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Thinking about a career in civil engineering? Our top tips for students

Student considering a career in civil engineering

Thinking about a career in civil engineering after university, but not sure where to start? Have a read of our top tips:

1. You don’t need to study engineering to make it a career

Are you a geography student with a passion or interest in flood risk prevention? Or do you have a mathematics degree with an interest in structures and problem-solving? Put simply, you don’t need to study civil engineering to have a future career in infrastructure. Some universities also offer conversion courses for non-civil or structural engineering students too.

2. Make use of networking events at university

Try to attend as many networking events facilitated by your university as possible. Whether it’s a careers fair, or a talk with a guest speaker, they are a great way to find out more about the industry you’re interested in. The university will have connections with various employers, so events are a perfect opportunity to get your name out there.

3. Join student memberships for free

All of the major civil engineering institutions have memberships for students which, usually, are completely free to join. These memberships give you access to all kinds of resources including careers advice, industry insights, publications and CPD events. They can also help to build your network, making you stand out from the crowd when you finish university. Here are a few we’d recommend:

4. Look into summer placements

Even if your university course doesn’t facilitate a summer placement or ‘year in industry’, try to get yourself a summer placement to gain some real hands-on experience. You can try to utilise any connections the university has or reach out to local employers for opportunities.

5. It’s never too early to start you CPD records

CPD (Continuing Professional Development) is a way to record any extra activities outside of your studies to develop and enhance your skills. This could be anything from evening events and talks, online learning, and even volunteering as a student ambassador. If you are a student member of a professional institution, they can provide a CPD template to record your activities. This is also a great way to boost your CV.

6. It’s also never too early to start applying for jobs

Many students wait until they have finished (or almost finished) their degree to apply for jobs. Your final year of university will go by in a flash, so there’s no harm in looking to see what is out there and get ahead before everyone starts applying in your final term. It’s also a great way to practice the job application process, gather some feedback and make yourself known to employers.

7. Consider a secondment model to gain experience

Secondment models are great for graduates and people who are in the early stages of their career. You get the freedom to move around and gain valuable experience in different roles and companies without having to change employer.

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