You are an engineer and have been preparing for your career for many years through training, internships and studies. Despite good job opportunities, the road to your first job is rocky and full of stumbling blocks.
As occupation, a riser is considered, who did not pursue the desired occupation or a comparable job so far yet. The circle of the occupation beginners is divided thereby into 2 groups. There is on the one hand the large group of engineers and computer scientists, who recently locked their study at university or professional school and which wants to sign employment contract for the first job.
The second group are the lateral entrants, i.e. people who have been in professional life for some time. They have completed retraining, further education or a part-time course of study and want to work as engineers or computer scientists in the future. If you belong to this group, you usually have a lot of work experience, but not in the field you want to work in.
Learning to differentiate between must-have and can-do requirements
Despite the very good job prospects for engineers and computer scientists at the moment, this does not automatically mean that you as a career starter will be virtually followed by the first job. After all, you lack professional experience when it comes to starting your career. And in most job advertisements this is required in addition to many other skills.
One thing is clear: employers are always looking for the perfect candidate who has studied quickly, ideally completed an apprenticeship before and is fluent in 3 foreign languages.
And of course he should have 3 to 5 years of professional experience, if possible in the required area of responsibility. Those who bring all this with them and have quickly completed their stations are probably only accused of lacking life experience.
For a successful career start, be aware that the employer will always look for the perfect candidate just like you. It remains to be seen whether there are actually applicants who have the required experience and skills in their entirety. Nevertheless, you should not underestimate job advertisements in the reverse conclusion.
You should therefore distinguish between mandatory and optional requirements. Because who applies for jobs, but does not fulfill even the muss requirements, makes itself only unnecessary work. Experience and competence with the rating “desirable”, on the other hand, should not prevent you from applying. However, you should meet the following professional experience requirements for a successful career start:
The job advertisement demands “first knowledge”
Even if you are a freshly graduated engineer or computer scientist from a university or technical college, in terms of professional experience you will certainly already have “first knowledge”.
For example, you have completed internships, worked as a student trainee, spent a semester abroad and/or volunteered. This means that you have already got to know work and company structures. You have worked together with colleagues and superiors and know what is important here.
The job advertisement requires “relevant knowledge”
If the employer’s job advertisement requires “relevant knowledge”, you should only apply as a career starter if you have already gained experience in this industry. For example, you have already completed internships in this field or worked as a student trainee. The employer therefore expects you to familiarise yourself very quickly, even as a career starter, with your previous knowledge.
The job advertisement demands “sound knowledge”
If the employer expects “sound knowledge” in certain areas of professional experience, then you are almost without a chance as a career starter. Only those who have worked in this field for many years can demonstrate sound knowledge. Even a well-founded professional experience from another area is of little use here if the required knowledge is not immediately covered.
So it is not easy to start your career. Nevertheless one should not be deterred by such requirements for a successful career start. After all, as already mentioned, you have usually gained experience during internships, practical semesters and/or part-time jobs. In view of the current labour market situation, this is often sufficient to start your career.
Alternative ways to start your career
If you don’t want or can’t follow the classic route of direct entry – for whatever reason – there are alternative routes for joining a job:
Entry through an internship
You are doing an internship with your employer of choice or have already done an internship there during your studies. This will give you an insight into your desired field of work. At the same time, you will get to know the company structure and can decide whether your employer, type of job and location are suitable for you. Those who prove themselves in such an internship leave a good impression and increase their chances as career starters.
Career entry through a job as a working student
This activity refers to the time during the studies. As part of a working student activity, you will work for the employer of your choice during your studies. This job can, for example, give you the option of writing your own master’s thesis in the company.
Your results will provide your potential employer with valuable information and insights. This can lead to a career start. After all, you already know the company well and have provided it with valuable services.
Joining the company as a trainee
Anyone who joins a trainee program has already been successful as a career starter. The direct entry has been successful and a large number of people are looking forward to an employment contract. However, the employment relationships are more often fixed-term contracts.
How to find your first job as a career starter
If you are looking for your first job as an engineer or computer scientist, you need patience to start your career successfully. Despite very good job prospects, it can take up to a year to find the right job. After all, there are various prerequisites for a successful career start: You must first find the job(s) in question and apply for it.
The actual application phase can last from weeks to months and can include getting to know each other, application interviews and interviews. Success is not guaranteed here. If the company decides for another applicant shortly before the goal, the search begins anew. One should calculate therefore as a occupation beginner plentifully time.
Exploring fields of work and employers during your studies
To successfully start your career as an engineer or computer scientist, you should start looking for suitable fields of work and employers before completing your studies, depending on your orientation.
In this way, you will be able to deal with the later job search and existing job opportunities at an early stage. Be aware that during your studies you not only acquired professional qualifications, but also learned to organize yourself (and others).
In addition, you have developed problem-solving strategies and can view challenges from different perspectives. This means that you are already in a position to place tasks in a broader context – beyond the technical level.