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Getting the Civil Engineering Job

Are you a student or employee wondering exactly what it is that you want to do and how you are going to get the job you want? I was there and let me tell you that as difficult as it may seem, it is possible to do anything you want.

Let me guide you through this process as best I can. It may sound cliche, but the trick is to apply your mind and to believe in yourself. I didn’t meet the requirements to study engineering and the only reason I was allowed to study civil engineering is because I convinced the panel of lecturers at registration to give me a chance to prove myself. Anything is possible.

The facts:

  • Companies prefer employing people who have industry related experience.
  • The best way to gain work experience is to apply for intern holiday jobs.
  • Working for a construction company will enable you to gain valuable ‘hands on’ experience.
  • Working for various engineering firms will give you insight into the industry and make it easier for you to decide what you enjoy doing most.
  • Building a positive reputation with a company increases your chance of finding permanent employment upon graduation.

Start loading your CV with experience.

Manhole pour crossing the Xhora River
Manhole pour crossing the Xhora River, Transkei, South Africa

Get the job you want and start gaining as much experience as possible regardless of what the job initially entails. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Be willing to get your hands dirty and be prepared to put in the long hours.
  • Civil engineering is broad field of expertise with many branches and options for you to gain experience in.
  • Every job has its ups and downs so don’t feel despondent if your “dream job” is not what you expected.

“Don’t worry about chasing the money, make yourself valuable by absorbing as much information as possible and the money will follow you.”– Advise I received from a senior engineer.

These words have stuck with me and are increasing in value with time.

Follow these steps to get the job you want.

Four years down the line and I finally got the job.
Four years down the line and I finally got the job.

You may have heard the saying, “The early bird catches the worm”. That doesn’t mean the late bird doesn’t get one, he just has to dig a little bit harder.

Step1: Submit your CV to a few recruitment agencies and follow up with the agencies on the progress of your applications.

Hint: Do not rely solely on recruitment agencies as you may be waiting some time.

Step2: Contact the company you think you would like to work for and make contact with whoever is responsible for hiring. Find out the necessary requirements and get to it.

Waiting until graduation to start looking for work is a recipe for disappointment but luckily it’s not the end of the world.

Do you want to increase your chance of success?

Apply for a job as an intern. You may not like this idea, but intern work is experience gained and will look good on your CV.

Secure the permanent position.

Once you are through the door, work smart and prove your worth by showing the company your talent. If, after three weeks, you are enjoying your time, speak to the boss or HR department about the possibilities of permanent employment within the company.

If the answer is NO, then either:

  1. The company cannot afford to take on new staff.
  2. You’ve been fooling around.
  3. You are working for a bunch of nitwits. Time to move on.

I hope that this information has helped you with what you were looking for.


P.S: Please leave a comment below if you have any other bits of advice and positive feedback. Thank you.


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