Congratulations on earning your degree in Chemical Engineering, making you a prime candidate for a technical career in almost any industry -- and since technology is always changing and expanding, the job market's need for electrical engineers grows simultaneously.
But now that you've got your diploma in hand you realize that this was all the easy part -- well, sort of -- and now the job of getting a job starts.
Which special field do you want? Where are you going to work? And how do you get a position in your field?
Basically, what now?
Well, that's where we come in. We literally created a career map just for Chemical Engineering Majors such as yourself -- to aid your navigation of the choppy waters of recent graduation.
Feel free to focus on the map alone -- it's pretty cool, if we do say so ourselves. But for those of you who prefer a more involved technical manual, keep reading. We'll give you the rundown on:
First thing's first: what skills you'll need to get started.
You've chosen a degree that, while specialized, also trains you to think and apply your skills to a broad spectrum of solutions. You develop the ability to use specialist knowledge creatively and innovatively to solve problems as well as a sense of pragmatism to turn a concept into reality;
And beyond personal development and simply learning how to learn, employers want to see that you have the ability to reflect, realize, and grow based off of your experiences.
But as far as the specifics for your field go, we've got this list of common skills found on electrical engineer and design resumes">, with examples from experienced resumes as well as general skills.
These are some of the most common skills and words we find -- if you want to make a solid impression on principals or see what the competition is listing, here you go:
Your soft skills are going to be similar to the other STEM studies. All of these majors require an ability to remain precise on the smallest pieces of colossal projects, acting as impartially as possible while making use of provable, observable information in your day-to-day work life.
Whether you're working as an electrical engineer, a project manager, or taking your degree to a professional school, applying these skills to real world learning opportunities yields a more robust and balanced career.
Here are some of the common skills that you should have when trying to get a job -- be sure to explain how you have them in your interviews..
Attention to detail. You design and develop complex electrical systems and electronic components and products -- and you have an ability to keep track of multiple design elements and technical characteristics when performing these tasks.
You have a head for numbers, and spotting and correcting mistakes at every step in the process is second nature to you. This is certainly a skill that other professions can lay some sort of claim to, but when it comes to the practice of engineering, you're in many cases dealing with people's lives.
Team and interpersonal skills. It's not often that you get to pull the lone ranger act during the practice of engineering. Typically, you'll be working as part of a team while completing projects, and your ability to play nicely with others is integral to your capacity for succeeding in the field at large. It's also integral to getting anything at all accomplished on a day-to-day basis.
This collaboration includes monitoring technicians and devising remedies to problems as they arise.
Problem-solving and analysis. This is the big one. The majority of your work will be on projects that, in a nutshell, require you to find a solution to some sort of problem based on the skills you've developed.
While most jobs can (at a basic level) be broken down to that description, with chemical engineering you tend to have a much clearer idea of whether or not your solution works, as the problem you're solving is often clear.
Get a'hustling before you graduate.
Your Professional Engineer licensure
Get a jump on your Professional Engineer (PE) licensure by completing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam can be taken right after graduation. Engineers who pass this exam commonly are called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs).
Take it while it's fresh, so you can start your four years of experience before taking the final test and becoming a PE.
When you're just getting started in the engineering field, there's two things you're going to want to keep an eye on: I) internships, and II) placements.
Most people are aware of what an internship is -- you work with a company on a provisional (and typically, but not always, unpaid) basis, and attempt to parlay that experience into either a job at the same location or as the basis for your full employment at a different location.
These are usually short affairs, often no longer than a month but sometimes stretching to half a year depending on the difficulty and competitiveness of the position/company.
Placements are the same basic concept with a few small changes. For one thing, they're typically longer, lasting for about one year. They can be either paid or unpaid, but either way they typically make up the third year of a four year degree -- a change from internships, which are usually part-time and completed either alongside or immediately following a degree.
At this point we like to list the kind of internships available to people with this degree, but there's not much point to that when it comes to Chemical Engineering. Placements and internships exist in essentially every subgroup of engineering, provided that there is a company around to offer them.
So whatever your engineering specialty, there's almost certainly a placement or internship available to you somewhere out there -- depending on how specific your chosen discipline is, it's more just a matter of how far you're willing to move for it, and how qualified of a candidate you are.
Before you settle on an internship or placement, though, you'll want to make sure it's the right fit for you. Ask yourself these questions: