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Questions about future employment

  1. Jun 7, 2015 #1
    I had some questions about future employment in the field.

    First, I would like to know what is needed to help get my foot in the door at any given company.

    What items are needed, such as a resume, portfolio, or any other important documents?

    I know that teams are a large part of any engineering department. What methods are used among these teams to communicate ideas with others in the team?

    Finally, how much does the field change, or advance, with new technology? How rapidly do these changes take place, if so?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 7, 2015 #2


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    It is a big plus while in college to get a summer internship or co-op job in a company that does work in your chosen field of study. If you work diligently and do your best, you will be noticed and have an edge when you apply for a full time job after receiving your BS degree. A masters degree is a plus.

    You'll need a resume (1 page or 1 and a half pages tops, please) and a sample report of any special projects or CADD drawings you may have worked on. A 3.5 GPA or higher gives you an edge. Be humble. Master the basics in school. Volunteer work is a good thing, no matter in what area.

    Ahhh , change. It comes slowly in my profession. Why try something new when the old has worked for years, while the new has not withstood the test of time? Eventually change will come, but not overnight, but you still need to keep up with, more so in some disciplines than others.
  4. Jun 7, 2015 #3


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    Personal connections are the biggest "foot in the door". Internships, conferences/conventions, collaboration, etc.
  5. Jun 7, 2015 #4


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    Internships are the #1 source of new employees at my work. I was an intern here before I got hired. My office-mate was an intern here before HE got hired. Doing everything you can to obtain an internship somewhere. Not only will you get the "foot in the door" you'll probably learn a lot that isn't part of your college course.
  6. Jun 8, 2015 #5
    When we do college hiring, far and away the most important thing is: has this student worked with us as an intern? Internships are the method by which we manage the risk of hiring someone who may not fit in well with the company, or who looks good on paper but can't get any work done. After that, other internships or job experience are important, any relevant research or patents, and what kinds of technical projects a student has done for fun. This last one is a way to see how hands-on an engineering student is. Someone who builds cars or robots or ZigBee wireless sensor networks probably knows something useful, and also how to execute, which is just as important.

    For a student, I expect a 1-page resume. Very few students deserve a longer resume than that, although I have seen one who did. If you have a relevant portfolio of technical work, that would be important as well.

    Teamwork is absolutely critical where I work. We spend more time trying to understand this soft-skill than we do your technical skills. It is easy to find someone who is bright and knowledgeable. For the most part, your degree and your GPA are sufficient, although some technical questions should be expected. It is far less easy to find someone who is bright and knowledgeable who can work well with others in our organization. Proof of this is best provided by having worked on a team, accomplishing something, and managing not to have your teammates hate you. By the way, I've been doing this for 11 years, and I can tell when you lie about this.

    In my specific field, which is medical devices and pharma, technological change is rapid and constant. This is a very competitive field, so new technology is constantly emerging as everyone seeks a market edge.
  7. Jun 8, 2015 #6


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    The soft-skill thing you discuss is not always what works. Too many people with poor soft-skills are already working and have been doing their work for more than long enough. Soft-skills are nice, but that is not always what you find established.
  8. Jun 8, 2015 #7
    Yes, this is a problem in general. In my specific case, my company as a matter of policy invests a lot of time and effort in improving this. As a consequence, our technical teams tend to work pretty well, although exceptions exist. I cannot speak for places I don't work.
  9. Jun 8, 2015 #8
    If you don’t have any work experience, then your best ‘arguments’ are going to be your diploma and your resume. For some companies cover letter is also needed as a part of your application. Successful resume and cover letter are the half way to a good job. If you don’t know how to make them right you should better consult professionals, e.g. craftresumes.com or other related services. Good luck!
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