Building a career in engineering isn’t just about honing technical skills, according to Joseph M. Heaney III, founder and principal of Walden Environmental Engineering based in Oyster Bay, NY. Heaney, a civil engineer with more than 30 years’ experience, shared his insights at the Executive/Engineer Speaker Series hosted by the Fred DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science.
During his presentation, Heaney stressed the importance of networking with existing contacts, through professional organizations and alumni.
“Learning soft skills and interpersonal skills will greatly enhance a student’s ability to get their aspirational job,” Heaney said. “They also need to learn to differentiate themselves from their peers. Over the past 22 years of business only three individuals walked into my office with a resume to ask for an interview – I hired all three – their actions differentiated them.”
He also advised students to set professional goals for themselves and to seek out jobs in different industry sectors.
“In the early part of your career, it’s important to learn from different mentors, accumulate professional experience and pass the EIT (Engineer-in-Training) exam,” Heaney said. “It is only through this process that a graduate can effectively understand what they are best at and in turn pursue what that might be.”
Frank Castelluccio ’19 is a civil engineering student searching for internships.
“Joe Heaney’s presentation helped me realize how important it is to market myself when looking for a job,” Castelluccio said. “I learned that displaying certain qualities to employers, such as punctuality and a genuine eagerness to learn, can go a long way towards landing a job or internship.”