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  • 1.  EIT Positions Requiring Experience

    Posted 04-17-2023 12:00 PM

    Hey all,

    I'm wondering about the experience requirements often associated with entry-level positions.  When I was looking for my first job five years ago, most of the openings I found required 1-2 years experience.  From recent conversations with students, this doesn't seem to have changed.  It's a bit of a catch 22 for those without experience: the only way to start your career is to already have started your career.  Who are these apocryphal EIT-level candidates with 1-2 years experience, and what's the thinking behind this requirement?  What should recent grads with no work experience do?

    Christian Parker P.E., M.ASCE
    Structural Project Engineer
    Washington DC

  • 2.  RE: EIT Positions Requiring Experience

    Posted 04-18-2023 11:59 AM

    Before getting into the main question, I will use this opportunity to emphasize the importance of internships during undergrad. One of the huge benefits of undergrad internships is that they help students figure out what they are looking for in a fulltime position, and they also add useful experience to a resume. In the ideal case, a student loves their internship and gets invited back after graduation without actually having to start from scratch with job applications.

    One possible answer (that I know may not be ideal for recent grads) is to ask about an options for an "internship" after graduation where the employer commits to 3 months, 6 months, etc. with no guarantee of continued employment. Basically a situation similar to "contract to hire"

    -The employer doesn't have to commit to someone that cannot demonstrate yet that they can translate their schooling to real world problems. If they know that they are committing only to a given timeframe to start, they don't have to worry about formally "firing" them if it doesn't work out.
    -The employee gets work experience for their resume and doesn't have to "quit" if they decide they don't like to work environment or area of focus. It's easier to say in the next interview "the internship ended" than "I resigned after 6 months"

    Heidi C. Wallace, P.E., M.ASCE
    Tulsa, OK

  • 3.  RE: EIT Positions Requiring Experience

    Posted 04-24-2023 08:05 AM

    Hello Christian,

    To get those 1-2 years of experience that entry-level positions expect, I got part-time positions at the universities I attended. Some of these were paid positions as a Research Assistant for on-campus staff over the years; and one was unpaid research directly under a professor to apply her class content. All of them contained work and dates to list on my resume for down the line.

    I have also considered how to start a career a catch-22, due to the educational factors alone being insufficient for getting a first full-time position. I think the "recent grads with no experience" need numerous resources at their disposal, such as recruitment sites and engineering data sources, along with determination to network at every turn. Having started a full-time job last month all because of degrees of separation and whom we know, I personally see how that's a major way to stand out in a crowd.

    Alexander Granato A.M.ASCE
    Indianapolis IN

  • 4.  RE: EIT Positions Requiring Experience

    Posted 04-25-2023 10:25 AM

    I think this highlights the need for students not only to do good in their education but also to get work experience before they graduate. There are opportunities available for students to work during their summer break or on internships during the school year. I worked inspection jobs and a surveyor's assistant during my summers starting in my freshman year and that helped. Most of my friends in school did the same.

    Currently we hire part time college student interns and are flexible with time commitments to work around classes. Employers want to help students gain experience so there are lots of good opportunities out there - not all are advertised so it pays to contact everything from local governments, state DOT's, consultants, concrete plants, pipe manufacturers, contractors, subcontractors, etc. You can be a flagman or woman on a construction project which is good experience.

    Yance Marti P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer IV
    City of Milwaukee
    Milwaukee WI

  • 5.  RE: EIT Positions Requiring Experience

    Posted 04-24-2023 09:52 AM

    Students should also get active with their ASCE student chapters as a way to start networking.  Start early and become members of chapter committees.  If possible, be a chapter officer.  Then move on to internships as others have recommended.

    Thadeus Zagrobelny P.E., M.ASCE
    Director, Environmental Compliance Division
    Woodbridge VA

  • 6.  RE: EIT Positions Requiring Experience

    Posted 04-25-2023 10:24 AM

    I agree with the comments given so far--Internships, summer jobs with professors and researchers at the student universities, as well as taking advantage of student-worker opportunities offered at government agencies are all plausible approaches to gain experience. But I think we should add that excelling academically will give you an edge that will help with getting the first job, even when you do not have the 1-2 years minimum experience listed in the job add. To highlight your academic performance, you can use as an example experience in the summer research project that you work so hard on, or one of the projects you had in school that targeted the solution to a real-world problem.  In the current market, employers are looking to hire individuals that stand out because of their aptitudes and educational strengths, not only the 1-2 yrs. experience.  I recommend that the skills you list in your resume are really there, and at the level that you indicate, as this will become apparent during the interview process.  And remember, excellent verbal and written communication skills are essential.  Being yourself, honest and prepared are contributing factors that will truly influence the selection of the best candidate for a position that the hiring manger needs to make.  

    Juan Gonzalez-Castro Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE
    Sr Engineer
    South Florida Water Mgmt Dist
    West Palm Beach FL

  • 7.  RE: EIT Positions Requiring Experience

    Posted 04-25-2023 01:56 PM

    I agree with Mr. Gonzalez-Castro.  Most posting requirements should be looked at as guidelines, and a clever applicant will use educational achievement and other hobby/work/club experience to offset the time requirement.  Employers are mostly looking for people who don't freeze up when the work doesn't match what they learned in school.  They need to have the academia polish scuffed up a bit by the gritty real world.

    I was a "Non-traditional student" with Army service and 7 years of HAZMAT response and cleanup work and supervision, so my employers quickly looked past the 1-2 year engineering experience requirements.  There's a strong emphasis on the High School to College to Job pipeline that removes real-world experience from prospective employees.  I encourage people leaving High School to take a year or two to explore various labor or trade positions, and then go to College.  Barring that, the government department I work for strongly promotes/creates paid internships and if an intern applies for a position with us upon graduation, they are high on the preferred hiring list.

    Michael Palmer P.E., M.ASCE
    Manager 2
    Knoxville TN