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californiadude

recent college grad with no job prospects

55 posts in this topic

i finished in December 2010 with a bachelor's in civil from CSU Long Beach, i have now moved back to the San Francisco bay area. Since March, i've sent out about 20 resumes to local cities and counties looking to intern, volunteer, or work entry level civil engineer positions.

i have not had any internship experience while in undergrad. I had 3.0 gpa. im scheduled to take the EIT in october this year.

i talked to a senior engineer at a local city, who recommended that i go to local ASCE chapter meetings and try to network and pass out my resume there after introducing myself.

im thinking worst case i go back to grad school in transportation in the fall. however, i was hoping to work first and instead possibly get an MPA (masters in public administration)

any suggestions?

thanks

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i finished in December 2010 with a bachelor's in civil from CSU Long Beach, i have now moved back to the San Francisco bay area. Since March, i've sent out about 20 resumes to local cities and counties looking to intern, volunteer, or work entry level civil engineer positions.

i have not had any internship experience while in undergrad. I had 3.0 gpa. im scheduled to take the EIT in october this year.

i talked to a senior engineer at a local city, who recommended that i go to local ASCE chapter meetings and try to network and pass out my resume there after introducing myself.

im thinking worst case i go back to grad school in transportation in the fall. however, i was hoping to work first and instead possibly get an MPA (masters in public administration)

any suggestions?

thanks

2 things.

Be open to relocation.

Get a good head hunter.

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And twenty resumes is not even a start at a job search. I'd send out twenty a day.

Are you setting your salary expectations too high?

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Are you only applying to positions posting openings?

My last two jobs I have got have been from me just looking at companies I would like to work for and sending in my resume. Both were hiring but said they didn't post the openings because they would be FLOODED with resumes from people not qualified to work there.

Also after calling to find out exactly who to address your resume/cover letter to, make sure you follow up with another phone call to see if they have any questions or concerns regarding your information (the phone call is to hopefully get a conversation with the person to maybe talk them into getting you an interview)

Going to the ASCE meetings are probably a good idea also. You can mingle, network and hopefully find out who is hiring. I would imagine most companies going away from the online postings and hiring by word of mouth.

Best of luck

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And twenty resumes is not even a start at a job search. I'd send out twenty a day.

Are you setting your salary expectations too high?

where do you get a list of civil companies to apply for? i assume ur applying to companies out of state as well? i've been browsing info on civil engineering corps for the navy or air force. i'm not quite sure if it's actually doing engineering work or just some glorified laborer with an engineering degree. i may possibly go down that path if i get desperate.

im actually offering to volunteer my time for free to gain experience, yet surprisingly the broke state of California and local cities have not taken me up on my offer.

Edited by californiadude

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Also after calling to find out exactly who to address your resume/cover letter to

I think this is very important. I don't know how many randomly-faxed-in resume's I've taken straight from the fax machine to the trash can... that have our "President" from 2 years ago as the attn: person. He's gone. Obviously they haven't done research on our company. If they had, they'd realize the President is on the Board, but does not actually work there. He wouldn't be able to hire people anyway. The General Manager is the person in charge at our company.

Try to get the resume to the right hands, otherwise it hits the bin quickly.

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I've always used shoe leather to get jobs. Suit up, print your resume on really nice cotton stock and hit the pavement. Either this method or networking has served me well. Hit up your college buddies also, maybe they can point you in a good direction.

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And twenty resumes is not even a start at a job search. I'd send out twenty a day.

Are you setting your salary expectations too high?

where do you get a list of civil companies to apply for?

Really????

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And twenty resumes is not even a start at a job search. I'd send out twenty a day.

Are you setting your salary expectations too high?

where do you get a list of civil companies to apply for? i assume ur applying to companies out of state as well? i've been browsing info on civil engineering corps for the navy or air force.

Check out this website...

http://www.ejobs.org/

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And twenty resumes is not even a start at a job search. I'd send out twenty a day.

Are you setting your salary expectations too high?

where do you get a list of civil companies to apply for?

Really????

Yeah...have to agree

What do people learn in college?

