a gender imbalance within the engineering job disciplines however this is largely credited to not having a pool deep enough to draw from. Arguably organisations whose workforce is heavily reliant on technical professionals are most affected. “Right now, there are fantastic opportunities for female engineers as many organisations look to balance their HR books,” says Blair. However, despite what you may read in the news feed on salary gaps, Blair believes there is parity when it comes to engineers’ remuneration with all genders being compensated equally where their experience is comparable.
6. Be ready
Look professional, dress smart and be enthusiastic. “Research the employer, know them and have a couple of questions ready to ask,” says Blair. As for interview preparation, “understand the job criteria and prepare yourself for the type of questions that may be asked,” said Blair. “The CAR (context, action, result) method is a good tool to help determine how your skills could apply to potential questions.” Beyond being ready, be enthusiastic as it’s human nature that the interviewer also wants you to want that job.
7. Get acquainted with a specialist
Get up to date industry information, accurate project data and opportunities with clients you may never have heard of are just some of the benefits of dealing with a recruitment consultant, according to Blair. However, target an agency who specialises in your line of work rather than a generalist. A recruitment consultant is the conduit between you and the employer and therefore will provide guidance on remuneration and benefits, professional development and manage negotiations on your behalf.
“A good consultant has your interests at heart too and will work with you to score a job that meets all your ambitions.”