Start early and know your visa rules
To get sponsored for engineering jobs you need to prepare. Engineering positions, especially entry level opt jobs, are some of the most competitive jobs for international students. Don’t wait until your last few months to start searching for a job. Start the process after you arrive, especially if you are in a one-year or 9 month program. Learn about the H-1B process and OPT extension for STEM students so you are prepared to interact with employers.
Know the role
Engineers are not a homogenous group. Use the right job titles to find a role that fits you. Click on the title to learn more about the career path and salary expectations. Data is from Payscale.com
|Aerospace Engineering||Aerospace Engineer|
|Aerospace Engineering||Aeronautical Engineer|
|Aerospace Engineering||Aerospace Systems Engineer|
|Biomedical Engineering (BME)||Biomedical Engineer|
|Chemical Engineering||Principal Process Engineer|
|Chemical Engineering||Chemical Engineer, Research & Development (R&D)|
|Chemical Engineering||Chemical Engineer|
|Chemical Engineering||Chemical Process Engineer|
|Chemical Engineering||Process Development Engineer|
|Chemical Engineering||Production Engineer|
|Chemical Engineering||Process Engineer|
|Civil Engineering (CE)||Structural Engineer, Roads and Bridges|
|Civil Engineering (CE)||Structural Engineer|
|Civil Engineering (CE)||Water Resources Engineer|
|Civil Engineering (CE)||Structural Design Engineer|
|Civil Engineering (CE)||Professional Engineer|
|Civil Engineering (CE)||Traffic Engineer|
|Civil Engineering (CE)||Civil Engineer|
|Civil Engineering (CE)||Geotechnical Engineer|
|Civil Engineering (CE)||Civil Engineer, Road / Highway|
|Civil Engineering (CE)||Transportation Engineer|
|Civil Engineering (CE)||Civil Engineer in Training|
|Electrical Engineering (EE)||Instrumentation Engineer|
|Electrical Engineering (EE)||Electrical Engineer|
|Electrical Engineering (EE)||Applications Engineer, Electrical|
|Electrical Engineering (EE)||Electronics Design Engineer|
|Electrical Engineering (EE)||Electrical Design Engineer|
|Industrial Engineering (IE)||Industrial Engineer|
|Materials Science & Engineering||Materials Engineer|
|Materials Science & Engineering||Metallurgical Engineer|
|Mechanical Engineering (ME)||Engineering Consultant|
|Mechanical Engineering (ME)||Engineering Group Manager|
|Mechanical Engineering (ME)||Engineering Team Leader|
|Mechanical Engineering (ME)||Mechanical Engineering Manager|
|Mechanical Engineering (ME)||Research Engineer|
|Mechanical Engineering (ME)||Senior Project Engineer|
|Mechanical Engineering (ME)||Engineering Supervisor|
|Mechanical Engineering (ME)||Energy Engineer|
|Mechanical Engineering (ME)||Research and Development Engineer|
|Mechanical Engineering (ME)||Product Development Engineer|
|Mechanical Engineering (ME)||Mechanical Engineer|
|Mechanical Engineering (ME)||Mechanical Project Engineer|
|Mechanical Engineering (ME)||Project Engineer, Manufacturing|
|Mechanical Engineering (ME)||HVAC Mechanical Engineer|
|Mechanical Engineering (ME)||Product Design Engineer|
|Mechanical Engineering (ME)||Mechanical Design Engineer|
|Mining Engineering||Mining Engineer|
|Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering||Naval Architect|
|Nuclear Engineering||Nuclear Engineer|
|Petroleum Engineering||Petroleum Engineer|
Understand the what makes people successful in your field
To get a hired you need to understand what makes people successful. Take time to research what is expected of you in your field.
Learn what a chemical engineer does
Learn what an electrical engineer does
Know what a mechanical engineer does
Consider rotation programs
Engineering leadership or rotational development programs for new graduates are an excellent opportunity to get professional training on the job. These programs often expose you to new and geographic locations.
Get the right skills
According to engineering.com, these are the top skills employers will evaluate you on:
- Technical Skills
- Communication Skills
- Interpersonal Skills
- Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
- Enthusiasm, Commitment and Motivation
Learn how to build these skills while you are in school:
- What are you doing during your academic experience to improve these skills?
- How are you showing employers that you are a motivated problem solver?
- What are you doing in school to improve your communication skills?
- How are showing employers your interpersonal skills?
Differentiate yourself: Improve your soft skills
Engineering jobs are incredibly competitive. Stand out by improving your soft skills. Your ability to communicate, write, and show your curiosity are just as important as your technical skills. While in school present to groups, write about your experience, and get experience outside the classroom working with others. These actions will improve your soft skills.
Find engineering companies that hire international students
Don’t waste time applying to companies that don’t sponsor international students.
Below are a few companies sponsoring H1B for engineering roles.
- Siemens Energy
- Altair Product Design
- Parsons Brinkerhoff
- California Department of Transportation
- DPR Construction
- General Motors
- Texas Instruments
- KLA Tencor
- Flour Entreprises
- Phillips 66
Finally: Do more than submit a resume
If you’re preparing for a role at a place like Space X you need to do more than just have a resume and wait. Here’s what one student did to get his internship at Space X:
During some self-reflection in grad school, I realized that my resume was weak in applied control theory. So I built a quadcopter from scratch, programmed an Arduino with a controller, tested the system, and flew it. It didn’t fly very gracefully, but it cemented classroom concepts in reality. From a hiring perspective, it also showed that I was willing to seek out knowledge in areas I knew needed work. This is an absolute requirement to work at SpaceX (or anywhere IMO).
Read more about how he got his engineering internship at Space X here.
No matter where you are applying for an internship or job, you need some experience.
BONUS VIDEO: How to get a job at Tesla
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