5 ways engineering undergrads can improve their job prospects

UWA Bachelor of Engineering job prospects career STEM
An engineering degree will give you great job prospects - but do these things to graduate with an X factor. Image: Students outside EZONE UWA Student Hub/ UWA supplied

Do these five things to help you stand out from the crowd when you finish your engineering degree!

The good news is, if you’re studying engineering at uni then your job prospects are solid. 

According to one survey, 83% of engineering undergraduates found full-time employment in 2020, and in June 2021 the Commonwealth Bank of Australia announced plans to recruit up to 600 new engineers in just a few months – that’s two every day! – which is a pretty promising sign for any aspiring engineers.

But the reality is that when you graduate, you’ll also be competing with about 8000 other new engineers joining the workforce, so it helps to think about how to equip yourself with an X-factor that will mean you stand out to potential employers.

Try these five things when you’re at uni and you’ll be on the right path to landing your dream job when you graduate:

1. Join the club(s)! 

Joining a student club or society is a great way to expand your network, make friends and – you got it – boost your employability! Your participation in uni clubs and societies look great on your CV, offers opportunities to expand your network and make friends, to learn new skills – and they’re fun! 

Chances are there’s a club to suit you and your interests. For example, the University of Western Australia alone has the UWA Young Engineers’ Club (UWAYE), Engineers without Borders, UWA Motorsport, Women in Engineering or The University Engineers’ Club (UEC) – just to name a few. 

2. Skill up  

Your degree will equip you with industry-ready skills and knowledge, but we’re talking about going the extra mile here. For example, the University of Western Australia (UWA) received feedback from industry that it wanted grads with more hands-on experience, so they’ve started offering their engineering undergrads short intensive workshops in tool skills like welding, 3D-printing and soldering so they can stand out and graduate job-ready.

3. Get real

Real-world industry experience is hard to beat. Practical placements, internships, volunteering and industry project opportunities during your degree could make all the difference when you graduate. 

UWA engineering students complete a 12-week (450 hour) Professional Practicum as part of their course, and are responsible for liaising with employers to organise the placement and completing a portfolio of work. This means you’ll expand your network, receive valuable feedback, learn about potential employers and industries, and maybe even land a job!

UWA engineering degree
Developing hands-on skills, making the most of work placement opportunities, and choosing an awesome study environment are just some of the ways to stand out as a graduate engineer. Image: UWA supplied

4. Find a mentor

Having a mentor while you’re at uni has loads of employability pluses – it can expand your professional network, helps you practise relationship-building, plus having direct links with top engineers will help you stay ahead of emerging trends and new developments in your chosen field.

To find a mentor, use a service like UWA’s Career Mentor Link, which matches professionals with students.

5. Choose the right study environment

Where you study and the facilities available to you will have an impact on how career-equipped you are when you graduate. Be sure to check these out at your uni open day before signing up – and once you’ve commenced your degree, make the most of what’s available to you!

UWA has its world-class EZONE, a multimillion-dollar dedicated innovation and technological hub for engineering and mathematical science students, with features like flexible work spaces for collaborative learning and industry interaction. 

This article was brought to you in partnership with the University of Western Australia (UWA). Find out more about their new four-year Bachelor of Engineering here.

Gemma Chilton

Author: Gemma Chilton

Gemma has a degree in journalism from the University of Technology, Sydney and spent a semester studying environmental journalism in Denmark. She has been writing about science and engineering for over a decade.

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