Discover what it takes to be a an engineer, how to enter the field and find the job of your dreams, and how to stay there once you’ve found it.
My current position is Lead Engineer for a major domestic company that manufactures medical equipment for healthcare facilities. More specifically, I build CAT scan equipment and program the machinery so that it can be used in the healthcare setting by physicians. I did not find my current job using Monster, Craigslist or any of the other leading job boards. I actually started working at this company many years ago as a computer programmer. There were several of us, and the job didn't pay well, but it was a stepping stone. I was quite young, and only had an Associate's Degree. I knew at the time that I wanted to go into the Bio-Medical field, I just wasn't sure when or how.
I worked my way through college, while working my way up the corporate ladder to my current position. I eventually obtained my Bachelor's and Master's Degree. I have remained with my current company for well over a decade. There is one more promotion level that is available to me; I'm satisfied, however, in my current position at this time. What is most interesting is that I applied at several different companies before my own and overlooked one of the most obvious job opportunities available to me.
If I had to choose one, the single most important thing about the professional job search process that I learned on my own is to continue to be persistent and not get "tunnel vision". After sending in my resume to multiple companies without even an acknowledgement, I was thrilled when I was finally called in for an interview at one of my most desired prospective employers. At the interview, I felt confident that I did well. I walked out of the interview with my chin up, positive that the job was mine. You can probably imagine how crushed I was when I learned that I was no longer being considered for the position that I had applied for. Dejected, I had stopped sending in resumes and filling out applications for a while, before I realized that taking myself out of the job market hunt was only hurting me.
I got back in the saddle again, but decided to change my tactics. I decided to apply for a higher position within my current company. I figured that I had already established a good rapport with them, and they had an open position available that piqued my interest. After following up with letters and phone calls for several months, I finally got invited to interview with the Human Resources Manager. I didn't get the position, but was told that I could reapply after a month. After more applications and three additional job interviews, I finally got the position I had hoped for. Had I not continued to be persistent, I would have never gotten hired.
One piece of advice for conducting a successful job search is to leave no stone unturned. Sometimes, the job search can be most fruitful in some of the most unlikely of places. In my situation, I started searching for engineering jobs outside of my work place, before I realized that I could progress in my career by staying within my company. It was so obvious, but I had completely overlooked the idea during my initial job search. This was also beneficial to me, as I got to maintain my seniority. A second piece of advice is to be as persistent as possible during your search. This means that being turned down for the job of your dreams should not provoke you into giving up or quitting. Instead, it should encourage you to continue to persevere until you find exactly what you are looking for.
A final piece of advice for conducting a successful job search is to ensure that you follow up with management accordingly. I think this is one of the most commonly overlooked things with job applicants. Whether you choose to make a follow up phone call or write a thank you note after an interview, be sure that you follow up accordingly, and on a regular basis. This will keep you in the front of the interviewer's mind, and will help ensure that you get the job, and not your competition. As I mentioned earlier, expanding the scope of my search and being persistent paid off in the end. What seemed like a waste of time at the time wound up being one of the best things I could have done for myself.
Initially, I did not implement my own advice and found the job search process to be discouraging. I even had a momentary lapse of reason where I gave up searching for a job entirely. I was submitting random resumes to multiple companies and realized later on that it wasn't necessary: the answer was right under my nose, so obvious that I missed it. Once I started searching for positions within my own company, did I become truly successful. In all honesty, I must admit that I became more aggressive with my searching tactics when I began applying internally, and it was not an overnight process.