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i finished in December 2010 with a bachelor's in civil from CSU Long Beach, i have now moved back to the San Francisco bay area. Since March, i've sent out about 20 resumes to local cities and counties looking to intern, volunteer, or work entry level civil engineer positions.

i have not had any internship experience while in undergrad. I had 3.0 gpa. im scheduled to take the EIT in october this year.

i talked to a senior engineer at a local city, who recommended that i go to local ASCE chapter meetings and try to network and pass out my resume there after introducing myself.

im thinking worst case i go back to grad school in transportation in the fall. however, i was hoping to work first and instead possibly get an MPA (masters in public administration)

any suggestions?

thanks

Straight from college, I went door to door to every civil firm in the area. If they were taking applications, I completed one. If not, I left a résumé. When asked when I was available to start, I told them I had packed a lunch.

Really shop around for grad programs if that is what you want to do. I am presently doing Construction Management, which is 21 credits of CM and 12 credits of an approved specialty, which for me is Public Administration. But I'd suggest getting some work experience first. MPA would usually put you in line for some City Engineer / Engineering Supervisor jobs but not if you don't have experience.

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Also after calling to find out exactly who to address your resume/cover letter to

I think this is very important. I don't know how many randomly-faxed-in resume's I've taken straight from the fax machine to the trash can... that have our "President" from 2 years ago as the attn: person. He's gone. Obviously they haven't done research on our company. If they had, they'd realize the President is on the Board, but does not actually work there. He wouldn't be able to hire people anyway. The General Manager is the person in charge at our company.

Try to get the resume to the right hands, otherwise it hits the bin quickly.

i usually call the public works department and either speak to an engineer or human resources person and explain my situation and what i m looking for before sending them my resume and cover letter.

i've gone through this list of companies within my state and region: civilengineersource.com or engineerjobs.com

Really shop around for grad programs if that is what you want to do. I am presently doing Construction Management, which is 21 credits of CM and 12 credits of an approved specialty, which for me is Public Administration. But I'd suggest getting some work experience first. MPA would usually put you in line for some City Engineer / Engineering Supervisor jobs but not if you don't have experience.

i guess that's what i'll be doing next week and next month as i start selling myself at those ASCE meetings.

Edited by californiadude

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Isn't California broke?

Why not apply to private firms as opposed to public

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OK, let's begin on this journey. As a former college Dean, I have done lots of this for graduating seniors-- I thought and still think that is part of the job the Dean-- help the grads find jobs after graduation.

Step 1-- Get involved with your school alumni group. Go to their happy hours, career fairs, etc. Dress appropriately and visit with as many folks as you can. Don't be greasy-- give a card, get a card. On the back of each card-- (have a good pen with you) write down 3 things that the individual who gave you the card said that will help in the job business. It may be the company president's name, the HR director, what department in Timbuktuu is hiring-- 3 key kernels that are important. That way you will now what you are doing when you get home.

Step 2-- Once home, send a THANK YOU note to everyone who gave you a card. You can make them on publisher or get some nice ones at the store. Thank You notes are a BIG DEAL-- this is easily done, but either is never done or poorly done. Just do it-- tell whom ever you visited with THANKS. YOu'll be surprised at the results.

Step 3-- Every morning, out the door at 0730, resumes, cards and a map in hand. Go pound on every door that is even close to what you want to do. Practice the elevator speech, be nice to the receptionist, the goal is to get the resume in the hands of someone other than the janitor. If you come home before 6PM, you are doing something wrong--either you ran out of resumes or you failed to plan your day.

Step 4-- Do it again the next day-- different shirt, different tie

Step 5--Repeat for 4 weeks. This is HARD WORK, however, these are HARD TIMES-- drastic conditions call for drastic actions-- you may think this is way over the top-- not so.

I used this same protocol with a kid that graduated from TCU. He had been looking for 5 months and no luck. He had already moved back in with Momma and DAddy and had to share a room with little brother. However, he did listen and he used the approach. He went to a career fair back at school, TCU, was interviewed by the team from the company and they took his resume. That day, they were not looking for resumes for engineers, however, they took his. They called him a couple of days later, he got a plant trip and an offer about 3 weeks later. His call to me was should he hold out for more money-- he was offered $69K as a BSME, with a moving and signing bonus. He told me that his offer was $10K higher than any of his classmates. I told him that there was probably an extra $5K on the table, however, he had been looking now for 7 months, was living with Momma and Daddy and sharing a room with little brother. My advice was to take the offer, say no more and go to the nearest church, denomination not important and PRAY TO GOD for at least an hour that GOD was watching.

