How do I get back to engineering?

Hi,
I graduated from Mechanical Engineering in 2000. I was married and gave birth to my only child a few month later. I decided to be a stay at home mom after I gave birth. I did part time sales job from home meanwhile which developed to a full-time until this moment.

How do I get back to engineering? Every company out there asks for engineering experience. I am sending resumes, but I am not having luck even as en engineering technician. No company is calling me for an interview. I scarified my engineering career to raise a child, but my child is making fun that I never worked as an engineer :(

Can you give recommendations?
posted by JeanAnn on August 5, 2014

Answer 1 by Jamie Krakover

It's possible that your lack of experience is coming into play here, but it might also be how you are wording your resume and what information you have one it.

Some general resume tips:
1.) Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for. Make sure you list all the skills you have that are directly applicable to the position.

2.) Use their language from the job posting. If they call something structural engineering and you say strength, you may get kicked out of a keyword search because the person weeding through the hundreds of resumes didn't think to look for that additional word. So stick with the wording they use.

3.) Use power words. Led, managed, organized etc. Don't just say you participated in something. If you were the main person working a task then you led it. Take ownership of that.

4.) Include leadership positions in organizations as well as other relevant opportunities/jobs/projects/research etc. you have had. Anything that can help set you apart for other candidates is always helpful. If you held an officer position in an organization, were a TA, or even special projects you worked on will all help build your case as a qualified applicant that will stand out from the pack.

In terms of other things you can do to help you case, check out your local Society of Women Engineers section. Get involved with people working as engineers and maybe one of them can put in a good word for you at their company.

Also each discipline of engineering has organizations, so it wouldn't hurt to network with the organization that aligns with the kind of engineering job you are trying to get. Networking is key in engineering.

But bottom line, you don't have to work as an engineer to be one. If you have a degree in engineering you're an engineer. You did the work to get the degree, so be proud and own it! Then take that ownership to your resume.

Best of luck on your job hunt!

Answer 2 by Ruth Gay

I hope you found a position by now but I thought I'd add...
I agree with finding local associations in your field such as ASHRAE, SWE, WAI and start attending meetings to get to know people in your field. Many do not require you to be a member to attend meetings. If your college is local, attend the career fair. Personal connections go a lot farther than impersonal internet resume submissions. If you are not on linkedin yet, create a profile as there are many recruiters on the site and job postings. You could even start a blog related to your professional interests or sign up for training or a class where you might meet people and brush up on skills.
I'm a mom of 3 kids plus a step while I work fulltime - it's doable! Remember, the first job you have might not be your final/long term job but it can get you in a position to start building your network and get experience. Also consider whether you may need to relocate if you live in an area that there are not very many opportunities in your field.