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Career Planning

Undergraduate Career Planning
Checklists by Year

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First Year Engineering Student Checklist

  1. Start your resume: attend a resume workshop, use our Career Development Handbook for Undergraduates, or watch our “on-demand” video.
  2. Start thinking about the types of jobs that would be interesting—attend company information sessions or industry panels and listen to what engineers in your field are doing.
  3. Develop your “30 second pitch” so that you are prepared to talk with recruiters and alumni.
  4. Look at the National Science Foundation’s REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) Program: http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/. Make sure to check deadlines and give your professors time to write recommendations.
  5. Read your email from the Engineering Career Center and use our online resources to search for internship openings and develop career-related skills:​
  6. Begin to build a network of support through friends, mentors, upperclassmen, staff and faculty.

Second Year Engineering Student Checklist

  1. Update your resume—add any relevant experience or soft-skills that you gained over the previous semester or summer. Attend a resume workshop if you haven’t already, use our Career Development Handbook for Undergraduates, or watch our “on-demand” video.
  2. Attend the Engineering Career Fair, company information sessions and workshops.
  3. Develop your “30 second pitch” so that you are prepared to talk with recruiters and alumni.
  4. Look at the National Science Foundation’s REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) Program: http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/. Make sure to check deadlines and give your professors time to write recommendations.
  5. Read your email from the Engineering Career Center and use our online resources to search for internship openings and develop career-related skills:
  6. Participate in student organizations—take an active role!
  7. Continue to build a network of support by creating your LinkedIn profile.

Third Year Engineering Student Checklist

  1. Update your resume and your LinkedIn profile—add any relevant experience or soft-skills that you gained over the previous semester or summer. Attend a resume workshop if you haven’t already, use our Career Development Handbook for Undergraduates, or watch our “on-demand” video.
  2. Attend the Engineering Career Fair, company information sessions and workshops.
  3. Develop your “30 second pitch” so that you are prepared to talk with recruiters and alumni.
  4. Look at the National Science Foundation’s REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) Program: http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/. Make sure to check deadlines and give your professors time to write recommendations.
  5. Read your email from the Engineering Career Center and use our online resources to search for internship openings and develop career-related skills:
  6. Participate in student organizations—take on a leadership position when possible.
  7. Continue to build a network of support through personal contacts, alumni, recruiters, and through LinkedIn.
  8. Begin to think about graduate school vs. job—attend a workshop and talk with faculty.

Senior Engineering Student Checklist

  1. Update your resume and your LinkedIn profile — add any relevant experience or soft-skills that you gained over the previous semester or summer. Attend the workshop “How Companies Evaluate Your Resume” to make sure your resume is in tip-top shape.
  2. Develop a strategy for job hunting: Do you know what type of work you want to do? If yes, then target the companies that do this type of work and develop a systematic plan to apply to these companies. If not, use our job board, database, and collection of job postings to narrow down your search.
  3. Attend the career fairs, company information sessions, industry panels, and tech talks and be prepared to give your “30 second pitch” to recruiters and alumni.
  4. Start to use engineering lingo! Use scientific, quantitative terms, e.g. chemical reactants … not a bunch of stuff in a beaker; conduct structural analysis…not see if/when it breaks.
  5. Read your email from the Engineering Career Center and use our online resources to search for internship openings and develop career-related skills:
  6. Continue to take on a leadership roles within student organizations or on your technical teams.
  7. Continue to build a network of support through personal contacts, alumni, recruiters, and through LinkedIn.
  8. Attend various workshops on deciding between multiple job offers, salary negotiation, etc.

Graduate Career Planning Checklist

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 As you progress through your graduate studies, it is important to take concrete steps in planning your future career by developing your skills and participating in career-related events. The following is a suggested timeline of specific activities and tasks that will help you reach your engineering career goals. Continue to read emails from the engineering career center which provides information concerning jobs, fairs, workshops, and networking events.

Master’s Students

Year One

  • Maintain regular contact with your faculty advisor.
  • Begin your resume – attend a resume workshop.
  • Develop your LinkedIn profile.
  • Join and participate in professional associations, engineering student societies, or other student organizations.
  • Attend various workshops early in the year on interview preparation and career fair preparation.
  • Attend company information sessions to build relationships with recruiters and learn more about what companies are doing in your field of interest.
  • Attend the Engineering Career Fair in the fall and the Campus-Wide (Career Blast) Fair in the spring.
  • Regularly check  www.umass.edu/careers/ by clicking on CareerConnect and the Engineering job board at engineering.umass.edu/careercenter for new listings.
  • Attend academic conferences and network with colleagues from other institutions.
  • Plan a related work experience (research position or internship) for the summer if you are not already doing research through your degree program.
  • Learn master’s degree requirements and thesis information by visiting www.umass.edu/gradschool, and clicking on Current Students.

