It’s not too late, engineers!

June might be upon us, but I still get calls and emails from students every day. The majority of them are from students who are still seeking opportunities, but are afraid that it’s “too late.”

It’s not too late.

The rest of the world does not operate on a semester-by-semester calendar. While college students might think that the start of “summer” is already a month behind us, most people – including employers – have not even started their “summer” yet.

A Quick check of HuskyCareerLink shows 74 hits for internships and 132 hits for full-time jobs when I run a keyword search for “engineering.” That’s employers posting with UConn – and there are many, many more out there who don’t ever post with us.

Try this: Run a search for “engineering internship” on indeed.com in your home zip code. There are two pages of hits in 06269 alone!

Often, online job searching alone isn’t enough. Anyone who’s worked with me knows that, quite frankly, I don’t believe relying on “click here to apply” opportunities is all you should be doing in your job or internship search. You may need to put yourself out there…literally.

In nearly every town in Connecticut, there are nondescript roads leading into small industrial parks that we drive by every day, barely taking notice. Did you know that there are jobs and internships awaiting you down those roads?

Try this, and do it today: Put on some nice-ish clothes. You know, button down shirt or similar, but with jeans – no suits. Wear boot or sneakers, and definitely not flip-flops. Grab your trusty UConn Engineering padfolio you picked up at the last career fair, and throw a few resumes inside. Now hit the road to that nearby industrial park:

  1. When you get to the first building, go in and introduce yourself.
  2. Tell the person at the door that you’re a UConn Engineering student (or recent graduate, if appropriate) and that you’re looking to get a foot-in-the-door opportunity to gain some basic technical experience.
  3. Is there a manager that you might be able to speak to? Ask!
  4. Tell them your story.

Here’s the thing…it might be a small metal stamping shop, it might be a medical supply distributor, or it could be a multimillion-dollar circuit board manufacturer with a low profile…but it will be a place to gain technical experience — experience that you can use to build your professional credibility and learn more about what engineering careers might look like. It doesn’t even matter if the only available role is to work on the manufacturing line – because you’ll be building your skills, expertise, and resume. The smaller jobs lead to bigger jobs down the road.

It’s not too late, engineers. Go get ‘em!

industrialpark1

Images: ctsitefinder.com

By John Bau
John Bau Career Consultant, School of Engineering John Bau