Engineering Professional Development: Students

Engineering Professional Development staff and peers are available to assist students through all stages of the career development process. It starts with a resume assignment in the first semester of the program, followed by workshops and individual advising appointments available each year to discuss job/internship search strategies, interviewing preparation, networking, and job offer evaluation/negotiation.  The goal is to teach students life-long skills early on that they can use through their entire career. Engineering Professional Development is part of Engineering Student Services located in 3124 Seamans Center.  Peers offer drop-in hours each day or appointments can be made by calling 319-335-5763.

Resumes provide a summary of your education, experiences, skills, and accomplishments in order to capture the attention of potential employers.  It's a "snapshot" of who you are professionally.  They have a significant impact on whether students receive an interview, and ultimately land a full-time or internship position.  Resumes can also be used to apply for scholarships and graduate school.  

The purpose of cover letters are to introduce yourself to an organization, demonstrate your interest in the company and position, draw attention to your resume, and motivate the reader to interview you.  In order to be most effective, each cover letter should be unique and tailored to the company/position.  It's an opportunity to tell more about yourself, show the company your communication and professional skills, and add other key pieces of information not included on your resume.

Our 30+ page on-line Career Resource Manual provides resumes examples of current engineering students and recent grads of the University of Iowa, resume guidelines and a list of strong action verbs to help develop content, and covers the differences between resumes and CV's. Additionally, there is a section on cover letter guidelines and examples.

Staff and peers in Engineering Professional Development are available to help students construct and revise resumes and cover letters targeted to their career goals. Additionally, resumes uploaded into the University's online recruiting system, Hireahawk, are revised and customized feedback is provided to each student.

Interviews allow employers to gain valuable insight into your personality and abilities, and allow you to determine whether your credentials and career goals match the employers' needs.  Each company's hiring process is different but the two primary types of interviews used by companies are screening interviews and selection interviews.  Screening interviews ensure that prospective candidates meet the basic qualifications for a given position.  If you meet the basic qualifications, express interest in the position, and make a positive impression on the interviewer, you will likely be selected for a selection interview.  Selection interviews are typically conducted onsite at the hiring company. A selection interview is typically more rigorous than a screening interview. At this point, a company is trying to decide whether or not you should either be moved to the next step in the hiring process or if an offer is going to be extended.

Interviewing methods differ greatly between companies and even positions within the company.  The interviewer may focus on one style or engage you in a combination of several styles.  See below for the most commons types of interviews. These could be conducted in person, over the phone, via Skype, or on-site.

  1. Traditional Interview
    This is the scenario you'll face most often for a Traditional Interview: You sit down with a solo interviewer and answer a series of questions designed to help her figure out if you're a great candidate for the job.
  2. Behavioral Interview
    This is the most common type of interview method.  It's a test to how well you have handled certain stressful situations in your past. With behavioral interviews,  the interviewer is examining for behavior patterns rather than correct answers they probe into what you have done in the past, not what you say you will do in the future. You will be asked a series of questions on how you handled various different situations from your past that are relevant to the position you’re interviewing.
  3. Case Interview
    The case interview is a more specialized format in which you're given a business problem or a puzzle to solve. 
  4. Technical Interview
    Technical interviews are designed to determine if you have the necessary technical skills needed to succeed in the position.
  5. Group Interview
    Group interviews aren't common, but you might find them for sales roles, internships, or other positions in which the company is hiring multiple people for the same job. 
  6. Career Fair Interview
    If you're attending career fairs as part of your job hunt, get ready for impromptu interviews, where you'll only have 10 or 15 minutes to sell yourself to the recruiter for a chance to come in for a full interview.

Staff and peers in Engineering Professional Development are available to help students prepare for various types of interviews. Additionally, mock interviews are available through the Pomerantz Career Center on a regular basis.  Students can search for and sign-up for mock interviews through Hireahawk.

With any job search, students need to use many resources as possible to generate a large number of high quality job leads. Students can develop job leads through networking, career fairs, professional associations, online job boards, recruitment firms, company web sites, and targeting companies directly.  Below is a listing of common job search sites to find engineering internship and entry-level positions.

