Today’s engineering job market is competitive. Hiring managers can be overwhelmed with talented people vying for their open roles. It is necessary to make every effort to create a lasting, positive impression on the hiring manager and to differentiate yourself from other candidates. Here are strategies you can use to stand out and be the top engineering candidate.
Focus on Relevancy
Hiring managers are looking for their ideal candidate, and they want someone who checks off as many boxes on their wish list as possible. You can’t position yourself as the right engineer for the job if you aren’t tailoring your resume to the job to which you are applying. Study every posting closely and take time to customize your resume and cover letter to focus on the skills, experience and knowledge the employer is looking for.
Skills can be learned, but passion for your field is not something that can be taught. If you love what you do, don’t be afraid to let your enthusiasm shine during an interview. Speak about the things that drive and excite you and make you feel connected to your field, and don’t hold back. Enthusiasm is contagious, and hiring managers want someone who can ignite a fire of passion in the team.
Be 100 Percent Honest
Candidates often lie by omission or stretch the truth in an interview. They may gloss over being fired or avoid questions about their weaknesses and skill gaps, for example. Commit yourself to being transparent and give the hiring manager some refreshing honesty. No one is perfect, and if you can admit your own imperfections and address the lessons you’ve learned, you will be remembered as an honest candidate with a good sense of self-awareness.
Ask Good Questions
When you are handed the floor to ask questions in an interview, don’t go through the standard list that every candidate uses. Ask questions that show you’ve really thought about what it would be like to work for the firm. Questions about culture, the challenges of your team, the goals for the role, etc.; demonstrate your interest and reinforce your fitness for the role.
Send a Handwritten Thank-You Note
Email thank-you notes are convenient – and necessary if the hiring manager is on a tight decision-making schedule. But if you want to make a strong impression, take the time to send a handwritten thank-you note as soon as you leave the interview. Bring stamped, addressed envelopes with you to every interview. Then sit in your car and write the note, addressing specifics from the interview while they are fresh in your mind and drop the note in the mail on your way home. Send one to each person you spoke with during the interview process.