Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering
Athens, OH 26 March 2018 –
Now that I’ve finally found and accepted a full-time job, it seems like an appropriate time to write about the process of actually finding a job. For all of you metrics people out there, here’s a quick “by the numbers” about my full-time job search.
- 16 companies
- 11 distinct resumes (includes revised versions & job-specific modifications)
- 27 online applications
- 4 candidate pre-screening “intelligence”/ “ethics” tests
- 8 first-round interviews
- 5 second-round interviews
- 4 final interviews
- 4 job offers
- 20+ hours of driving to/from interviews
- 7 automatic rejections
- 12 applications still “pending”
I don’t know how it reads, but it sure did feel exhausting! And I was fortunate—I know some of my friends have applied to 100+ jobs online and are only just beginning to get interviews. For what it’s worth, I’ve compiled my own list of top 3 full-time job search tips below.
Students and parents alike, please note the following: online job searching is HARD even for well-qualified students. I believe that it’s imperative to “play the game” in a smart way to make the most of efforts made applying to jobs…otherwise it’s easy to get discouraged! It is my hope that the tips below will help serve as an introductory guide to “playing smart”.
Cami’s Top 3 Full-Time Engineering Job Search Tips:
1. Know yourself. It’s important to know your skills/interests AND weaknesses/dislikes when searching for and applying to jobs. Trust me, it’s no use to anyone if you apply to a job that you’re unqualified to perform or that you will be unhappy doing. Look for jobs that both appeal to your interests and require skills that you feel confident you have. It’s a plus if you actually
have prior experience using these skills from an internship or co-op!
Avoid applying for jobs that sound boring or require too many skills you don’t possess. At the end of the day, if you get an interview for a job you want to be excited (not reluctant to “have to” interview) and you want to feel ready to knock it out of the park – not worry that they will discover you’re unqualified!
2. Know the system. The truth is that if you’re applying for jobs online, it is highly unlikely that a human will be the first to view your resume. These days, there are sneaky Human Resources (HR) software tools called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that will “read” your resume and spit out a summary for the HR manager before anyone will see it. This summary needs to match the specific job description for you to get a call to interview…or to even get a real person to
review your qualifications!
If you’ve heard that you should make your resume “visually appealing” that’s still true if you are handing it out (or emailing it) to prospective employers. However, the formatting that makes your resume appealing may be a big reason that the ATS will reject your application! Many of these ATS systems cannot process documents with sophisticated formatting and therefore will not be able to read/summarize much of your content. AKA: even if you are perfectly qualified, you won’t get a call to interview!
Be SURE to create and use a plain text (unformatted) version of your resume to be submitted online. A helpful resource for creating a resume that both an
ATS and human can easily read can be found here (in step 2).
Once I started following these ATS guidelines, I started getting calls to interview. Before I used these techniques—crickets. I highly recommend doing your own research about ATS!
3. Use your network. If someone you know has connections to a job that you are interested in, reach out to them! From a company’s perspective, if someone who already works for them recommends someone for a job, it shows that the person is already trusted at some level. This takes some pressure off of the HR folks looking to hire for a position.
From your perspective, in many cases you can skip that pesky online application (and ATS scan) and have your resume placed in the hands of someone in HR who might actually read it! Again, if someone is willing to help you with this—take them up on it. In all transparency, this is how I got my foot in the door for three of my five internships and even the full-time position I accepted!
At Ohio University, we have a number of networking opportunities. The best, in my opinion, is building relationships with older students and alumni while still in school. Building up a good reputation with those entering the workforce before you for being a hard worker and someone who is easy to talk to can go a long way in obtaining your “dream job” later on!
Again, this is how I heard about the full-time job I accepted. An alumnus from our ISE department reached out through one of our professors to see if anyone was interested in working for Akron Children’s Hospital as an Operational Excellence Analytics Specialist and I jumped on the opportunity to send my resume her way! She sent my resume to her boss, and I had an interview set up a few days later. The rest is history.
Best of luck in your future (or current) job search!