Engineering makes the world go ‘round. From roads to airports, civil engineers plan just about every bit of infrastructure that keeps things moving smoothly. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the need for them to increase by 8% by 2024, which opens the door for more prospective engineers to find employment. You will need to decide how much schooling to pursue, what to specialize in, and how far you want to make it in your career.
Earn your engineering degree.
You will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree to get a civil engineering job, but you will get farther in your career path with a master’s. Research the details of any program before you enroll.
Some engineering programs focus on employment after the bachelor’s degree. They usually feature internships. A strong program will include entry-level placement for its civil engineering graduates.
Other engineering programs prepare students for graduate degrees. These programs may deal more with theoretical concepts in the first 4 years, and many students enter into a graduate degree that will prepare them for management and highly technical projects. Some of these degrees are accelerated.
Choose a specialization within the civil engineering field.
Subsets of the civil engineering field include structural, traffic, transportation, traffic, water and architectural engineering. You should begin taking courses in your field of expertise as soon as you decide.
Choose your courses carefully. Some employers will look at the courses or modules you’ve taken, as well as your work experience, to determine if you’re the right fit.
Find an internship while you are in school.
Interning for a private or public civil engineering organization will help you develop contacts and get necessary work experience. You will network and learn about potential jobs, if the work is a good fit with your career path.
You can look for internships online, like on the site internships.com.
Join a professional society or group.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and other societies can help you connect with a local chapter, get a mentor, and find conferences to attend.
Joining a society will not only give you contacts, but will also provide support and guidance along the way without the need for a formal or informal mentor.
Write a resume.
Before you even apply for work, you need a resume. There is no standard format, so choose a layout that works best for you. Resumes should cover your education, any work experience you have, and skills and accomplishments. Be honest, but don’t sell yourself short; even high school and university clubs and societies can count towards experience.
An important companion to the resume is the cover letter. This is simply a document stating who you are, what you do, and a few achievements and skills that make you a good fit for the job.
Look for a job placement opportunity through your university.
Visit the career services department to see if they know of any openings or can help you find an internship or other job. They’ll know where to look or who to talk to and can be an incredibly valuable resource.
Set up a Google alert for job listings.
Go to Google Alerts and type in your search keywords, choose how often you want to be alerted, and type in your email. Every time Google finds a relevant site, it will email you a link.
Search for jobs online.
A site like engineerjobs.com will have the listings from other sites in one place, but you should also check other job searching sites, like Indeed or Craigslist. Check them daily when you are looking for work, or set up alerts to your email.
There are lots of options in engineering. Look for positions for structural engineers, nuclear engineers, building control surveyor, landscape architects, or anything else that fits your specific field.
Check the ASCE Career Connection page.
Follow the link here http://careers.asce.org/jobseekers/index.cfm. Click on the “Job Seekers” section to find a list of jobs that are advertised on the website.
Search for government postings.
States may list their available positions on their department websites. Look for jobs in the transportation, water, and other departments and send in your resume and cover letter within the application period.
Reply to job listings.
The first step in getting a job is applying. Reply to listings you like with a copy of your resume and cover letter. You won’t always get a reply, so be patient and keep applying while you wait.
Attend any interviews you’re given.
After you’ve applied for jobs, employers may call you in for an interview. Being asked for an interview means you’ve already caught their eye, but you still need to attend and make an effort.
Unless they tell you before that casual clothing is fine, wear business-appropriate attire. A suit, slacks and a nice shirt, or a business-friendly, conservative dress are all acceptable. The goal is to look polished and confident.
Prepare beforehand for any questions. Employers often ask about how well you work alone or in a team, and about strengths and weaknesses. You’ll also want to do some research on the company or group before the interview; asking questions of your own and appearing knowledgeable about the field can work in your favor.
Accept the job offer that feels right for your chosen path.
Once you’ve had a few successful interviews, you’ll hopefully get a job offer. Accept the one you want, and make sure to turn down others once you have.
Make sure to accept once you have a written offer, so you can review the position, salary, and benefits.