Fast Forward a year, he made about $85K with overtime last year and has just been promoted to Associate Site Engineer. This is a true story-- no puffery--however, the technique works.

Good Luck in your job search!

A volunteer idea may be to work on a Habitat for Humanity House using your engineering skills. You will bump into some folks that may be able to hook you up to a hiring official.

Let me know what happens.

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Be open to job opportunities not titled CIVIL ENGINEER. You seem hung up on this, which is why I mention it.

And a job with State/City Government right now is exactly where you don't want to be applying. Why? Not because they are bad jobs, but revenues to the government lags the overall economy so right NOW is when the recession is hitting their books....so they have less tax revenue --->they are not hiring anyone. Look towards the private sector. In a couple of years if you want to work for a government apply then.

My first job out of college was for a job titled Management Associate at a metal manufacturer. And that job only happened because I wrote a thank you letter then followed up with a phone call to HR after an preliminary interview, they informed me that a subsequent hiring freeze meant they would not fill the job, however a month later Corporate changed their mind and HR remembered me and my resume/letter/phone call and called me back.

Look for a company you want to work for, take ANY JOB (yes including manual labor) that they have and work hard they will promote you and give you a better one. If in a year you aren't happy look for a new job, but now you have "experience" <-----This is how it is done, no you don't get to take a trip to Europe/Costa Rica/Thailand on your parents dime or all the other b.s. college grads do these days and then blame the "Economy".

Yes you did work much harder for your degree than 90% of your peers (pats on the back) that gives you more options, but you still have to work really hard.

And I had a 3.25 GPA in ME, worked at UPS part time all thru college, was an Army Veteran, and had a decent work history before engineering school ....and I still needed to hustle.

Many engineering grads seem to have this expectation of just sending out a couple of (average quality) resumes signing up for Linked In and the offers are just going to come rolling in. It ain't going to happen that way.

Sorry for the harsh feedback, I understand this is a learing experience for you and I give you props for soliciting advice. I am one of the people at our firm that reviews resumes and sits in on some interviews and the recent grads are not impressing. I read one the other day that used the word "fabulous" in a cover letter.

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also take solomonb advice it isn't extreme or drastic and it will work.

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Be open to job opportunities not titled CIVIL ENGINEER. You seem hung up on this, which is why I mention it.

We hired a recent civil grad as an inspector. He put his time in and scored a great engineer job after about 12 months. A little work experience goes a long way for a young engineer.

Plus, his inspector time was under a PE and counts as work experience toward his four-year requirement. I doubt that's the case with any volunteer experience from Habitat or whomever.

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Follow solomonb's advice and also...

Get someone to independently review your resume (is it too long, too short, too many colors, not enough colors, spelling or grammar errors, etc...), and tailor your cover letter for the profiles of the individual companies that you visit. I'm not suggesting that you embellish your experience, but if you're applying for a job working for the Red Widget Company, make sure that they know that you know they make red widgets (not blue ones), and that one of your career objectives is to make the best red widgets, ever.

Good luck!

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Every morning, out the door at 0730, resumes, cards and a map in hand. Go pound on every door that is even close to what you want to do. Practice the elevator speech, be nice to the receptionist, the goal is to get the resume in the hands of someone other than the janitor.

do you mean literally drive door to door to engineering companies? a phone call won't do it? (gas's expensive these days)

@kephart: point taken, yeah i was talking to a senior eng. at a local city, he recommended also applying more towards private firms, since the govt jobs lag the economy by about 1 to 2 years.

this thurs. im going to an ASCE meeting in the bay area, to network and pass out my resume

i also just applied to grad school for a masters in Civil eng. as a backup in case i can't find a f/t job by fall.

thanks for the help guys, appreciate it

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Every morning, out the door at 0730, resumes, cards and a map in hand. Go pound on every door that is even close to what you want to do. Practice the elevator speech, be nice to the receptionist, the goal is to get the resume in the hands of someone other than the janitor.

do you mean literally drive door to door to engineering companies? a phone call won't do it? (gas's expensive these days)

@kephart: point taken, yeah i was talking to a senior eng. at a local city, he recommended also applying more towards private firms, since the govt jobs lag the economy by about 1 to 2 years.

this thurs. im going to an ASCE meeting in the bay area, to network and pass out my resume

i also just applied to grad school for a masters in Civil eng. as a backup in case i can't find a f/t job by fall.

thanks for the help guys, appreciate it

Phone calls are easy to ignore.

