Case study

Engineering geologist — Anna

Find out how Anna's proactive approach helped her to gain industry experience and land a graduate job…

How did you get your job?

I sent speculative emails to different companies asking for an informal meeting to discuss the industry and different types of jobs. I also spent a short period shadowing someone at an environmental consultancy.

I didn't receive any job offers but gained a sound understanding of the industry and was able to find out what employers were looking for. I also gained lots of positive feedback, which was a confidence boost.

I found my current employer by searching for environmental consultancy jobs on Google. I submitted a CV and covering letter and was called for an interview the following week. I had taken a copy of some key pieces of coursework and my dissertation to the interview, which provided a conversation starter.

I like the variation in the type of work I do and enjoy being able to work with different teams and departments within the company and wider industry

How relevant is your degree to your job?

Very relevant and particular modules turned out to be really useful, as we covered a lot of the everyday tasks that occur in my line of work.

What are your main work activities?

In the office I manage project workloads, budgets and resourcing. I write desk-top studies, produce site investigation reports and screen analysis results against relevant human health and environmental criteria.

I also manipulate data and interpret results using various models. Designing site investigations and remediation for geotechnical and environmental purposes is another office-based job.

Out on site I carry out reconnaissance surveys and monitor and supervise intrusive investigations. Managing site staff and machinery, with respect to health and safety, is an important part of the job and I also manage the overall site works, taking deliveries and arranging collections.

Other tasks include logging and sampling soils, scheduling chemical/geotechnical analysis and instructing drillers and other plant operatives.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

I was promoted to assistant after three years and recently promoted to a senior position in summer 2014 following a change in company.

I hope to be chartered within five to seven years.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I like the variation in the type of work I do and enjoy being able to work with different teams and departments within the company and wider industry.

The workload is extremely varied and travelling to different locations, both indoor and outdoor, keeps it interesting.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

Managing workloads, achieving deadlines and liaising with clients can present the most challenging aspects of the job.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Try to get some industry experience even if it's just showing an interest by arranging to have informal chats with different companies and departments. Shadowing helps to give you an idea of what to expect.

Summer work benefits both the graduate and the company and gives you a good chance of being employed when you finish.

Be confident in interviews and show that you are adaptable and willing to try lots of different roles within the company.

Try to study a module that covers current working practices and not just the theory/maths behind everything.

Lastly, a good CV goes a long way in this industry; nobody wants to hear about your standard grades/GCSEs.