TempTalk with Ameerudeen Najumudeen
After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering in India, Ameerdueen Najumudeen came to Canada to complete his Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering with a focus on Corrosion Science. “There’s always going to be corrosion,” he says. “So there will always be jobs for corrosion engineers.” Now working on a contract basis as a system integrity engineer for one of Adecco’s largest energy sector clients in Saskatchewan, Ameerudeen knows how hard it can be for newly graduated engineers to kick start their careers despite the much publicized demand for them. Fortunately, he was open to all sorts of possibilities.
Open to exploring different kinds of work and willing to travel within in Canada, Ameerudeen interviewed at Adecco without even including his engineering expertise on his resume. He says that, at first, he wasn’t even aware his engineering background would apply to his role as a temp. At first, he accepted a general labour assignment with a major manufacturer of agricultural machinery and followed that up with an assignment as a dispatcher for a major Canadian supermarket chain. It was only when Ameerudeen told Adecco’s Regina Branch Manager, Jennifer Chase, that he needed to take some time off to interview for an engineering job that Adecco learned of his technical skillset and true passion.
How non-engineering skills can make for a better engineer
Still, Ameerudeen is adamant that his non-engineering roles were well worth it because they provided him with experiences that he continues to draw from as an engineer. “Although it wasn’t directly related to engineering, I learned different skills,” he says about his time as a dispatcher. “It was always busy and I had to do three or four things at a time, so it was a good multitasking experience. And the communications aspect of it – dealing with different types of people – was also very helpful for me. For instance, right now, I’m working with operations and we have to regularly contact the field staff for certain details. So it’s very useful that I know how to speak convincingly to different people. And we usually handle two or three projects at a time, so the multitasking skills I learned from my time as a dispatcher gives me exposure to handling multiple projects and sticking to different timelines.”
Ameerudeen also thinks that temp agencies are a great gateway into an engineering career simply because of the connections they can provide. “Temp work is a means to keep in touch with a staffing agency,” he says. “Most of the time I tell my friends to talk to staffing agencies so they can be in the loop about opportunities. It’s all about contacts because, for first-year engineers, the number of opportunities is so limited. If I had not taken the temp work that I did, Jennifer wouldn’t have had me in mind for my current engineering position. The temp work kept me in the loop with the branch about engineering opportunities. I think temp agencies are good for any new engineer because, while companies advertise their engineering positions online, 80% of them have requirements for experienced professionals, and for entry-level jobs, they tend not to go for permanent employees. Instead, they tend to go through staffing agencies, and that’ where Adecco is really helpful. If I was applying on my own for every individual job, then I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work where I am. And moreover, Adecco doesn’t only work with one company – they work with hundreds of companies. And they have access to more opening that a regular person would have by just searching the internet.”
It’s the engineering experience – not the contract – that matters
Ameerudeen is also undaunted by the fact that his work is contract-based. According to him, it’s all about gaining the experience he needs to establish himself in his chosen field. “It gives me an opportunity to work for an engineering company doing relevant work. In the future, if they don’t require me, I still have excellent experience which I can utilize in different companies later on,” he says. “And there’s a possibility that the company I’m working for will start hiring permanent employees. But even if they don’t, my contract can go on until 2017 – a five-year contract that gets renewed every year. And if the contract simply expires by 2017 and they’re not interested in hiring permanent employees, I’ll be able to approach other companies with my five years of experience. So I’m really open to options. For an engineer, having one or two years’ experience is crucial. Two or three years’ worth of experience at a reputable company puts you at the top of the list for hiring. That’s really valuable experience that I gained.”
Advice anyone can use
In addition to the wealth of advice he has for other burgeoning engineers, Ameerudeen is the consummate promoter of his profession. “Almost everything we interact with in the modern world is made by engineers,” he says. “I even ask my friends to take up engineering. There are a hundred different engineering streams, each with their own areas of specialization. And the pattern of growth for an engineer who performs well is exponential.”
Ameerudeen also has some practical recommendations for anyone, regardless of what field they’re in, who is thinking of registering as a temp. “Looking professional really matters because the first impression is the best impression,” he says. “Regarding your responses in an interview, I would suggest that people say what they’re really interested in rather than what they think the consultant wants to hear. That way, if a job that suits your interests comes up, you’ll probably get it.”
At Adecco, we take great pride in the accomplishments of the talented individuals we place on temporary assignments each day throughout Canada. And so, to acknowledge their great work and share their success stories, we are pleased to profile them in TempTalk – a series of interviews profiling Adecco’s brightest stars.