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I have moved in Canada last fall, right after having my engineer's diploma. Since then I'm looking for a job (as an engineer), and couldn't find one in my line of work. I should preface that I'm a woman, and that I have 3 years of experience in a co-op program.

I'd like to send my application for a job as a technician in my line of work, but should I mention that I have an engineer's diploma right away ? Should I mention my engineer title on my resume when applying for a less-qualified position ?

  • Good question. If you don't mention the co-op and degree then how would you deal with gaps in the resume time line? – paparazzo Aug 4 '15 at 15:53
  • @Frisbee Interesting question. One can always be vague about the exact title, school diploma and the experiences but then it probably won't make the resume look any better than being simply over-qualified. – ereOn Aug 4 '15 at 15:59
  • Yes you're right Frisbee, I have to mention it, but do I mention it right away in my title and in my profile (first lines of my resume) ? That's the problem I'm having. – CaroFK Aug 4 '15 at 16:01
  • What exactly is this "engineer's diploma" in terms that we might understand? It sounds like an advanced degree, but not a professional certification. You should be cautious with your language, as some engineering titles are protected in Canada, and misrepresenting yourself could have serious consequences. – Air Aug 4 '15 at 16:02
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    Yes good question @Air, I have a french engineer's diploma, and it is recognized by the Order of the Engineer in Quebec and I have obtained a temporary restrictive engineer permit for this diploma. This is why I use the title "Junior Engineer" on my resume, as authorized by the Order. – CaroFK Aug 4 '15 at 16:16
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Absolutely mention it. Some employers like to use technician jobs as a way of vetting employees for greater responsibilities. Since you've been applying for engineering positions, clearly you're interested in moving beyond the technician position in the future. You should communicate that when interviewing for a technician position, to avoid putting yourself and your employer in an awkward position later on if they have no pathway for promotion between technician and engineer classifications/titles.

It's very common at my place of employment for students to start out in paid internships and move directly into technician classifications after graduating (doing mostly the same work). This lets them continue to apply for scientist and engineer positions, internally and/or with other employers, without a lapse in employment.

Other employers can be less comfortable with the idea of hiring a more qualified candidate into a less qualified position. Don't deceive them, you'll only make yourself miserable in the long run. Ask during your interview what sort of pathway the company or agency has for technicians to move into full engineer positions. It's a good situation for them because they can pay you a technician's wages without actually committing to promote you. It's a good situation for you because you haven't been able to find other employment, and you can keep applying for other jobs if you don't like it enough at that job to wait for an opportunity to open up.

As for where and when to mention it:

  • Do put it on your resume. This is an important qualification that demonstrates your value to the employer, regardless of what position(s) they have open at the time.
  • Your choice how and whether to mention it on your cover letter. I think it's more important in the cover letter to make a connection between you and the company. Communicate why you are interested in them as an employer, so they will be interested to look at your resume, which you will have attached.

For example:

Engineering Firm, Inc.
123 Fake Street
Montréal, QC

RE: [Position identifier or description]

Dear [hiring manager's name]:

I am a recent graduate of Alma Mater University in [location], seeking employment with a [subfield or industry] engineering firm. I was interested to read [some item related to the firm]. While at Alma Mater University, [describe accomplishment, experience or personal connection related to the previous item].

I've attached my resume ... (good fit, love to talk with you further, looking forward to your response, blah, blah, blah - just try to be reasonably genuine)

If you're sending the letter in response to a job announcement, be sure to mention the job (by identifier number/code if possible, by description/title otherwise) at the very beginning of the letter. There's no need to mention it again in the body of the letter. If it feels natural to do so, then do so. If not, then don't. This communicates clearly that you are responding to a specific advertisement, while sending the message that what you're really interested in is working for this company. If the only opening they have that you're qualified for is a technician position, then this is the best approach.

A good employer is not looking for someone to be a technician forever. They can always train another technician; or, if you impress them a great deal in the interview, they may invite you to interview for a better position that hasn't been announced yet.

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Yes, you should mention it. Your application should include all relevant information to becoming employed, including your qualifications.

Given that the energy markets have declined worldwide, which Canada's economy and engineering sector rely on, then justifying the salary you are after for the benefit you provide to the employer is more important than usual. That's where strong qualifications and experience come on your side.

  • In Finland it works the opposite :) If you want an "easier" job, it's better not to mention your higher qualifications. Otherwise you will be skipped as too expensive to hire and/or danger of quickly switching jobs when you find one from your own skill level. – Juha Untinen Aug 5 '15 at 12:01
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As I said in a comment that is just too much time to bury.

Just put it at the end of the resume and don't mention it in cover the letter. Don't bold it and don't go into a lot of detail. You are just explaining the time.

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