6 Tips for Young Civil Engineers

6 Tips for Young Civil Engineers

Source: www.topengineer.com
If you're just starting out as a civil engineer, you’re undoubtedly at one of the most exciting yet daunting times of your career. If you're struggling to know where to start, here are some tips to help you take those first tentative steps towards your career in civil engineering.

1. Do your research 

Civil engineering is a broad discipline and for those studying or recently graduated, deciding which area to pursue can be overwhelming. Whilst researching, it's important to make use of all the resources open to you. Your university, alumni and careers services can be of real benefit. At this stage the more you can find out about the diverse fields within civil engineering, the better. 

2. Gain experience

 During the early stages of your career, gaining experience will not only boost your CV, it will also help you glean an insight about different areas of civil engineering. Look for work experience or volunteering opportunities as a way of testing the water. It's not uncommon for civil engineers to volunteer abroad. If that's something you're interested in the VSO or RedR might be able to help (for UK citizens). The important thing to remember is that even if you find yourself gaining experience in a variety of areas, it won't be a waste of your time. Trust us; you'll never regret time where you've learnt something new, you'll only regret where you haven't had the chance to learn enough. 

3. Network and find a mentor 

A mentor can come from a variety of sources. They may be a lecturer, a member of your university's alumni, a contact from a placement, a colleague, or even a family member. Whoever they are, don't be afraid to ask questions about their experiences and the areas they've worked in. Find out about the pros and cons of the roles and disciplines that they've worked in. Whilst any information will be anecdotal, it can be of great value in building up a picture about the areas that you're interested in. At this point it's worth noting that two mentors are better than one, and three mentors… well, you get the picture! It can be useful to pick a variety of mentor's brains to glean as much insight from their experience as possible. Also, don't be afraid to reach out through social media to potential mentors in areas of interest. Whilst they may be busy, people are often accommodating to requests for advice, and hey, what's the worst that can happen? 

4. The pros of casting a wider net 

Getting your foot in the door isn’t always easy and whilst we recommend taking time to establish the type of role you’re looking for, bear in mind that there are many other young professionals competing for positions that help them gain valuable experience, getting them onto the career ladder. Sometimes it can be really useful to be flexible in your approach, whether in discipline or in the region that you're willing to work. Being able to relocate for instance can open up a wealth of opportunities and experiences. 

5. Don't commit to a specific discipline too early in your career

Whilst some individuals will inevitably commit to a particular discipline from the very start of their career, in our experience those that actively pursue a range of projects to work on, have a greater chance of finding the area that they enjoy the most. 

6. Keep developing your skills 

It's important to note that you can work towards certain parts of the initial personal development (IPD) stage of ICE membership, even if you're not in an engineering role. Studying in your own time, attending ICE lectures and events, can also be used as supporting evidence for certain aspects of your IPD. The key is to keep learning and by doing so you will inevitably meet people that may be beneficial to your career. Once in employment, there's a good chance that you'll be able to get additional training through your employer and ICE. Be keen and push for any learning opportunities that are on offer. Remember, you should never stop learning. 

7. Get your CV up to scratch 

Before you start sending your CV out en masses, take the time to make sure your CV is up to scratch. Whilst it might be tempting to apply for positions as soon as you see them, it's really important to understand that first impressions count. To help ensure that your CV or application is the best that it can be, here are some CV tips we've put together to help you get started. By Jess Potts Find your dream role by searching thousands of Civil Engineering jobs on top Engineer. There are various roles across the globe, from London to Brighton.

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