Step 5: Searching and Applying for Engineering Positions
Once your marketing materials have been prepared, you are ready to begin looking for employment opportunities using CyHire, secondary sources and your network. Access the Application Tracker & Interview Reflection Tool in Canvas to keep track of job opportunities at your target companies.
CyHire – Your Primary Source of Information
CyHire has search features that allow you to search for the jobs that you are qualified for and the system has a job alert feature that will regularly run a search and email the results to you. It is important to use the job alert or to check CyHire regularly since new jobs are posted each day. Once again, two major benefits of using CyHire are that 1) the companies posting positions on the system are specifically looking to hire ISU engineers and 2) all positions posted at ISU will be on the system (unlike the bulletin boards located around campus).
More information on using CyHire for your job search can be found below and here.
CyHire has a number of tools and functions, but one of its primary uses is to search and apply for employment opportunities. Hundreds of companies work with Engineering Career Services to post engineering internships and post-graduation positions at all times of the year. Even though the bulk of hiring happens around career fair season, companies continuously seek engineers and add positions to CyHire. A significant percentage of the jobs are posted by companies that do not physically recruit on campus. Since all jobs must be posted on CyHire to ensure equal employment opportunity compliance, CyHire should be your primary source of information at all stages of the job search process! You may also be able to find opportunities on sites such as LinkedIn or Indeed. However, jobs posted to CyHire are specifically targeted to Iowa State students.
CyHire can be used in the following ways to connect with employers and their job opportunities:
- Investigate job postings and apply – Under the “Jobs” tab you can do quick searches or detailed searches to find engineering employment opportunities.
- Coordinate interview schedules – When you apply for positions through CyHire, the Interview section will indicate whether you have been selected for an interview. When you are selected to interview, you will use this area to schedule your interview. You may also be contacted directly by email or phone to schedule an interview with the company you applied to.
- Automatically receive information about new job postings and reminders –The “Job Alert” function within the Saved Searches menu (under Jobs tab) will regularly run searches for you automatically and send you an e-mail detailing openings that match the search criteria you have set when you create the job alert. Also, Career Services will periodically send you important information about career opportunities or interviews that match your qualifications.
Secondary Sources of Information
While CyHire should be your primary search tool, you should also use secondary sources. If you are particularly interested in specific companies, use their websites and/or social media sites. The federal government uses USAJobs.gov exclusively. Many direct website postings can be found easily by search engines and job aggregators. If you use these websites, please always go directly to a company’s employment site to apply for positions. Avoid applying for positions through 3rd party employment sites to avoid unsolicited email and contacts.
Government and State of Iowa Positions:
Search tips for co-ops/internships: Use the keywords, “Engineer Intern” to find many hits on engineering internships/co-ops.
Search tips for post-graduation positions: Use the keywords, “Engineer Recent Graduate” to find many hits on entry-level engineering positions for undergraduates and graduate students.
Applying for Engineering Positions
Now that you have found positions you are interested in, it is time to apply! First check to make sure that you meet the required qualifications. If you do not meet all of the required qualifications, it is probably not worth spending the time to apply. You do not need to have the preferred qualifications, but possessing them will make you a better candidate for the position. Both required and preferred qualifications are good things to state/mention in your application materials. At a minimum, you will need to submit your resume, but additional information is also often requested. For some positions, additional documents such as a cover letter or transcripts might be required. Even when not required, providing a cover letter to introduce yourself and highlight a few qualifications that make you a strong candidate for the specific position is always recommended if you have time to prepare a quality document. See Module 4 of the Canvas Career Prep Resource for more information on developing your application materials.
Whenever you are applying for a position, read the details carefully, paying close attention to deadlines. Whether a position has a hard deadline or no deadline, you should apply as soon as possible to ensure you will be in consideration before they close the position or get enough qualified candidates. Remember to check your email frequently (at least once per day) when you are applying for positions so that you do not miss any important notifications regarding your application or potential interviews.
Tailor Your Application Materials
It is beneficial to tailor your application materials (i.e., resume and cover letter) to a specific position, because recruiters look for keywords and many employers use scanning software to automatically score resumes and rank candidates. To be rated as highly as possible, ensure that your materials include as many of the skills and keywords mentioned in the job description as you can legitimately defend. This is especially important when applying for positions with the federal government where a multi-page resume is perfectly acceptable for all candidates. It is not effective to trick the scanner by simply listing skills and keywords in a skills section (other than programming languages, software, and equipment that you have used), because the next level of screening will involve a person reviewing your resume. They will want to see well-written, skills-based work impact statements within your work experience and other sections that provide “proof” of your successful use of the skills and knowledge.