As a First Year Civil Engineering student, you will be prioritising settling into your course and generally getting involved with opportunities and supports offered across the University.
Some useful early career information, planning and development opportunities to start thinking about and engaging with include:
1. Familiarise yourself with MyFuture, Degree Plus, Careers Service/ Consultants at the Student Guidance Centre and the Careers website.
- All Queen's receive a free MyFuture account. This allows you to view jobs, view/book into extra-curricular careers workshops, employer talks, or one-to-one appointments with a Careers Consultant. Just download the App or go to www.qub.ac.uk/myfuture and use your Queen's email address as your username and normal Queen's password to log in and view. You should also look out for MyFuture (download from App store by choosing "Symplicity Jobs and Careers" and selecting Queen's University Belfast).
- The Degree Plus Award offers over 150 approved extra-curricular work experiences, early professional development programmes, global/international experiences and community and voluntary experiences (both inside and outside Queen's). Check out the Degree Plus website , ask your Careers Consultant or contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have queries.
- Look out for your Careers Consultants and Student Helpers from the Careers Service based at the Student Guidance Centre (SGC) and across the campus. You will meet your consultant at talks/workshops within your course; at Careers/Degree Plus workshops and Pop Ups across campus (including DKB, McClay Library foyer and Careers Fairs) or via booked MyFuture Appointments
- This webpage for Civil Engineering students is hosted on the Careers website where the Careers Service also provides general careers information on its website on topics such as how to prepare for job applications and interviews.
2. Come along and try out one or two Careers activities of events during your first year.
You will find 4 key Themed Weeks/Deadlines heavily promoted to all Queen's students each year. The offer lots of opportunities, information and guidance that will help you to build your CV and will also help you to gain understanding and practice of how to effectively articulate your skills and experience to employers and others e.g. to help you get summer work, placements and eventually, a graduate job. These events are:
- October Science & Engineering Career Fairs and January Work Experience Fair in the Whitla Hall. Any student can drop into the fair and browse the employers and opportunities on show. The Work Experience Fair in January is particularly relevant to First Year students who are interested in gaining a placement or internship in Civil Engineering.
- Go Global Week: "Come to Go Global Week to meet the organisations that can offer you the experience of a lifetime to study, work or volunteer abroad"
- Degree Plus Award (certificate presented to qualifying students along with their Degree Parchment at their graduation ceremony) . You will notice promotions for two types of accredited activity (Route A or B). You can get involved or apply for Degree Plus at any time from first year through to Final Year. The Degree Plus website includes an 11 minute induction video to tell you what Degree Plus is, the benefits of getting involved and how to gain a Route A and or Route B accreditation.
- Development Weeks: Open to all students, including First Years. You will see short events and workshops advertised in January and more significant career development programmes, tours and internships offered in May.
- Skills for Success Workshops in the SGC: These short 2 hour workshops offer employer insights to any student of any level (attend 4 as a Degree Plus Route B activity). They cover topics such as:
- Develop Your Commercial Awareness
- Know Your Strengths
- Ace Your Application
3. Think about how to make use of your summer break to gain work or other experience for your developing CV.
Getting involved in some of the events suggested above will build up your understanding of the sort of experiences that are available, are of interest to you and show you how to apply to them.
- Mid- course
At levels 2/3, depending on whether you are studying for a BEng or MEng, most Civil Engineering students will be planning for a placement or other/further work experiences. Below are some of the key things you can do to prepare for this.
1. Attend and make the most of the Careers Consultants workshops where your school has arranged for you e.g. at level 2
Semester 1: Level 2
Civil Engineering: Transferable Skills (Build and develop via course, Degree Plus & work experience)
Semester 1: Level 2
Civil Engineering: CV and Covering Letter
Target Jobs Civil Engineering, Construction, Surveying CVs and Cover letters
Semester 1: Level 2
Civil Engineering: Interview Techniques
Semester 1: Level 2
Civil Engineering: Oral Presentations (Including presentation practice)
- Examples of further Information and Resources referred to for Level 2 Careers Consultant Workshops
2. Check, clean and professionalise your online profile
We have all heard the expression that "First Impressions Count". This applies to your online image as well as your personal image when you meet a potential employer in person, via skype or in a telephone conversation.
- A well considered, professional profile and effective use of social media resources, such as LinkedIn, can also help you to draw an employers attention to you in a positive way and can be helpful in enabling you to identify "hidden jobs".
- Check out the Careers Service 8 tips to creating a professional online presence and developing you online network.
3. Research and consider your career options in more detail
Some information from the Careers Service is provided below. You will also find it helpful to speak and network directly with employers who are interested in hiring and offering placements to Civil Engineers. You will find further information about opportunities to do this if you scroll down to point 3 below.
4. Start to meet, network and converse directly with relevant employers
- October Science & Engineering (and other) Careers Fairs in the Whitla Hall
- January Work Experience Fair
- Attend on and off campus Employer Events (e.g. as advertised on MyFuture)
- Make use of professional bodies e.g. Student membership of the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the networking opportunities that they offer you.
- Learn how to pitch to an employer in order to catch their interest (e.g. via a 30 second elevator pitch or speculative applications/calls)
- Make use of online networks
5. Keep developing your extra- curricular skills & experiences to further develop your employability
See 8 Tips to improve your employability
6. Develop your skills and experience in effectively searching and applying for jobs (as part of this, you will need to be ready to practice and take feedback on how best to articulate your academic, personal and professional strengths and experience to employers and others)
- You wil find tailored Job Search Facility in your MyFuture account (contains jobs and placements that employers have asked Queen's to advertise to students)
- Examples of Job Websites- For Civil Engineering Students
- Final Year & PGT
Ideally, by Final Year you have built up a range of work and other career development experiences, possibly also added an international and/or the Degree Plus Award to your CV (as outlined in the information for Level 2 and Mid-Course students above) and are ready to seek out opportunities to showcase your profile of academic and work-related achievements to employers. To do this effectively, you will find it helpful to check the following:
- Make use a range of job search web tools. (E.g. MyFuture, Grad Cracker and the other examples shown in the job search section below)
- Make use of Careers Service advice and advice, practice and feedback opportunities to produce effective CVs, Cover Letters and job applications.
- Prepare, practice and deliver at interview (may include telephone or Skype interviews)
- Where applicable, practice and get familiar with other assessment centre selection instruments that employers may use such as psychometric tests, delivering presentations, group exercises and negotiation challenges)