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Top Tips to Prepare for a Network Engineering Job Interview

Feb 3, 2023

If you’re pursuing a career as a network engineer, you’ve made an excellent choice! These professionals are well paid and in high demand. Network engineers are responsible for building and maintaining networks for companies in a vast number of industries. This highly technical role requires specific skills and an advanced education, so it’s important when you start your job search that you prepare yourself for the types of interview questions you’ll encounter in the process. 

You can’t see into the future and can’t possibly prepare for every question you’re asked, but you can go into each interview feeling confident that you can talk about how your experience relates to the job description. Keep reading to learn how to polish your CV, stand out to future employers, nail your interview, and get the job you want.

1. Polish Your CV or Résumé

A CV (curriculum vitae, which is “course of life” in Latin) and résumé are documents detailing your career experience, education, skills, and achievements, scholarships, and awards. While résumés are usually one or two pages long, CVs can be up to three. Typically, your document will be longer the more years you’ve spent working in the field. Whether the employer expects a CV or a résumé will be indicated in the job posting. 

With highly technical job titles like network engineer, network administrator, or network solutions architect, CVs and résumé are particularly important to prove your skills and education. Your CV or résumé should include these essential sections:

  • Career objective: Explain your career goals by emphasizing your current strengths.
  • Work experience: Organize from most recent to oldest and list your key responsibilities in each role.
  • Education: List degrees, significant coursework, certifications, scholarships, and awards.
  • Skills: Mention all specific skills that are relevant to the job you're applying for. Many employers now use résumé scanning software, so it’s important that you use the most modern keywords to describe your skillset.
  • Contact information: Don’t forget to add your email, phone number, and LinkedIn profile.

2. Send a Cover Letter

Cover letters are the pariah of the job application process because they tend to be the most time-consuming step, especially if you don’t consider yourself gifted with words. Most IT professionals simply send their CV, which means that if you put the effort into writing a cover letter, you have an opportunity to stand out from the pack. Use your cover letter to tell a story about how your strengths, job history, and the types of networks you have experience with make you the perfect fit for the job. Importantly, this is also a chance to demonstrate the research you’ve done into the company and how you align with its values, mission, or purpose. A cover letter should be up to a page long and only include important information.  

Some important skills you can mention in your cover letter include:

  • Router configuration
  • Routing protocols
  • Wireless configuration
  • Firewall configuration
  • Network design
  • Network traffic management
  • OSI model (Open Systems Interconnection)
  • Subnet and ethernet design
  • Transition Control Protocol (TCP)
  • Network topology

3. Practice

Practice, practice, practice! Although it might feel unusual to practice an interview at home, it is an excellent way to determine what you should say and what to leave out. Rehearsing your answers can help you be more confident when speaking and reduce any stress or discomfort about the interview. Ask a roommate, friend, or family member to sit down for 15 minutes and go through a list of interview questions. Confidence is a major green flag to employers, so the better you can present yourself during a first impression, the greater your chances of landing the job!

4. Interview Questions and Example Answers

There are many boilerplate questions that you can expect in almost every interview. Having a prepared answer could be the difference that tips the scale in your favor.

Tell Me About Yourself

EXAMPLE ANSWER: “I’ve been a network engineer for eight years, and during that time, I’ve worked for startups, big corporations, and everywhere in between. I love finding solutions to problems and building the network foundation that many organizations like yours may not always think about but heavily rely on every day.”

Why Did you Become a Network Engineer?

EXAMPLE ANSWER: “I always enjoyed anything having to do with computers, so a few years ago I decided to take an entry-level class in the network engineering program. From then on, I knew I wanted to work only in this field and support companies like yours.” 

What Do you Enjoy Working on as a Network Engineer?

EXAMPLE ANSWER: “I enjoy all aspects of network engineering, but I especially like problem-solving. I love thinking about root problems and coming up with creative solutions to fix them. In a previous role, I was responsible for changing old routing equipment to the new HUAWEI hisuite of router and switches, which posed several challenges my team worked to overcome.”

What’s Your Least Favorite Part of the Job? (Or: What is Your Biggest Weakness?)

EXAMPLE ANSWER: “Even though I generally enjoy my work, I do sometimes find myself getting discouraged when I accomplish something big and no one outside the department can appreciate it. Although, I always try to keep a positive attitude by reminding myself that my work has a positive impact on the company”

Tell me About a Time When you Faced a Problem at Work. How Did you Solve it?

EXAMPLE ANSWER: “As I was leaving my office for the day, the power went out. Our primary servers had a generator, but it was above 100 degrees outdoors, so I knew they'd overheat without air conditioning. I was permitted to buy a generator and fans. I wired the air conditioning to keep servers cool if the power went out overnight. The power stayed out until daybreak, but the servers didn't overheat, which potentially saved the company thousands of dollars.”

Ensuring You’re on the Right Path

Education is a big part of network engineering, and most successful individuals in this field typically have a degree in network security and engineering. WGU’s network engineering and security bachelor’s program is designed to prepare you for a high-paying and engaging career where you play an essential role in protecting a company’s network. 

Our Bachelor of Science in Network Engineering and Security degree program was designed with help from our Information Technology Program Council who have ensured that the program curriculum aligns with the needs of the job market. In this program you’ll learn SDN, automation, IT fundamentals, networks and security, spreadsheets, scripting and programming, data management, operating systems, interconnecting network devices, leadership and management, web development, the business of IT, and security. By the end, you’ll have all the technical skills needed to succeed in this field.  

One of the best parts of this fully online degree is that you can keep working full-time while completing coursework and assessments on your own schedule. Earning your bachelor’s degree in network engineering and security will help you advance your existing IT knowledge, improve your CV or résumé, and stand out to employers. In this program, you’ll learn the latest in network engineering, operations, and security management. After graduating, you’ll be equipped to creatively solve problems and be a part of meaningful work for the entire company.

Apply today and start building a successful career in network engineering with WGU’s Bachelor of Science in Network Engineering and Security degree. 

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