From Junior to Senior
By Lisa VanWyk May 5, 2023

How to Effectively Apply to Jobs as a Junior Engineer

How to effectively apply to jobs as a Junior Engineer In 4 steps:

  • Create a polished resume from the beginning.
  • Keep the resume customization to a minimum.
  • Avoid cover letters like the plague that they are.
  • Apply if you meet about 70% of all the listed requirements.

When you went into engineering you probably thought you were set when it came to salary. What you didn’t count on is how hard it can be to find and apply to jobs as a junior engineer. You’re often stuck in the “I want work experience but employers won’t give me a chance to get work experience without having prior work experience already” cycle.

We’ll teach you how to effectively apply to jobs as a junior engineer and break out of that vicious cycle.

1. The Time Suck

Do you want the facts? There are a ton of applicants who have more experience than you. So, how do you game the numbers to come out with a job? You submit as many applications as possible of course.

Where people fail at this is by trying to submit a perfectly tailored resume that takes 2 hours to write for each and every job. Someone somewhere along the line has told you that your application needs to stand out and you can only do that by customizing your resume for the exact company and position you’re applying for. This is a great technique if you already have experience but as a newcomer, this will just drag your job search out.

Aim to create an extremely polished resume but do not customize it too much. Each application should take between 10-15 minutes and NOT more than 30. Set your time limit and respect it.

Hard skills over weird fonts or formats

When hiring a new graduate many companies are focused on the hard skills you have, meaning “Can this person do what needs to be done without too much hand-holding?” The idea being that you need to prove you know your stuff before being considered for roles that require more soft skills (like management). Think about it. Would you follow the lead of an engineer who isn’t proficient themselves?

You don’t make a resume better by using some weird font or format, you make it better by being good at what you do.

2. Don’t go after the perfect job

Your goal as a junior engineer isn’t to get your perfect job right out of the gate, it’s to get any semi-decent job. (A heartbreaking fact every new college graduate must learn.) Right now, you need to earn that experience everyone so desperately wants. In a year or two, you can re-enter the job market without the junior label and you can be much more deliberate in your search and the opportunities you take on.

3. Cover Letters Are Overrated

The absolute bane of any job-seeker’s existence… the cover letter. A candidate can be very passionate about a job while also being absolutely terrible at it. Our recommendation?

  1. If the cover letter isn’t required, don’t submit one.
  2. If it is required, use a template and keep it short (around 7-10 lines for a neat paragraph).

Introduce yourself and what you do/ have studied, explain why you’re a good technical fit for the role, and add a sentence or two on why you’re excited about the company’s mission

Keep your time investment on your cover letter to a minimum.

4. Have Some Faith In Yourself

If you meet about 70% of the requirements a job lists, you should apply. Many companies will post jobs with excessive requirements for a position because they want more for less. Why pay someone $100k/year if you can get them for $70k/year?

So have some faith in yourself and apply to that job you are so not qualified for. Besides, if a junior engineer waits to only apply to jobs where you meet 100% of the requirements, you won’t be able to ever apply to any job.

Now remember, to effectively apply to jobs as a junior engineer you need to:

  • Create a polished resume at the beginning.
  • Keep the customization of your resume to a minimum.
  • Avoid cover letters like the plague that they are.
  • Apply if you meet about 70% of all the listed requirements.

The job search can be an exhausting grind, hopefully, you can shorten it by using the methods here.

You can also submit a resume on and we’ll review our current clients for a match.