Civil engineers don't get jobs

Why is it when an engineer is unemployed for a long time?

Not every graduate can find a job straight away. However, being out of work as an engineer only becomes a problem when the gap becomes too long. Then it is necessary to identify the reasons for the unsuccessful applications and, if necessary, to train yourself.

Being unemployed for longer is a flaw.

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The hiring practice has changed in favor of employers. The consequences are increasingly fixed-term contracts, lower salaries, more critical selection of applicants and so on. This is not only felt by seasoned workers, one or two university graduates are also unemployed despite their training as engineers.

When looking for a job, the desired success does not always come about. On the contrary, if you are unlucky, unemployment will take the place of the rushing entry-level career after graduation. Unemployed as an engineer? How shall we continue? Giving advice is difficult, but at least worth a try.

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Being unemployed for long periods of time as an engineer is a flaw

Where do the personnel decision-makers see me? A question that the individual engineer can or will not answer with great difficulty. From the HR manager's point of view, there is a clear ranking. Most sought-after are candidates who are about to complete their studies and have studied the right subject with the corresponding academic success. In extreme cases, many companies vie for the same few top candidates. The engineer who has been unemployed the longest is usually the least attractive in the eyes of HR managers.

Whether this assessment is humanly praiseworthy, good and correct should not be discussed at this point. The message is still clear: the longer unemployment lasts, the more efforts the individual engineer has to make so that he does not remain unemployed, the greater flexibility and mobility he has to show in order to still get a chance and the more his market value falls. Ultimately, it can happen that the adequate career entry fails.

Engineers should consider an advanced degree when they are unemployed

Before a long time elapses and the time gap becomes significantly larger than six months, delay strategies for entering the labor market should be considered in order to no longer be officially unemployed as an engineer. Measures such as postgraduate studies, doctorates, empirical theses, internships / semesters / studies abroad and the like are particularly popular here. It is important to get a broader position in the labor market for subsequent applications.

If, for example, the first degree was too specific (vehicle construction), it is advisable to choose further training in a more general way. But also a higher academic degree can increase the market entry chances for an engineer who is unemployed. For example, the bachelor's degree should consider an additional master’s degree. Additional training courses aimed at key qualifications such as project management and controlling are also of interest.

Engineers who give up remain unemployed

The success of previous applications shows whether and how long applications make sense for an adequate start. As long as there are interviews, applications make sense. For example, one engineer reports that his last hundred applications resulted in three interviews. The success of the application is not great and it did not come to the desired position, but one or the other time it almost worked. So why shouldn't the next applications lead to further interviews and thus opportunities to start your career? Only those who give up remain unemployed as an engineer!

Anyone who is only now asking about the quality of the application documents is basically asking them months too late. Working out the best application documents, especially the attractive résumé, is one of the very first application activities. Most engineers who are unemployed see it that way too. It is usually not because of the résumé that entry does not succeed. However, there is a sticking point with unemployed engineers. HR managers ask themselves what the graduate has been doing since completing their studies. Many candidates simply ignore the fact of unemployment.

The argument “unemployed” does not help engineers find a job

How the candidate fills his time in addition to looking for a job can no longer be inferred from the résumé. The door and gate to speculation are open to HR staff. The vacuum should therefore be filled. It is of course best when practical activities, further training and the like come up close to the engineering profession. The more dissimilar the activities are chosen and the longer they last, the more likely it is that the reader of the résumé will get the impression that the engineer is not only unemployed, but has basically already said goodbye to a career as an engineer.

It looks different with the cover letter. The period of prolonged unemployment should not be conveyed complainingly. The best cover letters are those that don't even address the issue of unemployment. Cover letters that put the advertiser under moral pressure, for example with one sentence: give me a chance so that I can continue to live without social assistance in the future, are always the worst ones! This sentence is admittedly a bit exaggerated, but it is intended to clarify the principle. An engineer is not hired because he is unemployed, but because his profile fits the job.

