Discussion Thread

  • 1.  The right way to look for an entry-level job

    Posted 01-28-2019 03:00 PM
    I am graduating this May (2019) from M.S. in Civil Engineering (concentration - Construction) and looking for an entry-level position either in project management or BIM area. I have started looking for jobs through college job board, LinkedIn, ASCE career connection, company websites, etc. I send my resume and cover letter, fill out the form and upload. I know it is not very easy to find one but I am concerned if I am doing it the right way. Sometime I think it is better to go through a connection, but you may not have the right connection.

    What would be the right thing to do?

    Aakash Parajuli S.M.ASCE
    Graduate Student
    The University of Alabama

  • 2.  RE: The right way to look for an entry-level job

    Posted 01-30-2019 01:54 PM
    Hi Aakash,

    From the sounds of it, you have a good starting point for applying for a job when you graduate. Having some connection to a company is a big plus.  If there is someone that you went to school with who is working for a company you are interested in applying to, have them hand off your resume to either their manager or HR department.  Recommendations from someone that is familiar with your work will make getting interviews easier and sometimes will give you a much better chance of being hired.

    Also, if you interned anywhere and liked the type of work you did there, apply there to come on full time.  If an employer had a good experience from an internship with you, hiring you would be an easy choice from them.

    Be sure to attend career fairs that are offered at your school.  Even if there is only one or two companies that you are interested in applying to, having the opportunity to meet one or more members of a company will give them an idea of the type of person you are and will take your resume back to their HR department to recommend interviewing you.

    Hope that helps and good luck.

    Daniel Taylor P.E., M.ASCE
    Mulhern + Kulp
    Ambler PA
    (215)646-8001 EXT 155

  • 3.  RE: The right way to look for an entry-level job

    Posted 01-30-2019 09:45 PM

    I appreciate you taking time to reply. Certainly, having a connection helps a lot. I have a senior who graduated this summer and got a design job in Chicago. He approached me in December to ask if I am available to start in January. I had to decline because I was not graduating then. That job went away but he assured me that more will come. He is not there anymore but I would surely contact his boss in near future for the job. I realized that having someone you know makes it so easy. Sadly, I did not get any opportunity for internship, so I guess it is my downside somehow. However, I have a different sort of experience working after undergraduate, which I have focused in my resume. Thank you!


    Very descriptive information. Really like telling the story thing. It makes sense! 
    LinkedIn for sure. I am using it for a job as well as making personal connections now. I understand that writing a resume can be tricky sometimes. What I have done is made two types of resume, one that is one-page and short, another is two-page and a bit descriptive. I send my appropriate resume looking at the job description, person of reference, etc. For example, if I have to send resume to my professor I go with the descriptive one. But if I am applying to a job that I know a lot of applicants are as well, I go with the shorter version. Not sure if it is a good idea or not.

    Thank you both!

    One thing I struggle with is to get the right connections from someone not from that field. For example, in a career fair chances are high that someone from the company will be there who is not the right person you want to talk to, however you end up submitting the resume. I am not sure if the company gives priority to the resume they collected in the career fair to that submitted generally via internet. Do you differ in opinion?

    Aakash Parajuli S.M.ASCE
    Graduate Student

  • 4.  RE: The right way to look for an entry-level job

    Posted 01-31-2019 11:15 AM
    Hi Aakash,

    I strongly agree with Michelle's point on resume and want to add that cover letter is also very important for job application. It allows you to communicate with hiring managers why you want to work for them and why you are a good candidate for the position. I seldom applied for a job without a cover letter.

    I'd suggest to have a "master" long resume and cover letter in which you list all your experience, skills, training, certificates, etc. Then depending on the job you are applying for, cut down that master version to 1-2 pages to make it match as much as possible to the job description.

    One more thing I learned was that your application didn't have to 100% match the job description to get an interview. Here is an interesting post on TalentWorks where they found that "You're as likely to get a job interview meeting 50% of job requirements as meeting 90% of them"

    You're as likely to get a job interview meeting 50% of job requirements as meeting 90% of them.

    Hope this helps!

    -- Tung

    Tung Nguyen, MSc
    PhD Candidate
    Washington State University

  • 5.  RE: The right way to look for an entry-level job

    Posted 01-31-2019 03:34 PM
    Hello Tung,

    Yes, I totally get the resume and cover letter affect thing. With you and Michelle making that point, I am more than convinced that it will make a difference. Well, sometime you feel a bit lazy about the cover letter submission unless specifically asked, but I guess I have to be more proactive now. 

    "Master" long resume is a good idea, but I beg to differ a bit. In my two-page resume, I have included almost everything relevant to the job. I agree that sometime in charge of hiring may see something really good in your credential you might not have valued that much. However, if you are applying similar jobs the description are almost the same. So, I went with the two page and one page. But the idea of master resume is really good and I appreciate it.

    Thanks a lot for the graph. The stat give me assurance that I am going to get an interview. It certainly helps! Thank you a lot.

    Aakash Parajuli S.M.ASCE
    Graduate Student

  • 6.  RE: The right way to look for an entry-level job
    Best Answer

    Posted 01-30-2019 02:57 PM
    ​Aakash, sounds like you are doing many of the right things so don't be discouraged! Keep in mind that you are much more likely to land an interview if you have a personal contact at the company you are interested in. I would also recommend you do the following:
    1. Tell your story (graduating in May with a masters in Civil Engineering) to everyone you meet. In the community, at the grocery store, at social gatherings, etc. Anyone could be or know someone who could be a potential contact.
    2. Does your local ASCE branch hold meetings or events? If so, these are a great way to meet professionals. Don't be shy, introduce yourself and get to know them on a personal level. Ask for a business card and if they would be okay with you sending them your resume. Then follow through and do so.
    3. Stay connected on LinkedIn. There are several tools the platform provides that can help you initiate connections. For instance, you can ask your connections for an introduction to their connections. See the "Maintaining Professional Contacts" thread for other ideas on maintaining contacts.
    4. Make sure you are tailoring your resume to the job. When I was approaching graduation, I was given some great advice from the dean of my college. He told me not to go into an interview without WANTING that very job. If you're interviewing just because you want any job, the interviewer can tell the difference. This same advice can be applied to your resume as well. Modify your objective and details about your studies and work experience so that it fits well with the job you are applying for.
    5. Do your research on the company. Make sure it's one you actually want to work for. If you do have a connection there, ask them questions about how and why they like working for the company. They might even be open to you shadowing them for a day. And if you land an interview, make sure to highlight the reasons why you want that specific job with that specific company and you will stand out from other applicants.

    Good luck and don't be discouraged, it's great you are starting early and you're on the right track!

    Michelle Haacke A.M.ASCE
    Project Manager
    West Bountiful UT