To differentiate yourself in your internship and job search you must be an exceptional candidate. You must research the role, gain skills beyond your technical skills, and get creative in your search.
Here’s how.

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

Major Job Title
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:

  1. Technical Skills
  2. Communication Skills
  3. Interpersonal Skills
  4. Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
  5. 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.

Mechanical Engineers

  • Tesla
  • Catepillar
  • Apple
  • Siemens Energy
  • Altair Product Design

Civil Engineers

  • Parsons Brinkerhoff
  • California Department of Transportation
  • DPR Construction
  • Bechtel
  • KBR

Industrial Engineers

  • Apple
  • Medtronic
  • Sandisk
  • Intel
  • Honeywell

Electrical Engineers

  • Tesla
  • Tmobile
  • General Motors
  • Texas Instruments
  • KLA Tencor

Chemical Engineers

  • MIT
  • Exxon
  • KBR
  • Flour Entreprises
  • Phillips 66

Learn how to research companies that sponsor or save time and get the list of companies that hire international students in the course: Top 250 Companies that Offer H-1B.

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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