The world of employment is a complex place, so you need to become a bit of an explorer and adventurer and be willing to try a variety of techniques to develop a list of possible occupations that might use your talents and education. You might find computerized interest inventories, reference books and other sources, and classified ads helpful in this respect. Once you have a list of possibilities that you are interested in and qualified for, you can move on to find out what kinds of organizations have these job titles.
Computerized Interest Inventories
One way to begin collecting job titles is to identify a number of jobs that call for your degree and the particular skills and interests you identified as part of the self-assessment process. There are excellent interactive careerguidance
programs on the market to help you produce such selected lists of possible job titles. Most of these are available at colleges and at some larger town and city libraries. Two of the industry leaders are CHOICES and DISCOVER. Both allow you to enter interests, values, educational background, and other information to produce lists of possible occupations and industries. Each of the resources listed here will produce different job title lists. Some job titles will appear again and again, while others will be unique to a particular source. Investigate all of them!
Books on the market that may be available through your local library or career counseling office also suggest various occupations related to specific majors. The following are only a few of the many good books on the market: The College Board Guide to 150 College Majors and College Majors and Careers: A Resource Guide for Effective Life Planning both by Paul Phifer, and Kaplan’s What to Study: 101 Fields in a Flash. All of these books list possible job titles within the academic major.
Not every engineering employer offers the same type of work setting. In fact, engineering offers a wide range of work environments, no matter which engineering field you have pursued. For example, mechanical engineers can work in high-pressure manufacturing facilities or clean-room environments, where they interact with only a few people. Industrial engineers can work in logistics departments, which collect data, and can interact with a wide variety of vendors and clients. Civil and environmental engineers can work for private construction firms or public agencies such as the EPA or transportation departments. Aerospace engineers can work for aerospace companies such as Boeing or government agencies such as NASA. Some even work for racing teams. Obviously, this wide range of employers offers different “cultures” and expectations for the people they employ.
If you majored in chemical engineering, with a concentration in reaction engineering, you might enjoy working with automated laboratory reactors that use online data acquisition and analysis. However, if you enjoy moving from place to place and meeting new people, you could apply the same skills with an industry consulting firm.
As an engineer, you don’t have to give up your welldeveloped skills to find work that you will enjoy doing. Engineering work can be found in a number of different and interesting settings to match your personality and values.
Each job title deserves your consideration. Like removing the layers of an onion, the search for job titles can go on and on! As you spend time doing this activity, you are actually learning more about the value of your degree. What’s important in your search at this point is not to become critical or selective but rather to develop as long a list of possibilities as you can. Every source used will help you add new and potentially exciting jobs to your growing list.
It has been well publicized that the classified ad section of the newspaper represents only a small fraction of the current job market. Nevertheless, the weekly classified ads can be a great help to you in your search. Although they may not be the best place to look for a job, they can teach you a lot about the job market. Classified ads provide a good education in job descriptions, duties, responsibilities, and qualifications. In addition, they provide insight into which industries are actively recruiting and some indication of the area’s employment market. This is particularly helpful when seeking a position in a specific geographic area and/or a specific field. For your purposes, classified ads are a good source for job titles to add to your list.
Read the Sunday classified ads in a major market newspaper for several weeks in a row. Cut and paste all the ads that interest you and seem to call for something close to your education, skills, experience, and interests.
Remember that classified ads are written for what an organization hopes to find; you don’t have to meet absolutely every criterion. However, if certain requirements are stated as absolute minimums and you cannot meet them, it’s best not to waste your time and that of the employer.
The weekly classified want ads exercise is important because these jobs are out in the marketplace. They truly exist, and people with your qualifications are being sought to apply. What’s more, many of these advertisements describe the duties and responsibilities of the job advertised and give you a beginning sense of the challenges and opportunities such a position presents. Some will indicate salary, and that will be helpful as well. This information will better define the jobs for you and provide some good material for possible interviews in that field.