Entering the job market after graduation is a big step for any new engineer. You’ve applied for jobs, nailed the interview, and gotten hired… but now what? Getting the job is one thing, but doing it is quiet another. You’ll want to make the most of these early days of career and create a solid foundation that can carry you into the future.
Here are seven dos and don’ts to remember as you start your first engineering job (and maybe for even longer).
Do: Keep Training
Completing an engineering degree is tough, but that isn’t the end of your education. Good engineers continue to learn on the job long they’ve finished college. Asking questions of more seasoned colleagues or finding a mentor in the industry are two ways you can gain this type of practical knowledge.
An engineering career also means you’ll need to stay current with the latest technologies, trends, and applications. Ignoring these could mean losing jobs to engineers who have kept their knowledge current.
Don’t: Neglect your “soft” skills
Strong math and science skills are essential to working as an engineer. However, there’s more to the job than just these technical skills. It’s important to also develop the soft skills that will help you build successful working relationships with clients, colleagues, contractors, and anyone else you may work with on projects.
There are many soft skills that engineers use on the job. These include communication, collaboration, and time management. As your career progresses, you may also need to hone your networking and leadership skills, as well as learn how to resolve conflict in the workplace.
Do: Learn from your mistakes
Mistakes happen to everyone, even engineers. Using professional tools, following a process you’re unfamiliar with, or incorporating new technologies can all result in a mistake or error in your work. Treat these as learning opportunities to figure out how to improve. Practice new skills whenever possible, and hopefully you won’t make the same mistake twice.
Don’t: Forget to check your work
While mistakes often make great learning opportunities, they can also be costly for clients. Ideally, any mistakes you make will be caught before they seriously impact a project.
Implementing a review process can help you catch mistakes before they cause trouble. In the early stages of your career, your employer will likely review your work until they feel confident that your work is thorough and error-free. However, if you’re working on your own as an independent contractor, it may be wise to have a fresh set of eyes look things over until you’re more practiced.
Do: Stay flexible
Engineering is a broad field with plenty of opportunities for recent grads. You may have your heart set on working in a particular industry or company, but it’s important to keep an open mind. Your career might take you to a location or market niche that you didn’t expect. Staying flexible helps keep you open to new opportunities that could be even better than you imagined!
Don’t: Neglect your personal life
Work-life balance is important, no matter what field you work in. Engineers often put in long hours on projects, both in the office and on worksites. While it might be necessary to clock some overtime during key parts of a project, it’s important not to lose sight of everything else in your life.
Make sure you’re taking time for yourself. This might be planning a yearly holiday, taking advantage of three-day weekends, or just committing to clocking off at 5pm on a Friday (no matter what). Use this time away from work to recharge, spend time with family and friends, and reconnect with what brings you joy.
Do: Protect yourself with Professional Liability insurance
A big part of running an engineering business is providing clients with professional advice and services based on your specialty knowledge. If something goes wrong, and a client suffers a financial loss caused by your work, you could be found liable. Having an insurance policy in place to help pay legal expenses and compensation to the client can help protect your finances.
Professional Liability insurance for engineers (also known as Errors and Omissions or E&O insurance) is an essential form of coverage that protects you and your company in case of a lawsuit due to alleged professional wrongdoing. It can provide valuable protection for engineers at any stage of their career, including recent graduates.
BizInsure can help you find Professional Liability for engineers, online and in minutes. Visit our website to get started.
Beginning an engineering career is an exciting step for any recent grad. Following the dos and don’ts above could help you make the most of your first engineering job and put you on the path to success!