Category: Careers

Getting the Most Out of Your Engineering Internship

Grace Mulleavey's Intern Testimonial

Internships are a great opportunity to network with professionals in your industry, build skills for your resume and also learn more about yourself and what you want from your professional career.

About 75% of college students complete an internship before graduation — a number that is rising due to the increasing evidence that internships are the most foolproof way to secure full time employment after graduation. Internships are competitive and if you want to be remembered you need to do more than just show up and do the minimum of what’s being asked of you. If you want to stand out and increase the likelihood of turning your internship into an opportunity for full time employment keep the following in mind.

Be Punctual and Prepared: Think of your internship as an audition for the big play or a tryout for the varsity soccer team. You need to be on your “A” game from start to finish. This means showing up on time, well rested, dressed appropriately and prepared with all the materials you need to do what is expected of you. As an intern you are a guest of the company, do not make them regret welcoming you into their space. Prove yourself to be a reliable colleague and a valuable addition to the workplace by meeting your deadlines and coming prepared for anything.

Pursue Excellence: Most likely your internship will come along with a variety of tasks, some that interest you and others that do not. The point is to approach each project with the same enthusiasm as the project that excites you the most. Even if a job seems easy, stay determined and do your best work. Everybody works differently and sometimes it takes a while for an employer to adjust to the time and efficiency of your work. If you find yourself finishing your work with extra time to spare do not just sit at your desk and surf the internet until the next task comes along. Be proactive, having extra time is the perfect opportunity to stand out and set yourself apart from other interns. Volunteer to do a project others don’t want or start working on something that needs to get done, but nobody has specifically asked you to do. By taking initiative and doing the unexpected, you will definitely give your employer something to remember.

Be Independent: An internship is a learning experience, and just like taking a college course, it is highly unlikely you will coast through it without having questions and understanding how everything should be done. The difference, however, is that in a college class it is the teacher’s job to help you; during an internship it is your job to help your employer. Unlike in school, in the professional world there is such thing as a stupid question. If a question arises, do not run straight to your boss and ask the answer. Be resourceful. Most of the time the answer you are looking for can be found through internal company resources or answered by a fellow intern. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should not ask any questions. After all, your internship is an opportunity for you to learn and grow professionally. However, the questions you should ask should be well thought out, insightful and bring something new to the table that maybe your employer hadn’t thought of before. Thoughtful questions are always appreciated and will even set you apart from the competition. Just be careful not to be the intern who wastes valuable time asking for answers that you could have come to on your own.

Build Relationships: When it comes to internships, networking is just as important as your official job responsibilities. Although it’s tempting and less frightening to only socialize with other interns, they won’t be any help come graduation time when you are frantically looking for a job. It can be intimidating but do your best to form strong relationships throughout your organization. Having mentors during your internship will not only help you to complete your job responsibilities effectively, but will also enhance your own personal growth. Establishing a meaningful relationship takes time and effort, and will not happen overnight. However, taking a network of contacts away from an internship will be extremely valuable to you not just after graduation, but for the entirety of your professional career.

Document the Experience: Take the time to make note of what you are doing throughout your internship. You should try your best to jot down the tasks you completed every day, as well as how you felt about them. What did you do well? What did you struggle with? What excited you? What didn’t you enjoy? This will be a tremendous help when it’s time to add your internship experience to your resume. You will also learn more about yourself and more specifically, what you are looking for from your professional career in the future.

An internship is the perfect opportunity to start building a professional portfolio. Listing coursework, experiences and strengths on a resume is not going to be enough to convince your future potential employers to hire you. For the most part, they want to see a physical product of your work and proof that you can walk the talk. Take the time to save the work you are proudest of. At the end of your internship, don’t be afraid to ask for letters of recommendation. By asking now as opposed to later when you actually need one, you will be saving yourself from the hardship of having to track down an individual willing to write one.

For most students, an internship serves as an introduction to the professional world, which is far different from the classroom. For that reason, as exciting as they are, internships can be nerve wracking and even overwhelming at times. Like all learning experiences, there will be both ups and downs, and it is important to remember not to let the downs discourage you.

