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Why do engineers struggle to get jobs and market themselves ?

Most engineers find themselves stuck after graduating because they do not know how to market themselves and this is concerning because they need to know the steps on how to be successful

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Brad’s Answer

Engineers by nature are often shy and don't market themselves well. They are used to data and numbers, which are impersonal, to tell a story. Try to find some middle ground. Try to support your accomplishments with numbers and data. For example don't just tell someone you are interviewing with that you worked on a design improvement. Quantify that improvement with numbers and data. So for example if your design improvement reduced the number of parts in the assembly give them a number. If the design improvement reduced cost give them what the cost reduction was. I have found that the best way to sell yourself is to give examples. This gives a much stronger message that you have accomplished things and makes the person you are talking with more likely to believe you. This technique is called "Interview By Example". Interviewers use this quite often. But even as someone that is being interviewed you can use this technique. If the interviewer does not ask for examples and the questions are vague, go ahead and try and answer the questions with examples anyway. This will show that you can deliver results and typically this will make you more confident in marketing yourself since you are talking about something you are familiar with. Hope this helps.
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CL’s Answer

People often find it challenging when they're unsure how to share their achievements. I've noticed numerous talented tech engineers doing fantastic work, yet struggling to express their successes to their leaders. Being an engineer isn't just about resolving technical problems, it's also about effectively explaining the solutions to leadership and guiding teams to finish their tasks.
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Jim’s Answer

Good Question,

As a general rule, engineers are introverts and many find it hard to market themselves. Lean on your alumni organization to find other alumni that are in your field. I would be more inclined to take a longer look at a fellow alumni over someone else. And the issue you are seeing is not just related to engineering, this seems to be a trend with just about any field of work. I recently ran into a person who was delivering my pick up order of groceries at a major grocery store chain who graduated from culinary school over a year ago... In this particular area, he just couldn't seem to get anyone to look at his talent. But his goal now is saving up enough money to move elsewhere where the opportunities are better. Be patient in your career search, take advantage of the career center at your university (mock interviews are a great learning tool), and dont give up (just because they said No right now doesn't mean its No forever, you may get a return phone call a month later asking if you are still interested).
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Jeff’s Answer

Hi John,

Good question!

I agree with Brad that most technical people are shy and don't know how to market themselves. Starting out, it's all about networking, connections, contacts and letting everyone know who you are and what you are looking for. When I graduated, back in the stone age, my grandmother asked if I wanted her to send my resume to a good friend whose son was a senior VP at IBM! Oh, yeah! I actually got a job at IBM before my resume got to that VP but it didn't matter how I got the job. It would be up to me to prove myself once I started working.

There are several very important steps you can take. Set up an appointment with your college career center and use them extensively! They can help you fine-tune your resume and help connect you to alumni in your desired area in expertise and location. Most alum love to hire other alum because they are proud of their university and its graduates. Your career center will also hold mock interviews to help you feel more comfortable in interviews. See what they offer. They are there to help you succeed throughout your entire career so take advantage of it!

When setting up your resume, make sure you list everything you can. With little or no real world experience, you can list major projects from college. Like Brad said, if you can quantify any savings, reduction or other benefits, add that to your resume with numbers. If you worked for MacDonald's and figured out a way to get fries to the customer ten seconds quicker, list it. It shows that you can solve problems and figure out better solutions. It's all about selling yourself!

Try contributing to an open source community and list that contribution. Also, research key people in companies that you would like to work for. On Linked-In, send a friend request and ask if they would mind answering a few questions from a new software engineer. Most people will be happy to give you some time if you are very focused on keeping it brief and asking well thought out questions. And, over time, you may end up with a mentor!

ACM and IEEE are good resources for connecting with professionals. Put yourself out there and sell yourself!

Best of luck!

Most importantly, don't get frustrated or fed up. It's a challenging time so make the best
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Tasha’s Answer

Hi, John. There is a stereotype that engineers are introverts, socially awkward, shy, quiet, or so technical that they aren't good communicators. I am sure that some engineers are like this, because engineers are people, too :) But I wouldn't just accept that this is true of all engineers, because it is not. Both my husband and I are engineers, as are many of our friends, and we don't fit that stereotype.

Assuming you may be studying engineering, and you may be looking for ideas on how to market yourself, here are some ideas:
* Take a technical writing class if it is offered
* Join Toastmasters to improve public speaking
* Get involved in activities that hone your leadership skills
* Take a business or marketing class
* Find an internship
* Use your career center to learn how to write a resume and interview for jobs
* Trust that there is a role that is right for you, and stay upbeat during the job search

You can ensure that you get a well-rounded education and are better positioned in your job search. Good luck!
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