Category Archives: Applying For Jobs

Is Civil Engineering The Field For You? (Guest Post)

Civil Engineering/Grad AustraliaFrom designing and constructing to supervising and maintaining buildings, there is plenty that a civil engineer can do.

Are you interested in becoming a civil engineer? Before venturing into any field it’s important for you to consider the pros and cons of it. Most people assume that if a job has a lot of scope and has a good salary package to go with it— that it’s a good choice. Not necessarily!

Several students frequently complain of how they have chosen subjects that do not really match their interests despite those subjects being very lucrative professionally. This means that in addition to the scope of whatever you are studying, it’s equally important for you to know whether or not you have the aptitude for it as well.

Civil Engineering: The Aptitude

Before thinking about starting your civil engineering studies (and eventually your civil engineering career) it will do you a lot of good to determine if you have what it takes to be a competent civil engineer.

If you have clear mathematical concepts, a sound base of science and technology, a creative streak, and a passion designing various structural buildings then civil engineering the right career choice for you!

General skills like problem-solving, strong communication skills, the ability to think and analyze things critically, conducting research and handling the data, interpreting, etc., are obviously a huge plus.

Civil Engineering Jobs

Once you obtain a degree in civil engineering, there are plenty of fields in which you could be of service. You could work as a building control surveyor, consulting civil engineer,  water engineer, nuclear engineer, site engineer, structural engineer, or contracting civil engineer.

Then there are certain jobs for you to explore which may not be directly related to the field of civil engineering, but in which your degree could be useful. For example several civil engineers are working as environmental consultants, suitability consultants, building services engineers, etc.

So as you can see, the scope of civil engineering careers is actually quite vast. However, to  land a good position, you need to be a little patient. As a fresh civil engineering graduate your first priority should be to gain as much as practical experience in civil engineering as you can.

So don’t worry if you don’t get that lucky break and immediately snag an amazing civil engineering job just after graduating. You can always start small and work your way up to bigger better civil engineering positions.

As a general rule of thumb, keep checking the websites of various construction firms and companies to see if they announce any job openings so that you may apply immediately. Sign up for various job employment websites online as well. Employers regularly update their job posts with the criteria and skills required for a particular job, deadlines til you can apply for that job, and the salary package being offered for that job.

–by Grad Australia (GAU)

Why You Should “Backdoor” Your Résumé After Applying For A Job

Why and How You Should Backdoor Your Resume After a Job Application
Photo by Irwin Reynolds

Applying online for positions, be it at the employer’s Web site or via a site like Careerbuilder, should be a part of any job seeker’s strategy. True, most folks get their job by networking, but like my first job for a record label in Nashville, you never know when that online application you did last week will land you the job you want.

With just a little time and detective work, you can give yourself an advantage over nearly everyone else who applied. Here’s how.

Avoid calling. Use LinkedIn to find someone at the company who is probably the hiring manager for this position, and e-mail a brief note with your résumé and cover letter attached.

Sometimes this a great bypass of the HR screening process. Sometimes it’s a good double-hit, showing initiative, interest, and thoroughness if, for instance, it’s a small company or division with no in-house HR department.

As you peruse LinkedIn, if you see you have a close colleague who works at the company, you could backdoor through that person. If you don’t know anyone, look to see if the person you choose has worked anywhere you have before. That makes a great introduction in the beginning of your e-mail. If you can’t find anyone who might be at a hiring manager level, send it to someone in the same department as the job opening.

Naturally, most people want to help. But make it easy for them to do so…think about when you are working and someone who’s in transition asks for your help. Be polite but specific with your request. For example, I asked a former coworker, Matt, to 1) put in a good word for me at his current company (with the hiring manager if he knew who that was) and 2) forward my résumé and cover letter after I applied online. This is the standard backdoor message I work from:

Dear ____,
After having seen the posting for the ____ position you are seeking to fill, I just applied via ____ ((method.)) In addition, I wanted to make sure my résumé and cover letter are seen by someone in the ____ department. If you are not the hiring manager for this position, I would appreciate it if you would forward this e-mail to him or her. Thank you very much for your time and help.

