Nerd Guru

Because technical people need good soft skills to get ahead.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Great engineering resumes: Part 3 - For the Recent or About To Be College Grad

When I was in college looking for part-time engineering work, my Dad told me, “Let me explain this to you: You can’t get a job without experience, but you can’t get experience without a job.” That catch 22 is the real bummer for the college graduate to be. While grades and coursework are important, nothing demonstrates your ability like work experience or internships of some kind. It doesn’t even matter if you didn’t get paid or if you never use any of the people you worked with as references. Getting hands on interactions with real problems helps sell you later better than anything else can. If you still have time to get involved with something like this, by all means do so.

“Great,” you might be thinking, “I don’t have any work experience and now you’ve shot my confidence down by telling me I’ll never get a job otherwise.” Close, but not quite. If you don’t have much or any work experience, a good tactic is to present your coursework in more detail as if it were a job. For example instead of simply listing out the titles of your courses, pick two or three relevant ones and explain the detailed things you learned or got to play with in labs.

Maybe you tuned an oscilloscope, wrote a compiler for a made up programming language, or used CAD software to design a new and improved suspension bridge. You can spin these kinds of things in a way that demonstrate your capabilities and help answer those two questions that the reader of your resume will ask. Again, keep in mind the kind of job you are applying for and if you need to go this route, pick classes whose topics most pertain to the work you’d be doing if you got hired. Don't just list things, be descriptive about your accomplishments and how they measured up against expectations.


 Was that interesting or helpful? Consider subscribing:  by reader  or   by Email

posted by Pete Johnson @ 1:13 PM   0 comments

Technology Blogs - Blog Top Sites