Sometimes things in life do not work out the way you expect them to. You may find, that you end up hating an internship that you thought you would love. Do not give up, at this point in your young career the experience is invaluable to you. Push through it, come prepared, go above and beyond in the work that you do and build lasting relationships. Love an internship or hate an internship, you are still creating experiences and learning more about yourself and what you want to gain from your professional career.

Written by Grace Mulleavey

Get that Dream Job with a Good Resume

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If you type “how to write a resume” into Google you are going to come up with thousands of results with varying and sometimes conflicting advice. That’s because there is no perfect way to write a resume. In fact, many experts recommend you steer clear from resume generating sites or cookie cutter formats all together. Resumes are unique and what you should and should not include varies based on several factors including industry, personal experience, profession and qualifications.

A good resume will get your foot in the door while a bad one may ruin your chances of landing the job from the start. There is no doubt that writing a resume can be a very daunting task and there really is no “right answer” in how you should do it. However, there are generally accepted guidelines that you can trust to help you along the way. We want you to be as successful as possible so before sitting down and updating your resume, take a minute to review these tips:

Spelling & Grammar: Missing typos or using bad grammar is the single easiest way to get your resume thrown out. Despite industry affiliation, most employers demand strong written communication skills in their new hires. To ensure your resume is free of any spelling and grammar mistakes, make sure you review it several times on several different occasions. Sometimes all you need is a pair of fresh eyes to catch a mistake you didn’t see before. In addition, have a friend or family member review it as well; the more people who review your resume, the less likely a simple error will go unnoticed and cost you your shot at landing an interview. For more advice, check out this list of top 5 grammar mistakes people tend to make on their resumes.

One size DOES NOT fit all: Sending out the same resume for every job that you apply for is not going to do you any favors and will most likely hurt your chances in the long run. Every job is different and every employer is looking for something different, so why would you give them all the same resume? You should customize your resume for each job you apply for. Although it may seem tedious and time consuming, you are increasing your chances of grabbing a hiring manager’s attention. If you’re not willing to tailor your resume to the job description, the employer has no reason to think that you are serious about the job opportunity and will not find it worth their while to call you in for an interview. Take your time to be thorough, research the company you are applying to work for, and tailor your resume to the job description. We promise the extra effort will pay off.

The key is in the keywords: With today’s advanced technology, most resumes are screened electronically before landing on an employer’s desk. Large companies in particular use computer technology that will search for keywords, keeping the resumes with them for review by a manager and discarding the rest. With that being said, you could have the best resume in the world but if it lacks the specific keywords the computer is looking for, your application won’t even make it into the hands of your potential employer. Although there is not a specific list of keywords to include on your resume, you can make a pretty good guess as to what they might be by carefully reading and analyzing the job description. For more information on how to identify and utilize key words on a resume click here.

Design for “Skimmability”: Most employers decide within a few seconds whether a resume is worth a full read or not, so you need to make sure yours is clean, consistent and easily readable. You do not want to distract the employer from reading what’s really important (your skills and experiences). Choose a modern classic font and stick with it. Make sure the margins are even and that the layout is navigable. You should avoid writing in paragraphs and instead present all of your information in clear and concise bullet points. A hiring manager is not going to work to find the information they need, so if it doesn’t stand out to them at the very beginning, the higher the chances are that your resume will end up in the reject pile. Sometimes people create flashy resumes that are designed to get the attention of an employer; this might be a good idea if you are pursuing a profession in a creative industry like design, but otherwise it is best to avoid using this tactic because it is risky and could be potentially distracting or unwanted to an employer.

Find a balance: A resume is about marketing yourself to an employer by telling a story about how and why your professional career up until this point has prepared you for the job. Often times people get caught up in trying to squeeze every experience right down to the first job they had in high school onto their resume. Although that job might be important to you, it may no longer be relevant. When it comes to writing a resume, it really is quality over quantity. Be specific and tell the employer your experiences that are both relevant and applicable to your ability to be successful in the position you are applying for. The standard rule of thumb is to keep your resume to a page in length. If you truly have enough relevant and important experience training and credentials, then it is okay to add a second page.