((your name here))

Then, make the e-mail subject line something like, “Hi (recipient’s name); could you help?” Most people like to help – especially when it doesn’t take too much time or is not that difficult. Including the recipient’s first name will help avoid any suspicions your e-mail is simple spam.

When you completely can’t find anyone to e-mail, there’s no general e-mail address listed at the web site, and you don’t want to call, here’s another idea. If the company has a Contact Us page with fields to fill in to e-mail them, do this: With most browsers, right-click, and choose “View Page Source” to reveal the html code. Then, press Ctrl-F to search for “@”. This may show you the general e-mail address. is a good example where this technique works. Then you can e-mail your backdoor message with attachments.

Sometimes, like with Craigslist job postings, you won’t know the company at all. In this case, don’t fret about not being able to backdoor. Just use your spreadsheet to keep up with the TO e-mail address you used when you applied, and e-mail your follow up to the same address.

If you’re concerned about the legality of backdooring, know this: After checking with several HR professionals, I found that most companies do have a reporting stipulation that requires them to have accurate demographics of those who apply for positions, and HR usually expects applicants to come through them.

Although some companies have more stringent policies regarding what should happen when a manager or employee receives your résumé (as far as turning it over to HR), you should absolutely backdoor it after you apply the traditional way. Applying through the “front door” should assuage any concern about fairness or regulations.

If you are fortunate enough to get your résumé in front of the hiring manager for a position you want—and if you’re qualified, the job is actually open and you made a good impression—it could only be to your benefit to backdoor. If the hiring manager is impressed and wants to hire you, HR is unlikely to hinder the process. If you’re on the receiving end of a résumé regarding a position at your company, check to see what your HR department’s policy is in this situation.


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5 Folders You Should Create to De-Stress Your Job Search

5 Folders to organize your job search
Photo by Computers-R-US Florida

Now you may be looking at the title of this post and thinking, “How can something as piddly and insignificant as folders on my computer merit a blog post or do anything for my job search?” Allow me to explain: I’m a very organized guy. Ever since I was about 13 and starting high school, ways of organizing things started to come to me. It was just logic.

As an adult, I was able to enjoy the fruits of my already established organized habits. And after my first layoff from a record label (my dream job in moving to Nashville) in 2000, I’ve been applying my organization skills to perfecting the job hunt. Making and regularly using the following five folders can help you find what you need quickly and take the tendency toward procrastination out of your daily job search activities.

1. Job Search – This is your top-level master folder and should contain the folders below plus any other files, such as aptitude tests, letters of recommendation, articles, references page, business card print files, etc.
2. Company-Specific Information – This is where you’ll store information on any company for which you prepared for an interview or put in an application and can include documents you’ve created or information you’ve downloaded. You can make sub-folders by company name here and use those to file applications, directions, background check documentation, etc.
3. Core Items – This folder should contain the files you use most frequently such as your most current Action Plan, elevator speech/exit statement, versions of your résumé, and job application and networking tracking spreadsheets.
4. Letters (cover, follow up, future position, and thank-you) – Keep all these letters in this folder. You can save a lot of time using them as templates, modifying them when applying for similar jobs. I suggest this format for naming the files: Account Exec–Aug 15 ABC Enterprises.doc (i.e., job title, month/year you applied, company). Then you can add “–fu” for follow-up, etc. to indicate what type of letter it is. This will keep the files sorted by job title, which is best when using these letters as templates.
5. Résumés–Old – Store older versions of your résumé here. It’s good to keep these, since at some point you may need to reference one to refresh your memory about some of your experiences or use the information when applying for a position that’s a bit of a stretch.

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Looking for a new job? Want to get the one you want faster? Check out my new book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow.