The Structural Engineer!

Dear Employer!!! I am [Confused]

Dated:27 March 2012

Thank you for your showing interest in joining us as a potential graduate. After careful consideration, I regret to advice you that we are not taking your application forward. Please note that due to high volume of applications received we are unable to provide individual feedback. However, I am happy to inform you that your CV has been added to our database for any future opportunities.


Is it My Degree?

My University?

My skills?

My Experience?

My Location?


But I have everything you asked for? All that is required for the position. What is it that you are looking for? What am I missing?


What do I need to do in order to be selected and work for you?



Dear Employer! When I was at University / College I have received many Awards and Achievements for my extra-ordinary performance in core-engineering subjects. I am an exceptional mathematician and I was given engineering award by ABC institute. I am interested in the position and I think I am a very competitive candidate as my knowledge about the subject is well developed. I targeted my focus to be the best within the department and invested my full-time on education including my holidays. Is that not enough?


Dear Employer! I got my degree in engineering from ABC University. Department of Engineering at my university maintained its position in top ten for last decade due to the quality of education it provides for its students. I went to one of the highest ranked universities. Is that not enough?


Dear Employer! I have always been a high achiever. I always got high grades when I was at school; when I was at university. I have the University Grades. Is that not enough?


Dear Employer! Every summer, I got myself signed up for activities and work placements. I grabbed every opportunity I got to gain Work Experience working on site, working in offices, paid, even unpaid. Is that not enough?


Dear Employer! I live within your area. My Location is within the commute from the work place, as it was mentioned in the job advert. Is that not enough?


To see what employers base their hiring decision on I started a quick poll, a few months back. “If you were an employer who received a huge amount of equally good applications, how would you narrow them down?” The screen shot of the results is shown below.




Many of you have been let down on several occasions, especially in last few years and have been left with unanswered questions. Being rejected is not a good feeling let apart not knowing why. But you must not let that discourage you because IT IS NOT YOU, OR YOUR DEGREE OR YOUR LOCATION OR YOUR UNIVERSITY. It is the current market conditions. There are a fewer positions in the market with higher demand. In such hard times nothing is enough. You have to look beyond your limits – expand your horizons.


The five things I mentioned above are the most common factors we take into account when we are looking for a position. Am I qualified enough? Have I got a degree from a reputable University? Did I get the best grades I could possibly get? Do I have enough experience required for the position? Do I live nearby?


But what we don’t do is to actually understand what is happening and what the employer is looking for? With the increased level of competition it is even harder to prove that you are the right person. Yes, you do need the right background knowledge (no one is going to trust in you, if you can’t trust yourself). Being new graduates, we go through two different phases. 1. Appropriate educational base. If you do not understand the basis you will never know how things are put together. Never think that your education is not important just because the weight has been given to the work-experience. Put in your full effort into getting the right education, yes from a good university (but not just a good university is going to help you). Experience allows developing the skills you gain from academic training. But yes, after a few years in industry your work experience will become more valuable. But due to the current market conditions and graduates, being in the race to win, have skipped those years and requirements are now been modified for entry-level jobs. You are now also required to prove that you not only produce numbers but can also interpret the results into real outcomes. Besides that, you also need an exceptional attitude towards winning. You have to fight ten times harder than people who entered industry some years back. This competitive market has raised the standard of expectations in the industry. You can’t just be good at studies or just have experience. You have to have it all together.



A comment I received for the same polls was, Good cultural fits are key – get the right people on the bus, then make sure you get them in the right seats – Good to Great”, John Ouellette. This statement is very true. Companies’ prefer people who are a good fit to their culture. You will also have to justify how your skills are transferable to the new type of role they are offering. Before you apply for a position do consider what the the requirements are and be ready to prove how not only what skills you have but also how you can use them for the benefit of the company i.e. valuable in the open market. I would advise you to DO YOUR HOMEWORK – understand what company’s expectations are; understand their core values and vision before you apply for a position. Be ready to answer, “How do you think you fit within the organization” and do not forget to ask their opinion. Ask them what are the weaknesses and strengths of their existing team and see how you fill those gaps and take them in confidence. I believe you must be thinking don’t I need to be there to convince them and for that I need to be invited for an interview. No, you don’t! This is something that can be done as a part of your application system. Think! There are many ways and you need to choose the best one for that particular firm.



Another factor that plays a vital role that I did not include in my survey is ‘PASSION’ – this is what plays a key role when your competitors show the same attributes as you do. Two people can have same qualifications, similar work experience, even extracurricular activities but no other person can have same passion as you do for your career. So be ready if you are asked “Where do you see yourself in next five years?” or “How do you see envision yourself contributing to the business?” Remember work experience is something an employer sees as an illustration of what value you can bring to the company but passion is what makes you unique. And you can show your passion through your extra-curricular activities – relevant or irrelevant. A required set of skills for engineering requires skills such as work ethic, management, peer relations, adaptability, team spirit and leadership abilities that you can develop in many forms. So do it. Another key indicator of how you match them is your goals versus their goals and even if you do not have the right experience, show them you are eager to learn and keep improving.



MORAL:  (EDUCATION + EXPERIENCE + AWARENESS + CAPABILITY + PASSION) is what an employer is looking for. So be ready for it.



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This entry was posted on April 19, 2014 by .

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