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Engineering Career Services focuses on students’ career goals

Meredith Shaw, assistant director of Engineering Career Services (ECS), goes over senior chemical engineering student Pete Cosgrove's résumé with him. Résumé review is just one of the ways ECS aids students on their career quests

Career fairs like the one Engineering Career Services (ECS) sponsored in February at the University of Missouri’s Hearnes Center, are just one of the ways ECS helps students successfully connect with future employers. Fully 78 companies paid for the chance to talk with the 600 engineering students — and the handful of alumni looking to make new connections — who attended the recent event.

Hard economic times means some larger engineering firms are downsizing, but, Meredith Shaw, assistant director of career services, said that there are numerous smaller companies that are just taking off. “There is plenty of work,” she said.  “And with the stimulus package’s focus on infrastructure and energy, engineers are in a very good position.”

Ongoing student services offered by ECS include mock interviews and review and feedback on student résumés’. On the day leading up to the career fair, recruiters from Cerner, MoDOT, Honeywell, Ameren, Sega and FM Global participated in ECS’s “Mad Dash Résumé Review.” Fully 100 students lined up outside the ECS office for two sessions, at which the engineering professionals critique their efforts.

“We never dreamed we’d have that many students,” said Shaw. “Engineering companies are interested in helping students get to the next level. They see it as an investment.”

A Corporate Partners Program was implemented by ECS last year. Partnerships are a way for firms to support students in the form of scholarships and collaborations in areas such as student capstone projects. At the same time, companies raise their visibility within the college and also increase their access to Mizzou Engineering’s talented future engineers.

In the weeks leading up to the career fair, ECS sponsored or co-sponsored a variety of sessions aimed at bolstering engineering students’ comfort levels as they interact with potential employers. Communications professionals gave tips on making small talk and projecting confidence, and a recruitment professional spoke on negotiating salary and benefits with potential employers. An etiquette dinner allowed students to practice talking business in a restaurant so when the time comes, they can concentrate on the conversation and not agonize over being in an unfamiliar situation.

“Our commitment is to our students. We exist to help them find the right job, and we will do whatever we can to facilitate their search,” said Shaw.

Much of the business of recruiting is done through MU’s HireMizzouTigers.com website. Students can post résumés, search for jobs and sign up for on-campus interviews that are facilitated by ECS. Potential employers can use the website to post job openings and internship opportunities and view student materials, as well as keeping abreast of career fairs and other ECS events.

Those interested in more information about ECS, located off of the portrait gallery hallway on the first floor of Lafferr Hall, may visit their website at http://engineering.missouri.edu/careers/, or call the office at 573-882-4487.