To help you begin your search, we've compiled the following topics to help make sure that you are prepared to embark on your job hunt.  Don't be overwhelmed by the amount of information provided; just take it step by step and soon you will be on your way to starting an exciting, new engineering job! 

PhD students are encouraged to use the resources below and to review the Graduate School resources on this page: https://gradschool.umd.edu/professionaldevelopment

TOP 10 CAREER TIPS FOR NEW STUDENTS TOP CAREER TIPS FOR NEW INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

Get Organized

  • Create or update your resume.  Attend our Resume Writing workshop or review our Resume Writing handout for advice.
  • Bring your resume to our office for a critique and gain access to your Careers4Engineers account.  We are available starting June 1, Monday - Thursday, from 1:00 - 4:00pm, virtually.
  • Login to Careers4Engineers, complete your profile, and upload your resume.
  • Read your email every day.
  • Career Engineer is a weekly e-newsletter generated by Engineering Career Services that summarizes all career-related events & deadlines.  Keep your eyes peeled for "Career Engineer" in your inbox.
  • Keep a calendar that includes career events and academic obligations.
  • Keep track of job descriptions & applications, company contacts, interview dates, and any helpful notes about the process.

Develop Professional Skills

  • Attend workshops on the following topics, Find an Internship/Co-op, Resume Writing, Career Fair Prep, Cover Letters, Interviewing, Evaluating Job Offers, and many more.
  • Practice your interview skills using InterviewSteam and sign-up for a mock interview in our office.
  • Check your wardrobe for proper interview attire.
  • Increase your employability by participating in campus research, competitions, student societies, and more.

Explore Opportunities in Your Profession

  • Apply for job listings through Careers4Engineers.
  • Learn about employers at information sessions.
  • Attend UMD Career Fairs to meet potential employers and build contacts.
  • If possible, attend the national SWE, NSBE, and SHPE conferences.  Their career fairs have hundreds of employers attending each year.  Check with the student branches of these organizations to learn more. 
  • Identify your top 20 employers and check those websites regularly.
  • Set-up a search agent in www.USAJobs.gov and other job boards.

Build Your Professional Network

  • Create a LinkedIn profile.  Our office can help you by reviewing your profile and offering feedback.  See LinkedIn Tips for Students.
  • Join the Clark School LinkedIn group.
  • Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job/internship, especially those in a tech field.
  • Use LinkedIn and Terrapins Connect to conduct informational interview with alums.

And, once you accept a position, let us know! Stop by our office so we can congratulate you or send a quick email to CareerEngr@umd.edu.

You will need to write a resume to provide to employers at a career fair, or to submit as part of an application for an internship, job, graduate school or scholarship. A resume is a brief summary of your education, work experience, and activities. It should focus on those aspects of your education and experience most relevant to your current career objective.

If you have never written a resume, you can learn the Resume Basics online, and if you want to focus specifically on writing your technical resume, see our engineering-specifc advice, below:

Writing a Resume

Virtual Resume Critiques

  • Click here to schedule a 20-minute virtual appointment on Careers4Engineers. Or if you prefer in-person, please stop by 1131 Martin Hall (Mon - Fri, 8:30 - 4:30 pm). 

  • PhD students: Please email Veronica Perrigan, vperriga@umd.edu, with 3 meeting options to review your resume/cv. 

The instructions below are for current students of the University of Maryland.  Alumni and former students requesting an official or unofficial transcript should use the forms at: http://www.registrar.umd.edu/former.


Official Transcripts

If you would like to send an official transcript to an employer, you may do so directly through Testudo. You will need to know the employer's address. Please note that the registrar charges a small fee for each official transcript issued.

 

Unofficial Transcripts

To obtain your unofficial transcript for upload into Careers4Engineers or an employer's online system, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to Testudo:  http://www.testudo.umd.edu/.
  2. In the list of web services, you should see and click on Unofficial Transcript.
  3. Login using your directory ID or UID and directory password.
  4. Click the blue button in the upper right corner that says Print this Document.
  5. Print using system dialog, making sure to select Adobe PDF as your printer type.
  6. After clicking print, save the PDF File on your computer with the file name, lastname_transcript.

To upload the .pdf of your unofficial transcript into Careers4Engineers:

  1. Log in to Careers4Engineers. (Note: Your account must be active.)
  2. Under the Documents tab, click on Add New.
  3. Select Unofficial Transcript.
  4. Under Browse, find your unofficial transcript and select it.
  5. Finally, click Submit.

The key to writing an effective cover letter is to tailor each letter to each individual job description. Your goal is to prove that your qualifications match the employer's requirements for the position. Try to use key phrases from the job description in your cover letter. The ideal cover letter is around half a page long (no longer than one page) and written in professional business letter format.

  • For more information and sample cover letters, check out our Cover Letter Guide
  • Our staff is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm to help you review your cover letter. Please bring a copy of the job description in addition to the cover letter.
  • You do not need to make an appointment.