Year Two

  • Maintain regular contact with your advisor.
  • Update and polish your resume.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile.
  • Continue to participate in professional or other engineering student societies.
  • Continue attending company information sessions to network and inquire about employment opportunities after graduation.
  • Attend various workshops early in the year on job searching and negotiations.
  • Attend the Engineering Career Fair in the fall and the Campus-Wide (Career Blast) Fair in the spring. Make sure you know what recruiters are looking for and be prepared to present your technical and communication skills.
  • Regularly check www.umass.edu/careers/ by clicking on CareerConnect and the Engineering job board at engineering.umass.edu/careercenter for new listings.
  • Reach out to alumni from your department that are working in academia or industry. This is a great way to network and also a resource for job search advice.
  • Follow up with companies you meet at information sessions, career fairs, or interviews. Make sure you present yourself in a professional manner – through phone conversations, email, thank-you notes, or in person.
  • Attend academic conferences and network with colleagues from other institutions.
  • Prepare to take the FE exam before leaving school – many companies require this for employment. The FE is now a computer-based exam that is administered year-round by NCEES (National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying) at NCEES-approved test centers. Advance registration is required and is available at http://ncees.org/exams

PhD Students

Year One

  • Maintain regular contact with your faculty advisor.
  • Join and participate in professional associations, engineering student societies, or other student organizations.
  • Decide whether to pursue a career in industry or academia by attending a workshop held by the engineering career center.
  • Begin your resume or CV by attending a workshop.
  • Begin considering what other application materials will be needed for your future career and begin developing these. For example, a career in academia will require a teaching statement, research statement, dissertation abstract, and letters of recommendation among others.
  • Develop your LinkedIn profile.
  • Join and participate in professional associations, engineering student societies, or other student organizations.
  • Attend various workshops early in the year on interview and career fair preparation.
  • Attend the Engineering Career Fair in the fall and the Campus-Wide (Career Blast) Fair in the spring.
  • Use CareerConnect through www.umass.edu/careers/ and the Engineering job board at engineering.umass.edu/careercenter to note which postings interest you and what qualifications are emphasized.
  • Attend academic conferences and network with colleagues from other institutions.
  • Pursue fellowship opportunities.
  • Prepare a timeline for degree completion.

Year Two

  • Maintain regular contact with your faculty advisor.
  • Learn your program’s policy on dissertation committee members and start forming your committee. Learn doctoral degree requirements and dissertation information by visiting www.umass.edu/gradschool, and clicking on Current Students.
  • Update your resume and CV.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile.
  • Continue developing any application materials.
  • Attend various workshops on networking and job searching.
  • Attend the Engineering Career Fair in the fall and the Campus-Wide (Career Blast) Fair in the spring.
  • Regularly check  www.umass.edu/careers/ by clicking on CareerConnect and the Engineering job board at engineering.umass.edu/careercenter for new listings.
  • Attend academic conferences and network with colleagues from other institutions.
  • Pursue fellowship opportunities.

Year Three

  • Maintain regular contact with your faculty advisor.
  • Make sure you are clear on dissertation formatting.
  • Update your resume and CV.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile.
  • Continue developing any application materials.
  • Attend various workshops on negotiating job offers.
  • Attend the Engineering Career Fair in the fall and the Campus-Wide (Career Blast) Fair in the spring.
  • Regularly check www.umass.edu/careers/ by clicking on CareerConnect and the Engineering job board at engineering.umass.edu/careercenter for new listings.
  • Reach out to alumni from your department who are working in academia or industry. This is a great way to network and also a resource for job search advice.
  • Follow up with companies you meet at information sessions, career fairs, or interviews.
  • Attend and consider presenting at academic conferences and network with colleagues from other institutions.
  • Pursue fellowship opportunities.
  • Note any academic or industry deadlines for next year. Many academic deadlines occur in the fall of your final year.

Year Four or Last Year

  • Maintain regular contact with your faculty advisor.
  • Polish your application materials including your resume, CV, and any additional materials.
  • Attend various workshops early in the year.
  • Attend the Engineering Career Fair in the fall and the Campus-Wide (Career Blast) Fair in the spring.
  • Regularly check www.umass.edu/careers/ by clicking on CareerConnect and the Engineering job board at engineering.umass.edu/careercenter for new listings.
  • Reach out to alumni from your department who are working in academia or industry.
  • Attend and present at academic conferences and network with colleagues from other institutions.
  • Pursue fellowship opportunities.
  • Know your financial situation and consider attending a session on student loans.