Accomplishments over responsibilities:
When listing your job experiences, it’s easy to get caught up in listing your job duties and responsibilities. An employer does not care so much about what you did while at your past job but instead is interested in what you accomplished. For example, did you drive sales up by 5%? Were you responsible for landing a new client? These are things you should take note of on your resume. A good way to do this is to include as many quantifiable facts and figures on your resume as possible, allowing potential employers to better visualize your capabilities and the positive contributions you’ve made working for past employers.

It’s easy to get caught up in the “do’s” and “don’ts” of resume writing. There is so much out there to consider that it’s easy to get lost in all of the technicalities. Before you go rewrite every line of your resume, we would like to remind you that it’s important you don’t edit your resume so much that it loses personality. At the end of the day, your resume is your introduction to your potential employer. Let them get to know you, but at the same time be honest, be concise and be relevant.

Written by Grace Mulleavey

Girl Day

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In honor of Girl Day, a recognized day of Engineers Week, I had the pleasure of speaking to three Hoyle, Tanner engineers about their careers: Karen J. Frink, P.E.; Audrey G. Beaulac, P.E., CPSWQ; and Jillian A. Semprini, P.E. While Engineers Week is a time to celebrate the industry and engage in topics such as engineering education and awareness, Girl Day is specifically geared toward introducing the industry to females, who tend to be underrepresented in this fascinating and essential field.

Karen, Audrey, and Jillian brought up a lot of interesting topics in the discussion, finding that they had quite a few things in common besides their place of employment. Despite working in different fields of engineering (aviation, bridges, and transportation, respectively), all three women did not always know that engineering was the industry for them.

“I started out as a music major,” explained Karen, “and then took some math classes, and said, ‘Oh, I kinda like this.’” After studying abroad in England, she decided to come back to the United States and pursue a degree in engineering.

While Karen went from music to engineering, Jillian enrolled as undeclared for her first year of college, while Audrey simply followed her passion for math and science until she definitely knew that engineering was where she belonged, around her sophomore/junior year of college.

All three ended up as Hoyle, Tanner engineers, adding their expertise to the firm and to the industry as a whole. Because the number of women in engineering is not particularly high, Girl Day’s purpose is to introduce young girls to the industry and encourage them to learn more about engineering. This can be done in many ways, from engineering firms hosting events to engineers visiting schools as role models for girls to follow, which will hopefully aid in boosting the number of female engineers in the future.

When asked whether they were ever discouraged to enter the field, Karen responded, “I don’t think anybody ever told me I couldn’t do it, but I’m not sure I remember anybody saying ‘Wow, you really can do this.’” Because engineering is not an easy field by any means, requiring extensive knowledge while balancing the responsibility of public safety, young people need the encouragement and confidence to enter the industry. Girl Day contributes to that empowerment, especially since there are so few women in the field.

“I don’t think it’s well represented by women; I think they’re discouraged by it…they don’t get the mentoring they need,” explained Karen when asked about the lack of women in engineering. Both Audrey and Jillian explained that engineering was not very prominent at their high schools either, with Jillian saying, “Going through high school, I had no idea engineering was really even an option.” She was one of three females in her graduating engineering class of 2007.

Fortunately, Girl Day will encourage girls to study engineering, but it will also help increase the success of engineering projects due to the diversity of minds at work. Karen touched upon the benefits of both men and women collaborating in the industry, explaining how the multi-tasking talents of women complement the more one-task-at-a-time nature of some of the males.

Not only does the field of engineering benefit from these diverse minds, but it also benefits from diverse skillsets. While engineering is frequently labelled as a strictly STEM field, all three women agree that a creative skill set comes in handy as well. Audrey explained that with engineering, “There’s general guidelines to follow, but not every project is the same.” She credits thinking outside the box in order to ensure all projects meet the standard criteria.

Engineering may foster a sense of creativity as well as math and science, but unfortunately, it does not receive the public promotion that it deserves, as Karen pointed out: “Even to men, it’s not well-promoted….we’re gonna run out of engineers at some point, because nobody’s majoring in it anymore.” Although I am not an engineer, I even recall that the field was not heavily promoted when I was in school. I can remember various courses and academic clubs on topics such as law and healthcare, but not so much engineering. Hopefully, Engineers Week will boost the confidence of both men and women and draw attention to the importance of skilled engineers in today’s society.

