How can engineering graduates best pitch themselves for their ideal job?
In this article, our sponsor, Purple CV gives graduate job seekers advice on how to standing out and impress prospective employers.
The Covid-19 pandemic has made an already competitive job market even tricker for graduates.
Graduate engineers will also face these challenges, so it is arguably more important than ever to make yourself stand out to potential employers.
The task of shortlisting for interview will be all the more onerous for recruiters at the moment with more and more applicants for each post.
As a graduate, you will need to do your very best to make the shortlist by not only showcasing your technical skills, but also by letting employers know of any valuable additional skills you can bring to the role.
So, how do you best distinguish yourself when looking for your first job – or any job, for that matter?
Create a well-structured CV
The first thing you will need to do is sharpen up your CV. Make sure you include the following key sections:
- Personal details – now this might seem obvious, but make sure that this section is up-to-date. It’s very frustrating for recruiters if you fit the bill for the shortlist but they can’t get hold of you.
- Personal statement with career objectives – this is the most important part of the CV and a major selling point. It should explain who you are, why you are right for the job, and how your skills match what they are looking for.
- Education and qualifications – this is also an essential element of your CV. Employers need to know that you are actually qualified for the job, so if you fail to mention a key aspect here, you could easily be overlooked.
- Review which qualifications are essential on the person specification and make sure you don’t miss them off. Be mindful that you will need to have any certificates and other proof ready to show them if you are selected for an interview.
- Employment history in reverse chronological order – while it is important to include all of your work experience here, make sure that you foreground the roles that are most relevant to this particular application.
- So, you don’t need to write a whole paragraph about the Saturday job you had when you were 16. Keep those aspects brief and save space for more relevant experience.
- Hobbies and interests – this section might seem like it’s not that important but with such heavy competition out there right now, it can help give the employer an idea of the kind of person you are and whether you will fit in with the dynamics of their company’s culture.
Tailor your CV to the role
Although you can keep the same format and a lot of the information on your CV will stay the same regardless of which job you are applying for, you will still need to do a certain amount of tweaking for each vacancy you apply for.
This can be a bit time-consuming, but it will pay off in that, if you get it right early on, you shouldn’t have to do it too many times. Look at the job spec and make sure you include key words in your CV. Make it easy for employers to cross-check your CV against their list of criteria.
Pitch your soft skills
It is increasingly the case that graduate engineering employers value skills that you might not immediately associate with the typical graduate’s experience. The kind of soft skills they are talking about include:
- Communication skills
- Commercial awareness
- Analytical skills
- Flexibility and adaptability
- Enthusiasm, initiative and motivation
- Accuracy and attention to detail
- Business and entrepreneurial skills
If you are able to demonstrate that you can rise to technical challenges and meet those criteria, then great. However, you also need to ensure that you evidence times where you have worked effectively with others, communicated effectively, been able to think strategically and prioritised tasks.
They want to see a little something extra here. Again, make sure you give examples and refer back to the job description.
It’s tough out there at the moment, so graduates need to really work hard to make sure that they stand out in the recruitment process. Don’t make it difficult for recruiters to shortlist you. Show them that you’re right for the job.
Purple CV is a UK-based CV writing specialist that has helped thousands of people get on the career ladder, from all sectors and levels of industry.
Purple CV works closely with clients and all CVs are written from scratch, taking into account a candidate's skills, experience and qualifications, ensuring that the CV is tailored to a client’s exact sector and career stage/seniority.