Whether you are applying for graduate school or a summer research experience, you will probably have to write one or more essays, called a statement of purpose or personal statement. Our personal statement handout will help guide you through the personal statement writing process.

Personal Statement Handout

Searching for a job requires time and effort, but if you're willing to persevere, you can significantly increase your chances of getting a great offer.  For information about job search resources beyond Careers4Engineers, as well as tips on networking and career fair preparation, take a look at the following information:

In addition to UMD's Careers4Engineers and Careers4Terps databases, expand your search by looking at external websites that can help you find internships, co-ops, or full-time positions.  We've curated a list of external resources on our Job Boards page.

Networking is key to accessing the "hidden job market."

The term “hidden job market” refers to jobs that are not widely published on job boards or elsewhere.  This is where the old adage "it's not what you know, it's who you know" comes into play.  Your connections could help you by alerting you to upcoming vacancies that aren't yet posted publically. 

Networking Virtually & Connecting with Alumni

Build your professional network through LinkedIn.  To get the most out of the platform, you want to actively seek out and connect with alumni, classmates, professors, family, friends and colleagues, and UMD Alumni.  Instead of sending a generic request inviting a potential contact to be part of your LinkedIn network, take a moment to click directly on their profile, and personalize your message.

Professional Portfolio

You can upload images, files, and hyperlinks to your Linkedin profile in the experience and education sections.  This feature allows you to illustrate your engineering skills through samples.  Demonstrate your abilities instead of just writing about them.  Check out the article below to learn how to add examples of your work to your profile.

Employer surveys consistently indicate that clothing is an important factor in the total picture of the candidate. In  the same way that you have invested in your education and the preparation of your credentials, you may want to  consider investing in an “interviewing outfit.” 

First impressions are important. Conservative, professional business attire is best. Avoid anything that will distract an employer from focusing on your qualifications, such as bright ties, strong cologne/perfume, or excessive jewelry. You can’t go wrong with a suit with comfortable dress shoes. If you don’t own a suit, consider wearing dress pants or skirt and a long sleeve shirt or blouse.

Business Professional Attire

Professional Attire Buying Guide

General Tips on Attire:

  • Personal hygiene is important. Pay particular attention to your body odor, fingernails, breath, and hair. Consider using little or no perfume/cologne.  The interview room may be small and scents can be stifling. 
  • Hair should be neatly groomed. 
  • Avoid large pieces of jewelry or jingly items that may be distracting. Make-up is not required, but if you wear it, keep it natural-looking.  
  • Make sure clothes are clean and pressed. Shoes should be polished, not worn-looking or scuffed.
  • Choose neutral colors, patterns, and accessories.  Stick to a conservative style and fit. If wearing a  skirt, check skirt length when sitting down. 

Professional Business Attire:

  • You do not need to spend a fortune on designer clothes. Just make sure your suit fits you well. 
  • A two-piece business suit (with pants or a knee-length skirt) is a good choice.  
  • If you are unable to invest in a suit, choose nice slacks or a skirt, a coordinating collared shirt or blouse, with a blazer or a sport coat with a tie.  

Specific Considerations:

  • The only instance in which you should dress casually is when the interviewer specifically tells you to do so.  
  • For example, a recruiter may tell you to dress casually or wear certain footwear because you will be going on a plant or site tour during your visit. In this case, go with business casual.  
  • Some tech companies (especially those based on the West Coast) may tell candidates NOT to dress up for the interview. In this case, you can leave the tie at home.  
  • However, DO NOT assume that all tech companies or tech positions respect a casual dress code at work or for an interview.  
  • If you are interviewing for a company where you know a “business casual” policy is in effect, you should nevertheless dress as you would for any interview.  
  • In general, or if you are unsure, plan to wear  “business professional” attire to the interview to make a good impression and show that you are taking the interview seriously.

In order to impress the employers at your interview, you must prepare ahead of time! Here are some steps to follow in order to ensure a successful interview:

  • Sign up for an Interview Tips Workshop  If you can't attend the workshop, download our Interview Tips Handout  for detailed tips and a sample thank you note.
  • Before the interview, review the job description, research the company, and be ready to talk about your skills and what you have to offer.
  • You can read about the interview process and employee reviews on Glassdoor after creating a free account using your .edu email.  You can also view a video tutorial on about Getting the Most Out of Glassdoor.
  • Practice your interview skills using InterviewSteam or sign-up for a mock interview in our office.  Create an account on Interview Stream so you can record yourself in a mock video interview. (As of fall 2016, more and more companies are using similar platforms for screening interviews.)  
  • What to expect during a Case Interview (see page 8 of our Interview Handout).
  • Have a technical interview for Python coming up? Search "coding interview" in LinkedIn Learning - it's free for UMD students.   
  • Prepare what you will wear and what you will bring. See our tips on how to dress professionally.
  • On the day of the interview, arrive 10 -15 minutes early. Let your enthusiasm for the company and the position show. Don't forget to ask thoughtful questions of your interviewers.
  • At the end of the interview, make sure you get the employer's business card so you can follow up with a thank you card or email.

