Career Exploration Night is a yearly event aimed at helping new engineering students to learn about the various disciplines of engineering by talking with industry professionals. This year’s CEN has been online and separated into several sessions by major. I had the pleasure of listening into a few of these sessions, and I took note of the key pieces of advice professional engineers have for current college students. Here are the Top Six Pieces of Career Advice from Industry Professionals:

  1. Get involved early. By joining and participating in clubs, projects and extracurriculars when you are early in your college career, you will gain awesome experiences which help you know what career paths you like and what you don’t. You might even get a great new experience for your resume and a talking point for interviews. Joining professional engineering clubs also offers many opportunities for networking.
  2. Have a growth mindset. Within all fields of engineering, technology rapidly changes. An important aspect of being an engineer is staying on top of these changes and adapting to new technology as the industry requires. Be curious and always be learning new skills at every step of your career. Take on new responsibilities that take you out of your comfort zone. This is when you start to really grow.
  3. Complete tasks from ideation to completion. A process engineer at Intel remarked how grateful she is that she was involved in Society of Women Engineers (SWE) during her college years. While she was in SWE, she took ideas for goals and events, constructed a full plan of action, and executed them to conclusion. She had to oversee tasks from beginning to end during her time in SWE, and those skills proved useful for when she had to take a project from beginning to end as a process engineer. Completing something you started is a skill in of itself, and your time in college is a great opportunity to build that skill.
  4. Work on your soft skills. Developing your technical skills cannot be overstated, but it is also important to take the time to focus on your soft skills. Having great soft skills will be help you to improve your networking and open the door to many job and internship opportunities.
  5. Go to professor’s office hours. Not only are professor’s office hours a great place to get some help with homework, but they are also a great place to get to know and make connections with your professors. Frequently, professors are in their office with no students coming by for their office hours. Take advantage of this by asking your professor about any career advice they might have for you. They will be more than happy to help.
  6. Get creative. The job search looks a bit different this year than any year before. Most career related events are online this year, and this creates new opportunities as well as new challenges. Be prepared to take a different approach this year compared to years previous in order to give yourself the best chance of being successful in securing that internship or job you’ve been eyeing. Use Handshake to be on the lookout for company recruiting events, such as Info Sessions. Try out the LinkedIn Alumni tool to find which companies hire the most ASU students from your major, and even connect with recent ASU hires from those companies. This year has changed a lot of aspects of the recruiting process, so be sure to update your approach to match that.

We hope that those who attended CEN found it useful, and we thank the panelists who offered their time to give back to the ASU community. And as always, please set up an appointment with one of the Peer Career Coaches if you have any questions about finding job or internships. We are always more than happy to help students get into their dream jobs!

**This blog was written by Richard Rigby, Peer Career Coach.