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What Employers Look For When Hiring Fresh Engineering Graduates

With zero work experience, fresh engineering graduates are confused as to what the determining factor really is to be employed.

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Upon graduating in engineering school, perhaps your greatest worry is how you will be able to land a job. You think that it is difficult to find employers who will trust someone like you who does not have legitimate work experience.

It is true that you might have difficulty in securing your first job, but there is a trick: show to hiring managers that you will be worth it.

And the best way to do that is to write in your resume what they want.

Now the question begs: what do employers want?

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, it is not your college GPA but experiences outside of academics that matter to them: Internships, jobs, volunteering, and extracurricular activities.

Aspiring software engineers can have an edge if they have a portfolio to show. Training’s and certifications can also be a way for them to be qualified to a higher position, which means they can receive a higher income as well. In New York City, an average software engineer salary can range up to $120,326 per year.

“When employers do hire from college, the evidence suggests that academic skills are not their primary concern,” says Peter Cappelli, a Wharton professor and the author of a new paper on job skills.

“Work experience is the crucial attribute that employers want even for students who have yet to work full-time.”

Stock photo fresh engineering graduates

Especially for fresh engineers, it pays to have exposure to companies as early as college through on-the-job trainings and work sidelines. While this is optional for some, lucky are those who have curriculums making internships compulsory because that is what employers want the most.

Read more  4 Mistakes That Fresh Engineers Often Make in Their First Jobs

The Chronicle of Higher Education tallied the relative importance of attributes in evaluating graduates for hire. Internships lead with 23 points from a scale of 0 to 100, 21 points for employment during college, 12 points for volunteer experience, and 10 for extracurricular activities. All these are experience-based attributes.

Meanwhile, academic attributes include college major with only 13 points, relevance of coursework and college GPA both with 8, and college reputation with 5. This just proves that your GPA will not matter that much after graduation.

What does this mean for engineering students? And for you as a job seeker?

Engineering students should invest in getting more on-the-job trainings or relevant work experience while in college. While it does not mean to say that grades do not matter, the experiences outside of the classroom just have more value to hiring managers when it comes to engineering work.

And for you who have already graduated and now looking for a job but do not have much prior experience related to your field, make your resume as appealing – while truthful – as possible, secure an interview, and sell yourself there. Tell them how much of a learner you are.


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