Capturing Employment Post-Graduation

By Alex Bohn
Application Analyst at William Beaumont Hospital; IIE Young Professional Chair, Great Lakes Region
B.S., Industrial Engineering, Kettering University, 2009

In early August, another YP chair, Natalie Keller, wrote a great article (which can be found here) discussing what to look for in your first career and how to prioritize potential decisions. Building on that, I’d like to help our readers identify tools and resources to leverage in that quest for the first elusive job after receiving that Industrial Engineering degree. The following are listed in order of success and importance, in the author’s experience and humble opinion.

School or Department Career Placement: This one should be a no-brainer. Many schools have relationships with local or national companies who submit openings for graduates straight to their desk. If your school or engineering department offers career placement services, visit the office or meet with a representative before your graduation date. It’s not uncommon for students to snag multiple interviews with top companies simply through the recommendation from the school.

Professional & Student Contacts: The phrase “it’s all about who you know” seems to be increasingly applicable in this tough economic climate. Try to assemble and maintain a list of contacts that you have made with other professionals or your fellow graduates, maybe as an “Professionals” group in your email program. Keep email addresses, phone numbers, employers and possibly details about the person’s career and encounter. Contact them once, reminding them who you are and mention that you’d be interested in any opportunities with their team or company. Worst case scenario, they never respond and you move on. Do not spam these folks with weekly emails asking about jobs, there is a fine line between ambitious and obnoxious.

Recruiters: Recruiters are hired by companies to seek out and match qualified employees with job openings. They are paid by the company and basically work for free for you while you are searching for a job. Try doing an online search for “Industrial Engineer recruiter” to start and move on from there. Search for recruiters combining other common titles (Operations Engineer), industries you are interested in (UPS, healthcare) and tools or skills that you have experience with (Minitab, supply chain, Six Sigma). You’ll speak with the recruiter and they’ll get a better idea of who you are, and then they will keep an eye out for possible spots for which you’d be a good fit.

LinkedIn: As well as other career oriented social networking sites. I know multiple people who have found great jobs and recruiters through LinkedIn. The key is to track down and join groups you are qualified for or have interest in. A great group that I am a member of is Healthcare Management Engineers; it is very active with musings and articles from professionals and new jobs posted almost daily.

Company & Job Search Websites: For instance, applying directly through the company website or using I personally have not had much success with strictly online postings, but it is a great way to get a feel for what kind of jobs are in demand and also to possibly search for more recruiters. If you do apply online, be sure to post a cover letter with your resume explaining your interest and what you’ll bring to the position.

I used the word “capturing” in the article title because, as a recent job seeker, that is often what it feels like to be searching for a new career. You have to set the right combination of timing and skills to trap that interview. Once you have made it past the cattle call, it is up to your personality and knowledge to make yourself an outstanding candidate. Finally, don’t get discouraged and keep your options open, every opportunity will open new doors and, as a young professional, you have the flexibility and time to figure out which doors you would like to proceed through.