Good luck

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Every morning, out the door at 0730, resumes, cards and a map in hand. Go pound on every door that is even close to what you want to do. Practice the elevator speech, be nice to the receptionist, the goal is to get the resume in the hands of someone other than the janitor.

do you mean literally drive door to door to engineering companies? a phone call won't do it? (gas's expensive these days)

i also just applied to grad school for a masters in Civil eng. as a backup in case i can't find a f/t job by fall.

Gas is expensive? Grad school is really expensive...That's why you need the map.

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Dude-- No the PHONE CALL will NOT DO! Don't even think about it. Yeah, gas is expensive, so is unemployment. Remember, what I said, this is HARD WORK, however, if you don't work hard now, you will never find a job-- trust me here.

Send me your resume if you want some unvarnished feedback. Note I said unvarnished-- I am not going to beat you up, I am going to help you find a job in your chosen profession. We all want to help you be a real success in this profession. However, what we are suggesting are techniques that indeed do work, unfortunately, for many of you, you have not been exposed to them. OK, no worries, we'll get them exposed and get you on the road.

Now, the trip planning question. You need to find 4-6 firms in a general location, map your route and begin. Same thing in the afternoon, another 4-6 firms. As somebody else mentiond, the phone is easily ignored, as is a random email. You will probably have only about 3 days of actual field work each week, the other 2 days are web research and preparation days to be damn sure that you know what the firm does, what they build, etc.

If you find some place that you may wish to interview, find one of the vendors that sells to that firm. See if you can find the salesman who calls on that firm. He/she may be able to get you in to visit with the hiring offical of the company.

Another idea that I have very successfully used is think about joining a service club in your area. Rotary, Lions, Exchange, Boys and Girls are all ideas. Here, you are hoping to not only join the club and do something, but also make some contacts that may be of assistance to you.

It is best if you could get 2-3 sets of eyes on your resume-- the more eyes that see it and help you polish it, the easier it will be for the hiring official to take you when he/she does not know which resume to select out of all that are essentially equal caliber.

OK, next question?

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Every morning, out the door at 0730, resumes, cards and a map in hand. Go pound on every door that is even close to what you want to do. Practice the elevator speech, be nice to the receptionist, the goal is to get the resume in the hands of someone other than the janitor.

i also just applied to grad school for a masters in Civil eng. as a backup in case i can't find a f/t job by fall.

thanks for the help guys, appreciate it

Masters in civil? You sure?

I have been in civil / surveying consulting for 15+ years now and have known one person who got a MS in civil. It did absolutely nothing for him, that I could see. Plus it cost him a year and several thousand dollars. Unless somebody wants to go into teaching and maybe pursue a PhD then I don't know why they'd go that route.

From the little I know about you, it sounds like you want to get into management. What I would recommend for the fall would be to consider taking some undergrad business classes. Undergrad classes cost less. The business classes would help with the GMAT or whatever it is for business school, which is another (usually high-cash) option. And if you decide to continue grad school thereafter, you will have your collateral classes out of the way to go the MBA route... which like I said, is a degree that is almost guaranteed to produce more cash than the MS in civil.

Worst case, you find a job in the meantime and have taken some extra classes in accounting, economics and administration ... which is never a bad thing for anybody who might want to get into management.

Also, I don't know anybody in government hiring who would not consider you for an "MPA required" job if you have an MBA. But the MBA is much more desirable on the private side than the MPA. I would compare it to a civil bachelor's versus environmental - civil majors are considered for environmental jobs but not usually the other way around.

Edited by ALBin517

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check AECOM's website, they seem to have a decent amount of jobs available throughout the nation.. ..

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