When asked what advice she would give to young people, particularly girls, wishing to enter the field of engineering, Audrey responded, “Just don’t let anyone tell you can’t. If you’re truly interested in it, just go for it.” Hopefully, more people will take Audrey’s advice and contribute their skills to the future of engineering.

Written by Abigael Donahue

Getting the Most out of Your First Entry-Level Position

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Entry-level positions are more important than one may think. They are a chance to get a feel for the work world, establish some independence, and put your best skills to work. The thought of beginning a career is exciting, yet a bit daunting for some people, especially since you do not know what to expect. Although I never initially considered working at an engineering firm, landing my first job at Hoyle, Tanner has been the greatest career gift I could have received. Only six weeks have gone by since I started at Hoyle, Tanner, but I have already learned so much about marketing (and even a bit about engineering) and appreciating the value of an entry-level job.

Before being offered a position at Hoyle, Tanner, there were general rules I had to remember when searching for my first job. Keeping an open mind was extremely important during the job-searching process, especially for someone like me, a college graduate with little experience. I never dreamed of working at an engineering firm, especially as an English major. The thought never even crossed my mind. Marketing did interest me, but I was unaware that it could accompany engineering. Turns out, not only do marketing and engineering work well together, but they also need each other in order to accomplish project goals. Applying to anything and everything was crucial. It was important for me to not hold any judgements or preconceived notions about a particular job or industry.

Taking a step out of my comfort zone was also necessary. Finding a first job is daunting enough, especially with meeting new people, adapting to an unfamiliar office culture, navigating through a new area, and learning a job that may seem impossible to grasp at first. However, the only way to learn is by doing things that appear scary and out of reach. I decided to embrace my inexperience and to learn as much as I can from all different people. Also, I am grateful that I looked into all industries, even the ones that I never thought would have a place for me. There are so many jobs that people do not know exist, and you can tailor your skills to more positions than you think possible.

Despite the initial challenges of an entry-level positon, first jobs upon graduation are extremely valuable in setting the foundation for a successful career. Especially for individuals with a versatile college major, a wide set of interests, or uncertainty with their career path, an entry-level positon gives you the chance to try out a new industry and learn as much as you can. As I learned at Hoyle, Tanner, education and curiosity do not end after graduation.

New jobs and experiences are beneficial no matter the company, but Hoyle, Tanner definitely has a lot to offer to young professionals looking to build a career. First of all, the Manchester, New Hampshire headquarters are a bit on the smaller side, especially the marketing department. A small-scale company is extremely beneficial to recent graduates and to individuals new to the career world. First of all, you can never say, “That’s not part of my job.” In a smaller department, everyone does everything. This may be a bit intimidating to an individual who is unfamiliar with the company and with the job, but you learn how to do a variety of different tasks. For example, when building proposals, I learned how to use the computer applications, perform edits, communicate and work with a variety of people, and help in the printing, binding, and shipping process. From beginning to end, I am involved in almost all aspects of the process, not just a small piece of it.

At Hoyle, Tanner, I also have the opportunity to learn about engineering, an industry I had very little experience in upon graduation. I have the privilege of working with highly-skilled engineers, getting a taste of what the industry is about and the important impact it makes on everyday life. I never studied engineering before, but I now have the opportunity to work with engineering information and promote Hoyle, Tanner services. At the entry-level, Hoyle, Tanner exposes me to all areas of the company, helping me learn new things that I otherwise would never have discovered before.

Lastly, building relationships with the people I work with at Hoyle, Tanner comes naturally due to the essence of the environment. I must work directly with people, so therefore I get to know them better than if I rarely met with them face-to-face. On an average day, I work with people in marketing, in various engineering departments, and in printing. We respect each other as people, but also as coworkers because each person is absolutely essential in reaching our shared project goal, such as a printed proposal marketing the engineering expertise at Hoyle, Tanner.

For an individual out of college with little to no formal work experience, Hoyle, Tanner has plenty to offer in the way of multi-tasking, learning how to perform new job duties, communicating with a diverse group of people, and laying down a strong foundation to build a prosperous career on. Not only am I in a field that interests me, but I also experience new things every day that help me learn and grow as a young professional. Hopefully, I can help Hoyle, Tanner grow and continue to succeed, just like the company does for me.