Congratulations, you've received an offer of a job or internship! 

Accepting an Offer of Employment

The hardest part of the job search might be over but you still need to make an important decision - so take some time to give it serious thought.  Don't accept a job offer on the spot!  Make sure you weigh your choices carefully and ensure that you are making the best possible choice for your career goals.  If you have other offers pending that are higher on your priority list, contact those employers to let them know about your new offer and ask when they are planning to make their decision.

Remember, once you accept an offer, you are obligated to that position even if you get a better offer later.  As always, you are more than welcome to stop by Engineering Career Services to talk through your options!

Accepted a position already?  Whether it's a post-graduation job, an internship, or a co-op position, please let us know by filling out this short Job Update Form.  And if you've been hired as a full-time co-op student, you must stop by our office (during the pandemic, you can access the co-op forms online and schedule a virtual appointment) to register for the 0-credit co-op class, ENCO 098 or 099! 

Declining an Offer of Employment

If you choose to decline a job offer, do so tactfully and in writing.  If you have developed a rapport/relationship with a recruiter, offer them the courtesy of a phone call. Keep in mind these tips when declining a job offer:  

  • Avoid saying anything negative in writing about the employer, even if you had a negative experience.

  • If you choose to decline an offer because another offer is a better fit for your interests and goals, it is fine to state this, without giving details about why the declined offer is not the best fit.  It is not necessary to state whose offer you accepted, but you may do so if you wish. 
  • Remember that this employer may be a contact for you in the future.  Be professional and courteous.

Consequences of Reneging 

When you accept an offer, you are obligated to that position even if you get a better offer later.  Do not accept an offer unless and until you are sure of your commitment.  Once you accept a position, you should withdraw yourself from other positions you are being considered for, and stop submitting new applications.

If an employer makes you an offer in August or September for a summer internship or full time position, you may ask to have until the end of October to make your decision.  If you receive an offer after September, you may ask to have 2-3 weeks to communicate your decision to the employer.

If you decide to renege on your commitment to accept a different offer, there will be consequences.  Reneging damages not just your professional reputation, but that of the Clark School of Engineering.  Your actions can jeopardize opportunities for other Clark School students.  Your Careers4Engineers account will be blocked, and you will be barred from participating in campus recruiting activities until you meet with an Engineering Career Services advisor.  You will be required to compose a sincere letter of apology, explaining your actions, which we will review and submit to the recruiter.  Future recruiting privileges will be evaluated at that time. 

This policy deals with you reneging on your commitment to a company.  If a company/organization rescinds its offer of employment to you, please notify the Engineering Career Services office immediately.

Graduate School

Have you seen that the most interesting job postings ask for an advanced degree or specialization? Do you dream of being a lifelong learner? Do you enjoy conducting research? If so, then pursuing a graduate degree might be the path for you.

Graduate School Handout

 


Professional Licensure PE/FE

The Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam is typically the first step in the process leading to the Professional Engineer (PE) license. State laws limit the practice of engineering to licensed professional engineers, which means that a P.E. is required for such things as:

  • Stamping and sealing designs 
  • Bidding for government contracts
  • Owning a firm
  • Consulting
  • Offering expert witness testimony
  • Advertising services to the public

Engineers who do not perform the above functions can also benefit from holding a professional license. As a P.E., you are likely to reach managerial positions more quickly and earn a higher salary than your peers. See a video from NCEES about the importance of Professional Licensure.

The FE exam is offered in seven disciplines:

  • FE Chemical
  • FE Civil
  • FE Electrical and Computer
  • FE Environmental
  • FE Industrial
  • FE Mechanical
  • FE Other Disciplines

The FE is a computer-based exam that is administered year-round in testing windows at NCEES-approved Pearson VUE test centers. The FE contains 110 multiple-choice questions. The exam appointment time is 6 hours long, which includes a nondisclosure agreement, tutorial (8 minutes), the exam (5 hours and 20 minutes), a scheduled break (25 minutes), and a brief survey.

Registration & Testing Center Locations

Register for the Exam

Testing Centers near College Park, MD:

  • 1615 L Street NW, Suite 410, Washington, District of Columbia 20036
  • 4350 East West Highway, Suite 525 Bethesda Towers, Bethesda, Maryland 20814
  • 1900 North Beauregard Street, Suite 12, Alexandria, Virginia 22311
  • 9891 Broken Land Parkway, Suite 108, Columbia, Maryland 21046
  • 8391 Old Courthouse Road, Suite 201, Vienna, Virginia 22182

Register for Canvas Review Sessions

Register here to be included in the Canvas Site created to help students review for the FE Exam.

 


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