There are millions of field engineers all over the world working at this exact moment in time. They are in different countries, in different industries, working on a permanent, contract or freelance/self employed basis. Despite the differences they have a lot in common especially when:
They are laid off, made redundant, or fired, – either fairly or unfairly.
Their contract ends unexpectedly or is not renewed.
The job has changed so much that it is no longer the job they signed up to (a type of constructive dismissal).
Their personal circumstances have changed to make carrying out the job difficult or impossible, and there is no flexibility within the organisation to work in a different way.
What then are the steps needed to find a new role and to handle the emotional side of the process as well as keeping stress to a minimum?
Requaero specialises in engineering sector recruitment.
Tim has shared his advice based on nearly twenty five years of recruiting in the engineering and technology sector, mainly in semiconductor, electronics, and mechanical engineering.
First things first why did you lose your job?
If you were fired and it was your fault use the time to reflect on why you were fired.
Before you start applying for any other jobs, think long and hard about your behaviour, your lack of professionalism, and the reasons why your actions led to you being fired.
If your behaviour was due to mental health, physical health, or addiction issues seek professional advice. These challenges are beyond the scope of our community.
If you were fired and it was partially your fault: for example, your boss was hard to work for, and you overreacted to something they said. Then in that case, take time to consider how you could react differently in the future. Listen to some podcasts/watch videos or read books about how you could behave more effectively in the future. The classic “How to win friends and influence people” is still a best seller and is worth reading.
If you lost your job through no fault of your own, remind yourself that it isn’t your fault. There are many reasons for a job to end. Don’t lose confidence or undervalue yourself. Think back to the successes you have had and make a list. Remember the people who have hired you in the past.
Take a few days to think and relax before you start your hunt. Use this time to exercise, socialise, sort out personal projects. It’s a good idea to plan for how you are going to deal with things emotionally.
Make sure that you have left your former company on good terms (or if this is not possible, on the best terms possible). Can you write letters of thanks to anyone? Who do you want to stay in touch with? Who will give you a reference within the organisation?
Finding a job fast
If you need to find a job fast you are most likely to find something where you will be doing what you do now, and that does not require you to relocate.
The first step is to research the jobs and the companies that offer jobs that match your skills.
Start searching local job boards, national job boards, and searching LinkedIn.
Once you find some jobs that you know you can do, research the company and their people on LinkedIn. (A LinkedIn job seeker account is well worth the money).
By researching the company, you are applying for, and finding out more about what they do, and the tools they use; you can tailor your CV/Resume to highlight the relevant experience you have. The more experienced you are the more tools and skills you will have. You may be tempted to leave skills off your CV/Resume, but that skill could be just the one the company is looking for. By doing your research you can make sure to include the key words that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
Relocating and changing sectors
Applying for a job in a sector you have not worked in before can be a challenge, but many skills are transferable. So if you are keen to change sector this could be a great opportunity to try something new.
If you are keen to move to a different country, or different region, this could be a good opportunity for you to try for this dream.
If you need to find a job fast, applying for a job that will require a work permit will not be a speedy process. It is best to secure a new job in your current location, then look at relocation over the longer term.
Try and avoid changing sectors and location in one go.
Employers seek to minimise risk. If you want to get a job in another country, it is unlikely that a new employer will risk both relocating you and also taking the risk of you doing a job you have not done before. Changing sectors and location is hard to do in one go – but not impossible.
You are more likely to succeed by staying in your current location and applying for the job of your dreams. Then once you have the skills in that job, applying for the country or region of your dreams.
Or applying for a job in the country of your dreams with your current skillset, and then seeking to transfer to the sector or job that interests you more, once you are in the new country.
Before applying clean up your social media
Before you send out your first application make sure your social media is not a horror show!
This is the first thing to do as job offers have been lost because of social media photos or posts. The time taken to clean up your social media presence will be very worthwhile. As you do it, ask yourself the question:
“Is this the image I want a hiring manager to see?”
Then turn your attention to your business social media.
There probably aren’t any embarrassing photos but check anyway. Then make sure your profile is completely up to date, accurate, with no mistakes and has recent activity. Are the photos you are using giving the impression you want to give?
Then take some time and doublecheck that any business social media matches your CV in terms of dates and company names.
If you use LinkedIn check that you have:
two photos for your profile – one could be industry based or just a background
membership to groups
comments on industry relevant posts
shared posts that are topical and/or industry/job relevant. Avoid posts that would harm your job search.
Then it is time to make a plan of campaign plus a schedule of when you are going to review it to see how you are progressing.
As you plan, ask yourself these questions:
What does a hiring manager, HR manager or recruiter want to see from me?
Am I presenting myself in a way that will attract a hiring manager, HR manager or recruiter?
Is there anything which will stop me being considered for a role?
Next, decide exactly what you are going to apply for. If you are going to apply for different types of roles, for example field-based roles as well as manager roles, make a strategy for each path.
