Chris Schleich | Engineering Manager |LinkedIn
Enterprise Automation will be attending the Triton Winter Career Fair on January 16th, 2019. Learn how to make yourself stand out and successfully network at job fairs from the company recruiter himself, Chris Schleich!
Do you have any advice for first or second-year students?
- Keep/get your GPA above 3.0 at least. While GPA won’t matter much later in your career, it will make your first job search easier. With really high GPAs 3.5+ more doors will open. Your GPA does not define you, but give yourself the best odds because job searching is hard. Companies meet hundreds sometimes thousands of candidates and have to sort somehow.
- Get in study groups. This is the best learning and networking tool period. Many engineers are introverted and avoid joining or starting a group. You will learn from each other, finish your homework faster, and get much better at the material and teamwork. Some people even end up with jobs in the future from those relationships.
- Hustle for internships. You will hear “No” a lot, keep after it.
- Go to the career fairs and talk to people leading up to your senior year. Practice. You can’t eliminate nervous feelings, but you can learn to manage them. Be yourself, be curious, be confident, don’t expect anything, but do ask. You are talking to people who were in your shoes once, they understand this. Create a standard list of 3 questions to ask to make starting a conversation easier. Some students behave and interact like they aren’t worthy of being in the conversation with the recruiter/manager in front of them. We’re all people, you just have less life experience. That’s it. I was lost at career fairs too.
- Buy “What Color is Your Parachute” and read the job search portion at least. If you take the time to apply the skills in this book, you will use them for life. It’s how I landed several of my jobs and part of why I have my current position.
Because Enterprise Automation is an engineering company, could you give some advice for chemical/mechanical/electrical engineering majors?
- Much of the advice to underclassman applies.
- Explore what your technical interests are. If you are interested in a technical topic, learn more about it. Consider a side project you gradually work on when not being pounded with homework/tests. You learn from this, it gives you something to talk about and can stand out.
- Join the professional associations for your major. The more people you know the more opportunity you will have. Networking isn’t fun for most of us, but once you recognize a few faces it gets easier. You may see speakers, get tours of facilities, and interact with professionals in the workforce.
- The workforce is generally a lot different than your engineering curriculum. There aren’t many jobs you will be writing free body diagrams and differential equations (and you so wanted to do that right?). Your education teaches you how the physical world works, how to approach problems, and builds your confidence in finishing goals.
Do you have advice for students who are about to graduate?
- Buy the book mentioned above if you haven’t already, and don’t have a job.
- Start your job search as early as you can. Use the methods from this book for maximum effect.
What do you think a student can do between now and graduation to prepare themselves for future employment?
- Create a LinkedIn profile, add a decent resolution image to start (Google), enter the basics of your resume. Younger people often aren’t interested in LinkedIn, it seems “FaceBook-like” and the value is unclear.
- It will become your primary resume to the external world. People look for you. You can use it to mine for information, learn about who you met at a career fair, and maybe learn about your prospective employer. Most importantly, use it every once in a while to learn about it, and what you can do with it. I implement ideas and make connections all the time from LinkedIn.
Since UCSD’s Winter Career Fair is approaching, what kind of experience or skills and qualifications are you looking for?
- We look for candidates interested in systems building – connecting individual parts to achieve a larger goal. Our engineers have this mindset and build industrial automation systems.
- We look for detail orientation, ability to communicate and listen.
- We hire ChemE, EE, ME because they have an intuition for how physical systems work and thus are a good fit for making control systems (i.e. the brains and nervous system of an industrial process).
At job fairs, what’s one common mistake that students make?
- Talking AT the recruiter/manager. You need to understand the person in front of you so you know what they are looking for: what the company does, what the company is looking for, why the company is at the fair. In severe cases, I may interpret this as a potential skill issue in communication/self-awareness (which is vital to collaboration).
At job fairs, what’s one thing that makes students stand out?
- Preparation and targeting. Researching what the company does and have specific questions in mind. It’s okay to discover this at the career fair, however, those who stand out the most to me have done research to know what they want. They often have interests beyond their class projects that are relevant to the employer. Passion and good questions stand out.
What is the interview process for your company like?
- We are a bit different than typical. We send our engineers to fairs to find the best people who want to work like we do (i.e. work culture fit). We don’t look for experience, we teach the technical skills because that’s easy compared to teaching behaviors that are not natural for a person.
- We do an on-campus interview with select students.
- Next is a chronological interview where we learn about the candidate’s history so we get a picture of what they will be like and if they will like our environment. We are very transparent about our company as well.
- Next is a technical interview where we work a practical process control problem on a whiteboard together. An offer letter is next.