Beware of pity! An engineer who is unemployed needs to be on guard

Anyone who keeps coming back from unemployment for occasional job interviews is relatively well off. However, he should reflect very critically on the past conversations. At which points have I probably talked about my head and neck? Which questions did I feel uncomfortable with? In particular, how could I argue for the long period of unemployment? Engineers who are unemployed and under pressure keep falling into the cleverly set up traps of the HR staff.

They show interest and compassion for the fate of an engineer who is unemployed. He feels understood, unpacks and tells more than he would actually like. The job seeker may also act too much as a supplicant, which does not go down well with HR professionals. In companies, executives are increasingly measured by their ability to maximize profits, not by their contributions to society. The moral responsibility of earlier generations of managers, who often strived for a satisfactory profit, fades more and more into the background.

Anyone who is unemployed as an engineer should be modest in terms of salary

One can certainly argue about the market value of an engineer, even if he is unemployed, as well as about the salary studies that are published in various places. Assuming that it is usually a question of surveys in which the respondent freely and without proof enters his salary figures, and not evaluations that are carried out at the source of the income payments (at the employers), the question arises according to the quality of the basic data. Our grandfathers already knew: nowhere is there so much cheating as with cars ... and with wages!

These studies often lead to excessive salary expectations for university graduates. Therefore, graduates should always stick to the annual values ​​that were valid before the “hot” final phase of the last boom: FH graduates 35,000 to 37,000 euros, Uni / TH graduates 40,000 to 42,000 euros, doctoral candidates 50,000 euros. A Bachelor graduate can at best come close to the FH numbers, a Master is between the FH and university graduate. Anyone who has been unemployed for more than six months as an engineer should be more modest in order to give the HR managers a realistic assessment of their own situation.

Anyone who is unemployed should also think about further qualification as an engineer

Why is it that an engineer remains unemployed? Is it because of the less popular course, the old age of the graduate? These are points that can hardly be changed. However, the applicant consciously determines the labor market segments in which he is applying or not applying! This selection can be changed. Everyone can do a historical job market analysis for themselves. For this purpose, tenders from the online job markets are evaluated retrospectively.

This gives you a very good feeling about which industries, functional areas, regions and company sizes are doing a little better than others. In addition, you receive valuable information about which (technical) key qualifications are currently in demand and which are not. This information can also form a good basis for a possible further qualification, which ultimately leads to the engineer no longer being unemployed.

Flexibility is important when an engineer is unemployed

The longer unemployment lasts, the more flexible and mobile the graduate has to be. The previously mentioned labor market analysis can lead to completely new insights, for example that the candidate has previously applied past the best labor market segments. This needs to be changed now. A lot of creativity in resume design and appropriate further training should then pave the way for applications in these previously neglected industries and functional areas. As far as the mobility of an engineer who is unemployed is concerned, it is definitely worth thinking outside the box to the Scandinavian or Anglo-Saxon labor markets, to Austria or Switzerland.

Some new engineers also get in each other's way with their applications because they have read too many career books and basically don't want to do anything wrong. Although they are unemployed as engineers, they still dream of an optimal career start. They do not even notice that the train is already leaving. These more theoretical career options sometimes have to be completely deleted from the mind of unemployed engineers. It is now about bare survival, that is, to prevent the study from being in vain in the end. It no longer matters whether the start is made in a larger or smaller company, in a supposedly good or bad industry.

Should an engineer do an internship if he's unemployed?

Anyone who, for whatever reason, has no opportunity for additional training will think about a “small” start. Every now and then, engineers who are unemployed try to get themselves into the job through an internship. It certainly makes more sense to do an internship than to do nothing. You may also get a full-time job. Nevertheless, the internship after graduation always leads to a greater need for explanation.

The relevant internship, however, is still better than the unrelated activity. In the case of the latter, the engineer moves away from his specialist studies until, in the end, no one can believe that he can fill an engineering job. Applying for positions for which technical training is actually sufficient should also be reconsidered - that is better for an engineer than staying unemployed. But working in a temporary employment agency is not reprehensible either. Ultimately, the subject of freelance work as an engineer should be considered.


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