Which of your skills are transferable? Do these transferable skills mean that you can apply for different roles and in different industries? Could you move into an office based or sales/more customer facing role, and is this something which would interest you?
If you need to find a job quickly, then it is probably wise to focus your effort on what you know best.
At the beginning of each day, structure your day and plan your time. Make sure that you factor in different activities related to your job hunt as well as breaks. At the end of each day, draft a plan for the next day.
Look at your current network and reactivate it, expand it, and then create new networks.
Think about using:
Specialist online groups like The Field Engineer community.
After that spend some time researching tradeshows, industry conferences and events put on by professional associations. If you can’t attend, what is available online?
When anyone within any of your networks helps you, remember to thank them. If someone has been particularly helpful, then update them with your progress.
The next step is to write your CV/Resume and use it as a master document. It will probably take many drafts and changes but the document you produce is going to act as a door opener so worth all the effort.
Then for each application, or type of application, tailor the CV/Resume so that it accurately reflects your experience aligned to the role you are applying for.
Tailor the CV/Resume not just in terms of language and what is included but also in how you are ranking things like skills.
Hobbies are attractive to some hiring managers but not to others, so have one version with hobbies and interests and one without.
Along with your list of who you have applied to, list which version of your CV has been sent to which company.
Lastly, can you add additional material for example:
You may not include these with all applications or with your CV/Resume but have them ready to send as and when needed or requested.
You will also need an up-to-date profile for social media and trade organisations. Handle this in the same way as you did your CV/Resume: write one and then keep that as the master and tailor it. However, as you tailor, make sure that the overall content and dates match.
ATS (Applicant tracking system)
A lot of companies use an ATS that filters applications to reduce the number of applications to review. This is a hurdle to get through so that your CV/Resume is read by a human. These are the key things to consider:
Include key words even if they are obvious to you.
However, don’t repeat the keywords too often as it may make the software reject you. Even if the software doesn’t reject you, once a human reads your CV/Resume it may sound odd.
Any acronyms need to have the full spelling in brackets.
Be careful about USA and UK word alternatives and use both to be on the safe side. For example: CV/Resume.
Writing a CV to be read by ATS software
Assume that your CV/Resume is going to be read by ATS software and so follow these guidelines.
Fonts: use standard fonts such as Times New Roman, Arial or Courier
Additional features: don’t use images, colours or shading.
Format: have headings, dates, titles etc. on their own line.
Headings: use commonly used headings such as experience, skills, education, qualifications, etc.
Document type: If you use PDF make sure that the security settings allow page extraction and copying, otherwise the ATS cannot extract your data. Word or Rich Text Format can be easier for recruiters and ATS to handle rather than PDF.
Following up on an application
It is wise to always follow up even if you don’t have direct contact details.
If you get standard feedback, then reply and say thank you and then ask for detail.
If you have been asked for more feedback, then give detail and make sure it is presented as well as your CV/Resume.
You should already have researched the company before you made the application. Now is the time to dig deeper into the company as well as its history, values, mission and goals. Research into the company can also help you identify how your own skillset will fit within it, maybe other departments or teams in the company are also recruiting , and you could apply to them too.
Then make sure you are word perfect on the content of your CV/Resume. Nobody will expect you to remember exact dates, but they will expect you to remember skills and experience.
Practice typical interview questions. Make a list of them and then practice them aloud. You don’t want to sound like a robot, but you also don’t want to hesitate too much.
Know the names of anyone you will be speaking to and make sure you know how to pronounce them correctly (If you are still unsure, ask the interviewer how you should pronounce their name).
Filling the gap
While you wait for a new role, can you consider:
Working on a contract basis.
Doing something technical but less skilled on a part time basis.
Taking an online course – there are a lot now that are free.
“Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”
Success comes from effort, preparation, follow up and repetition. Success comes from having a toolkit of techniques, strategies, and methods. Don’t just apply for advertised roles, but also network, look at industries where your skills may be transferable.
Keep going even when you are receiving ‘no thank you’ emails or no replies at all. Everyone looking for a new role is up against numbers. Think of it like a funnel. You need to put so many applications or enquiries into the top of the tunnel. This will then result in so many interviews, which will lead to at least one job offer.
Never show anger or frustration even if you think that a standard one-line email saying ‘no thank you’ is insufficient.
Analysis of rejections is worth doing but only if the reason for the rejection is within your control. So, for example, if the feedback said that they wanted more experience of a certain skill; can you do a course, or should you be applying for slightly different roles.
If you are rejected because you don’t have a work permit, then that is out of your control. What is in your control, is to keep going, to research which companies do offer work permits, to apply in different countries who have shortages of certain skills, but this is not fast.
Finally employers prefer to hire people who are already in a job. Getting even a temporary job, , will give you the confidence of having some money coming in, and also show the employer that you have grit.
If you are lucky enough to work in a country where you have received a good redundancy pay off, then you can be more strategic. But hopefully some of the tips we have given to find a new job fast! will be useful to you too.