It is important to realize that the employment process involves marketing yourself. The best products won’t be successful without a solid marketing strategy and the same is true for your job search. A lot of great students struggle to find employment simply because they have not put the time and effort into creating quality marketing tools. These marketing tools are your resume, your cover letters and your pitch or elevator speech. These three items are used to get you an interview where you can more fully present your qualifications. They must be done well.
The resume is used to apply for all engineering internships and post-graduation jobs. It is essential that you create and maintain a resume that represents your qualifications for professional positions. A well-crafted resume showcases communication skills and presents the carefully-selected information that indicates you possess the education, skills, experiences, and interests that will benefit the company.
Best practices for developing an effective resume can be found here.
The Cover Letter
A cover letter is used to introduce yourself and your resume when you are not able to make these introductions in person. A cover letter should be used whenever you are sending your resume to someone for consideration for employment. It is very important to tailor each cover letter to create a connection to the position and help convince the employer that you are the best candidate.
More information on developing cover letters can be found here.
The Pitch (Elevator Speech)
When you are networking, you should be prepared to deliver a short speech to introduce yourself, provide a little information about the type of employment you are seeking, and summarize your qualifications and interests. It is often called an elevator speech because it should be possible to deliver it in the time span of an elevator ride. At a career fair, this 30-60 second speech is expected from you when you approach a company representative.
See the Elevator Speech section for more information.