FORENSIC ENGINEERING JOB SEARCH
“Learn the step-by-step process of a forensic engineering job search that will give you the experience to make your testimony creditable as a forensic engineer.”
By John D. Gaskell, Retired Consulting Engineer
Author of “The Complete Guide to FORENSIC ENGINEERING”
Forensic engineering is defined by the National Academy of Forensic Engineers (NAFE) as “the application of the art and science of engineering in matters which are in, or may possibly relate to, the jurisprudence system, inclusive of alternative dispute resolution.”
Once you are a graduate engineer, and hopefully have passed the FE (fundamentals of engineering) exam, the first step is to get a job that will give you (certifiable) experience to qualify you to eventually take the PE (Professional Engineer License) exam.
FORENSIC ENGINEERING JOB SEARCH
Depending on the job market at the time of your graduation, you may not have a wide range of job choices. But, if you get a job designing systems for submarines, it is unlikely to lead to your own consulting engineering practice that will eventually lead to litigation consulting. You may have to consider commuting to a larger city, to find work in your field.
First step in your forensic engineering job search is to prepare a “resume”; which at this point will only include your education, (emphasizing courses relating to consulting engineering), and your summer job, if it involved engineering. But your summer job as a life guard will not impress a prospective employer. Include, praiseworthy accomplishments, like being an “Eagle Scout”. Emphasize training in Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) and Building Information Modeling (BIM), if you can, because you will be doing drafting as a major part of your job, initially. Mention interests concerning engineering, but certainly don’t state an interest in eventually opening your own firm.
Get a list of forensic engineers and consulting engineers in your area. However, remember that most forensic engineering firms will want you to gain experience in your basic engineering discipline first. Try to find a “web-site” for each to learn a little about them and to eliminate contractors and moon-lighters. Next, print your resume on good paper and deliver it to each office on your list; don’t mail it. Wear a suit and tie and explain that you are a recent (specialty) engineering graduate and would like to speak with their chief (specialty) engineer. If they ask why, reply: “You are seeking advice and will only take a few minutes”. If they say he is busy, reply “That’s ok, I can wait”. If all else fails, ask the receptionist to give him a copy of your resume and ask for his business card. If it is a good size company, provide a second copy of your resume, for the “Personnel Department”. If you don’t hear back within a week, call the engineer to verify that he received your resume and to inquire about job openings. Prepare a list of questions and have a copy ready for each call with spaces for the answers:
- Did you receive my resume?
- Are there any entry level openings?
- Are any openings likely in the near future? If so, when?
- Can you recommend competitors who might be hiring?
- Do you have any advice for a young engineer, just starting out?
- Can I come in to your office and observe a typical day? (A eight hour job interview)
Send him a letter or e-mail, thanking him for taking your call and for his advice. (Include another copy of your resume.)
If you don’t quickly get a job, stop back to see the same people. Their needs can change in just a few weeks. Consider bringing a box of pastry or flowers for the receptionist who said that the engineer was too busy to see you.
Litigation consulting is interesting, challenging, and profitable. If what is involved interests you, I recommend adding “Forensic Engineering” to your practice as a consulting engineer. I hope that you found this article helpful in your forensic engineering job search.
Get Jack’s new book: The “Complete Guide” to FORENSIC ENGINEERING to learn the details. Also, the largest chapter in his book: The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING covers the “highlights” of Forensic Engineering. Visit TheEngineersResource.com to find out more.
Learn how to be a forensic engineer. Learn how to be a forensic expert witness. How to be an engineering expert witness. How to obtain training as a forensic engineer. How to obtain training as an engineering expert witness.