Rewriting my Resume

Well the last two weeks have been a whirlwind. Between finishing my first summer class, starting my second and helping America blow out her birthday candles I barely know what day it is anymore. I spent four days at my family’s cabin up north over the Fourth and (gasp!) skipped the first (and probably last) class of my engineering student career to hang out with the family on Friday rather than making a four hour round trip down state and back up to attend my class on the fifth. My family was regaled for several hours with the details of my class-skipping anxiety, but I think they pulled through it okay and were happy to have me along for the boating, floating, sunning and beer-drinking fun.

What I was doing instead of going to my class on Friday.

What I was doing instead of going to my class on Friday.

...but not until after this. Yes. Me doing homework on vacation. *Sad trombone*

…but not before this. Yes. It’s me doing homework on vacation. *sad trombone*

I’ve spent an ample amount of time lately thinking about my plans for the future. I want to write all about it, but I need to get things a bit more ironed out first. One aspect I can talk about is my search for a local internship next summer. I’ve been chewing on the decision between a local vs. long distance internship for some time. I’d like to be able to go wherever my heart desires and my interests lead and just eat the cost of paying rent in two locations for four months. And that remained a real possibility until recently. As it stands now, however, I will probably have to take a class on campus for the first half of next summer and will need to find a position close enough to travel to and from campus in the middle of the work day.

I haven’t entirely decided how I feel about this. Part of me is disappointed that I won’t be able explore a new city or take a job at a big-name company that will look impressive on my resume. On the other hand, there are no guarantees that an internship at a big-name company will provide me with a better experience or a higher level of hands-on learning than a small local engineering firm. In fact, being at a smaller company may afford me a more hands-on experience and a better understanding of the day-to-day workings of the company. In the end, a recognizable company is probably less valuable on a resume than a solid list of skills and competencies gained from a diverse experience, wherever that may be.

Looks good on a resume?

Looks good on a resume?

I’m nervous and excited to get out and see what engineers actually do all day. Engineering is one of those strange fields in which it’s very difficult to understand the day-to-day work until you actually begin the job. My dad was a chemical engineer for my entire childhood and I never had any idea what he did all day. He took me on a plant tour a few years ago before he retired so I could get a little peek into the world of engineering. It was very interesting, but still didn’t offer a complete day-in-the-life experience.

So this internship is kind of the moment of truth. Will I love it? Will I hate it? There are so many different types of engineering jobs that it’s hard to know from one experience whether or not it’s a good fit. I’ve talked to many people about how different their experiences have been at different types of companies, different sized companies, companies with different specialties. I think the most important piece will be not whether or not I “like engineering,” but rather finding a place within the huge world of engineering that I enjoy.

Will I find my place in a local engineering firm next summer? Maybe. I hope the experience is positive. At the very least, I hope I’ll start to learn what I do best and where I need to improve. I’m most excited about finally having something to fill that blank expanse on my resume no longer occupied by the details of my ten years of graphic design experience. Then maybe when LinkedIn sends me an email listing companies that are “looking for people like me,” it will contain some engineering firms instead of all these graphic design studios.

My weekly jobs email from LinkedIn. Not quite where I'm headed.

My weekly jobs email from LinkedIn. Not quite where I’m headed.

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6 thoughts on “Rewriting my Resume

  1. Hi Stephanie, Matt’s internship at Ford gave him some great experience, insight and thankfully, money! 🙂 Now employed in his big boy job as a Mechanical engineer at Temple Steel, he has been loving the small, family-run company and the fact that he is able to have personal interactions with the CEO and President, design and create machinery for the factory that aids in safety and increases ease of production, and build relationships with the workers as well as the white-collars. He has friends who are employed by large corporations who feel like a cog in a wheel, and spend 10-12 hours on the job with little satisfaction. This entry-level job has given him great encouragement and accolades, while also giving him the ability to focus on his other job, that of being a new husband. We wish you all the best in your pursuit, and continue to blog your thoughts…it’s wonderful to get to know you in this way!

    • Thanks so much for the insight! I have heard similar things from others. I think working for too large a company would make it difficult to see the results of your work. I think a smaller company or a smaller team might be more enjoyable. I’d like a greater opportunity to learn and build my skills and a smaller company may be the best choice for that.

  2. Just don’t rule out an internship at a well known company if the position sounds like the most interesting/challenging opportunity and it isn’t local. It’s worth taking a chance on a position you might love and is in a new place vs settling for a job that you only like, but is local.

    Also, as one of the victims of your “plight of the perfect attendee” discussions, I’m so glad we swayed you.

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