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Being an Engineer in the Age of High Tech Innovation – Be Social & Target Your Niche

Posted on September 14, 2012
Filed Under Jobs, Networking | Leave a Comment


Sometimes a back to basics approach on your job search is not the often obvious as it was for gen X. Today’s generation have far more resources online that was once unthinkable. But with unlimited avenues comes a need for precision. Navigate your niche.

Fans of the television show The Big Bang Theory know the general premise of the show. Four characters are brilliant but socially awkward science academics. Three of them are PhDs in different branches of Physics. One character, Howard, has a Masters in Engineering from MIT. Howard sometimes has to endure the barbs of his friends for just being an engineer.

The engineering profession is a career field at the forefront of the high tech industry. Renewed interest in innovation has called for new, superior technologies and cutting-edge design. With new advancements in the field of robotics, the need for qualified, skilled engineers who have completed specialized mechanical engineering courses is high. The crux is that currently, there aren’t enough qualified engineers to keep up with the speed and growth of technology.
Image Source: Absaroka Consultants

Skilled Trades

The manufacturing sector has seen a general decline in jobs for several years. However, there are certain occupations in skilled manufacturing that are difficult to fill due to a prevailing lack of qualifications. Many of these positions require training in technology and mechanical engineering. Ironically, automation in manufacturing is in great part responsible for job losses in low skilled manufacturing positions. However, it increases opportunities for engineers. Facilities need to maintain automation equipment to keep up productivity. Because of this, the mechanical engineering field will continue to see growth.

Outsource Proof?

In recent years engineering jobs have been outsourced to other countries that have improved engineering training programs in their countries. Individuals are capable of using online technology to deliver business services from almost anywhere. There are engineering fields where this does not have as much impact.

Environmental regulations by government agencies are getting stricter and companies are becoming more aware and proactive about how products affect the environment. Demand will thus be strong for engineers in the environmental field. More attention is being placed on rebuilding infrastructure projects. Civil engineers will increasingly be needed to repair and build these projects. The majority of these occupations will require engineers be present at job sites. This makes these jobs harder to outsource.

The Cluster Effect

A study by the Brookings Institute found that regional economic clusters can drive innovation. These are geographic concentrations of interconnected firms and supporting or coordinating organizations. Think of Silicon Valley with its concentration of technology firms in one area. Austin, Texas serves as another example where technology industries have flourished, drawn partly by the areas’ low cost of living and progressive activities. People looking for graduate training in engineering can focus their search to these areas where high tech industries thrive.
Focusing on these regions helps research companies that are hiring for engineers.
Other job search functions include:


1.Develop your resume with social acumen in display. SEO optimize your online version with key tag words. Hyperlink pertinent employer domains where you may have interned, research white papers submitted, etc. Add social media profile links to traditional header address, contact info area. Adjust your resume to the job and company you are applying for. Focus on your achievements and what you can offer to employers.

2.Experience. Get experience through volunteering or unpaid internships. Get to know the ins and outs of the profession to assist in job interviews by reviewing Linkedin profiles of similar entry level positions in addition to titles and research areas you aspire to. In today’s social media age, you have an abundance of public profiles to compare and orient your goals to.

3.Join Associations. Link with engineering groups to see new trends in the industry and where vacancies may be occurring. I strongly recommend pertinent skill areas viewable within Meetup as onsite organizations to join and mingle onsite with, in addition to the abundance of Linkedinn technically oriented groups and Facebook’s own assortment as well. Personally I find engineering oriented blogs to be very useful in reaching out for advice from practitioners, in addition to making use of the abundance of online forums, and wikis.

4.Develop your network. Maintain contacts with people you know personally and professionally that can help with job leads.This is a given yes, but are you actively connecting to corporate recruiters from your short and broader hit list of companies you hope to be introduced to? Nothing is better time spent than a targeted approach to connecting to prospective hiring managers and their assorted corporate recruiters who report to their business groups. Likewise pay attention to Meetup, Linkedin, and Facebook group moderators and owners for advice and introductions.

5.Attend trade shows, and symposiums. Several offer student discounts. Ask prospective representatives about job openings or internships BEFORE the dates of the events, click away upon reviewing attendees at the Linkedin Events tab and invite them to connect and then follow-up with an intro about yourself with a personalize signature.

*** Always be tenacious

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