Recommendations to a Graduating Civil or Environmental Engineering Student

A Civil or Environmental Engineering program’s senior year is full of excitement and stress for many students. Most days and nights are spent catching up on homework, prepping for exams, or working towards completing a senior design project.  On top of that, the soon-to-be graduates are looking to land a job in the Civil or Environmental Engineering industry. To put it lightly, graduating students have a lot on their plate and the job search can be a bit overwhelming. Here are some recommendations for seniors looking for a career in Civil or Environmental Engineering.

  • Visit university-sponsored career fairs. Take advantage of the fall and spring semester career fairs to learn about companies and current employment opportunities and locations. It is important to note that this is not an interview; however, it is a first impression, which will go a long way.
  • Use your university as a resource. Build relationships with your college professors and utilize their experience in the industry. If you are applying for a job, ask your professors to provide feedback on your cover letter and resume. Also, if they are willing, list them as an academic reference.
  • Your G.P.A. is important. Take your schoolwork seriously. There is a good chance that you will not use all of the equations, theories, or ideas you learn throughout your academic career. However, problem-solving and time management are skills that are essential to every engineer.  Good grades reflect these qualities.
  • Communication is key. Engineers need to communicate concisely and effectively. Every email, phone call, or interview is an opportunity to display your communication skills. Know that it is okay to be nervous – the people interviewing you have been in your shoes. Take your time and use notes if needed.
  • Find a good fit for you. Interviews are a two-way street. Come prepared with a list of questions that you want to know about the company. “What do working hours look like? What does career growth look like at Company X? If I was hired, what sort of projects or tasks would I be working on?”
  • Do not be discouraged by rejection. During the job hunt process, you might get rejected and that is okay. The best course of action is to thank the company for reviewing your application or interviewing you. It is even okay to ask for feedback on why you were not selected for employment. Maintaining professionalism is important because the industry is small, and you never know when or where you might run into someone down the road. Keep your head up and move on to the next opportunity.
  • Enjoy your time as a student. Senior design, graduation, and job hunting make this an exciting time and transition. Try to avoid feeling overwhelmed and take the time to enjoy your last couple of semesters at school.  

If you are interested in learning more about entry-level engineering career opportunities at Commonwealth Engineers, please visit:

Brian Wilson, PE

Associate Project Engineer

University of Southern Indiana, 2015