University of Iowa On-Line System

  • HireaHawk - Full-Time Positions, Co-ops/Internships and Student Employment
  • NACElink - National Jobs Database within Hireahawk

National, Research & International Internship Programs

Local & National Job Search Engines

Government Jobs & Internships

Professional Associations

Associations often include job boards, membership directories, and professional conferences.

Whether students are preparing for an interview, focusing their job or internship search on a specific industry, or targeting companies by geographic location, thorough research is key for success.  The resources in this section are designed to help students gather more information about companies, careers, and industries.

Researching Companies & Careers

Our two annual engineering career fairs bring in 80-100+ engineering, manufacturing, healthcare, business, IT, government and non-profit organizations each semester. Students can explore companies and careers, gain advice from recent alums and learn about co-ops, internships and full-time opportunities from small and medium sized organizations to large Fortune 500 corporations.

 

The program gives students the option of exploring and developing their careers through periods of professional practice. Experiences are institutionally supervised, professional engineering related experiences in business, industry, government or academia. The program is structured in a way that there is goal setting at the beginning, analysis and reflection at the mid-point and evaluation and feedback at the end.  Experiences range from part-time positions during the academic year to ten week summer internships to multi-term co-ops where students take off a semester of school to work full-time.  The benefits to students are endless:

  • Career Development: Develop professional and career skills through experience and application; Evaluate and explore different positions and organizations in Engineering
  • Competitive Edge: Increase competitiveness for full-time positions/higher starting salaries
  • Status/Documentation: Receive transcript notation and credit towards University Honors program requirements, ability to apply the work experience toward professional licensure, maintain full-time enrollment status, qualify for CPT, and earn an average pay rate of $15-$18 per hour

Hireahawk.com is the University's on-line recruiting system designed to connect students with employers and opportunities.  Students can search for companies and positions, upload their resume to be viewable by employers, apply for on-campus interviews, find student employment opportunities and MORE! Students have access from day one through graduation by logging in through MyUI.

Did you know you can meet people with similar interests AND build your resume?  Join one of our 30 engineering student organizations to collaborate on engineering projects, compete in teams, network with employers, coordinateK-12 STEM activities or travel abroad.  We have major and industry-specific groups, honors organizations, sustainability organizations and diversity groups. Employers specifically seek out students with demonstrated leadership skills.  Organizations are honored each year at the Professional Development Awards Banquet.

Networking is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual. It's about making connections and building enduring, mutually beneficial relationships. Because we understand this skill is a critical one for any successful individual, students will have a number of opportunities to network with companies and professionals through presentations, workshops, lunch and learns and panels. LinkedIn is a great resource for networking and the College of Engineering has a group filled with alumni and current students that encourages communication!

Professional Development Peers are another resource to help mentor students through the career development process.  Upperclass engineering majors with prior co-op, internship or research experience are available on a walk-in basis in the Student Development Center.  They are trained to provide advice on resumes and cover letters, interviewing skills, networking, LinkedIn or questions with the on-line system, Hireahawk.

Co-op and Internship Program

Co-op and Internship Program

Engineering Career Connect

Engineering Career Connect

Engineering Career Fairs

Career Resource Manual

Career Resource Manual

Annual Awards Banquet

Annual Awards Banquet

HIreahawk

Hireahawk

Engineer Your Career

Endless opportunities. Whether you like to work with people, come up with new ideas, or want to make a difference in the world, engineering will open the most doors. We will continually challenge you to think about ways to enhance your education -- through co-ops and internships, research, study abroad, volunteering, leadership experiences, clubs and organizations and other extracurricular activities. You ARE our next generation of leaders and problem solvers. The more you have developed your technical and transferable skills, the more competitive you will be as you enter the job market and the quicker you’ll make a difference in an organization.

Dream big but be flexible. In this time of constant transition and change, students who can shift their plans to the conditions of the job market will have less stress and more success. Talk with companies you’ve never heard of and explore careers you’ve never considered. You might be surprised at what you find and where it leads you.

You are not in this alone. The opportunities are out there but it’s up to you to be proactive and take owernership of your career. Utilize a variety of resources to guide you through this lifelong process. Familiarize yourself with the University’s on-line recruiting system, Hireahawk.com. Attend the fall and spring engineering career fairs, employer presentations, networking events and all of the other career related workshops and seminars you can. Take advantage of your existing network and seek out ways to make further connections.