Written by Abigael Donahue

The Value of an Internship

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Navigating through college can be a tough endeavor for a lot of people. There is only so much that high school can do to prepare a student for what they can expect from college life and even less where career preparation is concerned. Luckily, in every college, exists the opportunity to gain real world experience and knowledge in whatever academic field a student chooses and often these opportunities can, when approached with the right attitude and with the right timing, lead to a potential career after college. I am talking of course about internships; often stereotyped as a position involving coffee runs, slave labor, underappreciated efforts and a general sense of hopelessness that the experience will lead to nothing but a few credits and a lot of wasted time. Fortunately for the most part, these stereotypes are nothing more than exaggerated tales from a few bad experiences and these days more and more students are realizing the importance of an internship, paid or unpaid in their respective field.

The benefit of an internship in the field of engineering is exceptional in what can be gained from it for the both the intern and the firm alike. Participating in an engineering internship allows the student to fully immerse themselves into their chosen career with real world applications through hands on projects that they may or may not be exposed to in their classes, as well as allowing them to explore other disciplines they may have never knew they were interested in. The firm on the other hand can not only gain additional manpower for arduous projects, but can benefit from a fresh mind with new ideas that is likely eager to learn and put classroom theories into practice.

We at Hoyle, Tanner believe in the value of an internship and what the experience can provide young and aspiring engineers. We regularly take on interns for summer positions as they near the end of their college career in an effort to prepare them for a long and successful career in civil engineering.

Hoyle, Tanner currently has two interns working in our Manchester headquarters this summer. Katelyn Welch, who is working with our bridge group and Amy Johnson, who is working with our environmental group. I recently talked with both of them to get a better understanding of what they feel are the benefits of an internship in the engineering field, and what I found out was that engineering students who seek out an internship have more than a few things in common; the main aspect being that they want to be challenged. The challenge seems to be the driving force behind the decision to pursue major in engineering in the first place as those in the field tend to have a curiosity in new ways to approach a problem as well as a desire for growth and continual education.

The value of the internship really shines through when they are given the opportunity to work in the field and experience what the job is really like. Both Katelyn and Amy noted that the work they have done so far has exceeded their expectations. Since engineering is very much a team effort, they have both been given the opportunity to collaborate with our full time staff on a wide variety of projects and have been fully involved throughout the process. Aside from their direct involvement with Hoyle, Tanner projects, both Katelyn and Amy are gaining insight into a lot of aspects of engineering in the real world that will surely give them a leg up in the future, such as countless terms, procedures, tasks and calculations that they feel they wouldn’t learn otherwise as well as gaining a better understanding of their chosen major/field is the right fit for them.

The other value they feel an internship provides is the anticipated ease of transition that comes when they enter the workforce after college. This much should be obviously evident, however, so many college graduates find out that they are either underqualified and need to take an entry level position at low pay when they need to actually make a paycheck, or that they are severely underprepared for what lies ahead of them. While many colleges have opted to make an internship mandatory to graduate, this is not always the case. With internships typically paying little to no money, many of them forego the opportunity to take on a low paying internship that would provide real world experience for a full time job on top of being a full time student. What we find with this recurring trend is a growing number of students who are graduating with little to no experience in their chosen field and without the connections that an internship provides, they are often left to fend for themselves in a sea of jobs with increasing standards and expectations for incoming applicants for entry level positions.

Fortunately, with this realization, many internships are either offering some form of pay or those who can’t afford to pay are working with local colleges to offer substantial credits towards the degree and in turn, more and more students are willing to take on an internship and more of these opportunities are leading to full time careers for the student at that company after graduation or it could lead to networking opportunities for those students that they may have not had before.

It is clear that the field of engineering is one that requires real immersion and involvement to really understand what to expect and can’t be mastered through books and classes alone. Internships like the ones we offer here at Hoyle, Tanner provide students with the real world knowledge and experience that is necessary to a successful career in the civil engineering world. If you are interested in an internship with Hoyle, Tanner visit our careers page or contact our Human Resources Department.