• Mel Butcher

One Engineer's Pandemic Job Hunt

Updated: May 15

Access the full video interview with Mohini at this link.

2020 created a world of pain for young graduates and other job seekers. When people most needed the ability to network, many options were suddenly shut down.

We're still seeing and feeling the effects.

When we're in a situation like that - where we really need a way to connect with professionals and find a job, but we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, it's so easy to feel alone.

Such a need requires us to find the resilience within ourselves to get creative in how we find support.

Early in the pandemic, a young engineer approached me on LinkedIn. While she was looking for a job, she sought more specific guidance. She asked for some of my time and we ended up having several calls together.

And I have to say that I was happy to work with Mohini because she made her dedication to the process clear.

At one point, she asked if I would do a practice interview with her and provide feedback. This is the only time I've received this request as a professional and, in my opinion, it was a brilliant ask.

After a lot of hard work reaching out to people on LinkedIn, building relationships with authenticity and generosity, Mohini landed a position and moved.

Her story doesn't end there, though. After some time passed, Mohini called me again. She told me about her deep passion for water and wastewater. She wasn't exactly working in that space in her role and was concerned about her dream slipping away. She asked what she should do.

That day, I told her that she should definitely be on the lookout for opportunities and to continue building relationships in the space that she was most interested in. And I also tried to encourage her to have patience. She was in a good job, and the pandemic has created a market favorable for many employers because the talent pool has ballooned. I was afraid her search could take some time.

A couple days later, I noticed a colleague on LinkedIn posted that they were seeking an engineer to join their team. It looked like it might be a precise fit for Mohini and (shocked) it was also in her geographic vicinity!

I dropped a message to make the connection and, as they say, the rest is history. The most recent message I received from Mohini was about how happy she is in her new role and the fantastic mentorship she's getting. (and no message could make me happier or prouder)

Soon, you can hear this story from Mohini's perspective. She was kind enough to let me record an interview with her. So once that's out, you can see it on LinkedIn. (If we're not already connected, here's my LinkedIn profile.)

If you are a young professional, especially in engineering, here's what I hope you take away from Mohini's story:

  1. I didn't refer Mohini to the position because she asked me to. Mohini did the legwork to build a relationship with me (and others). She built trust, showed her talent and passion such that I could then feel comfortable putting my social capital on the line on her behalf. Put in other words, she cultivated a relationship with me so that I could be comfortable putting my influence behind a recommendation of her. The relationships always have more sway than your resume, where you went to school, your GPA, etc.

  2. If you're struggling in your job search, don't go it alone. People want to help; you just might need to finesse how you approach them online. Because of the pandemic, Mohini had to do all her strategic networking remotely. I'm sure that there were many difficult moments and times of frustration. I think if Mohini and I could both speak to you, we'd both reiterate - you can do it and better times are ahead.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to connecting with you and sharing Mohini's interview with you soon.


Feel welcome to reach out to me on LinkedIn with questions. Sign up to hear about upcoming Underdog Engineers courses here.

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