I graduated with a Masters in Civil and Structural Engineering last summer with a first class degree from the University of Leeds. Despite my enthusiasm for engineering I was unable to find a chance to start my career and show my capabilities. I tried all job hunting techniques – tried altering my CV so many times to make it work for me, wrote multiple drafts of each email that I sent out to make sure I get a reply back, spent hours in drafting the perfect answer for each question in a job application, sent direct applications, applied for positions on job boards. In short, I tried everything I could possibly think of – and got nothing but disappointment in return. Rejection emails in particular, the ones that mentioned that I do have the skills required for the position but either the volume of applications was very high or the company does not have vacancy due to the current market as a result of recession. But where do I stand and what I must do in this situation to be able to stand out in the current pool of very competitive candidates are the questions that I asked myself again and again.
As an answer I adopted another approach of job-hunting – I gave a try to Social Media Networking. I completed my LinkedIn profile – and developed it as a promoting tool highlighting my skills and abilities including my career objective. Intentions to set this platform were to expose my virtual profile to the right people. I joined multiple engineering groups and actively took part in discussions about the issues relating current engineering industry, and how difficult it is to find the right opportunity, especially for the recent graduates with little or no experience. Through discussions I got introduced to several engineers on LinkedIn with high devotion for structural engineering and construction industry. People like Glen Cooper, Director at Avatar Engineering and also an author of a successful Structural Engineering blog thread Starting up an Engine[er], who gave me inspiration to take initiative and start my own networking group GradEng Network, targeted directly at engineers at early phase of their engineering career. The group now has over 300 members seeking active guidance and looking forward to be involved into activities, which allow them to meet new people as well as learn from others, and gain experience from more experienced ones.
Personally, I not only learnt more about the industry but also met people with similar interests, strengthened my network of contacts and as a bonus, got what I was seeking – an ideal platform for me to start my career as a structural engineer. Roma Agrawal, a successful young engineer currently a Senior Engineer at WSP UK (an international consultancy firm), sent me a LinkedIn message asking if I am looking for a company like WSP. YES!!! Off course. I am now a Graduate Engineer at WSP, UK and working towards my goals.
I recommend the use of Social Media Networking not only to the graduates or anyone who is seeking an opportunity but also keen about career growth and increasing their commercial awareness. Whether its LinkedIn or Twitter or any other media that allows you to expose your potential in any form is beneficial, keeping in mind the current market and the demands of the technological future.
Let’s team up and form a collaborative engineering industry to work in future.
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