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Recent Grad that needs advice landing a Job


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#1 paki_engineer

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 01:00 AM

Hey guys, I'm new to this forum and this is my first post.
I been looking around this forum for quite some time now and found it to be quite helpful for ANY engineering need. And that is why I'm here writing this for anyone to listen. I graduated with a B.S.E in civil engineering in Aug 2011 and also passed the FE exam But have no Engineering experience (GPA of 3.0). It's been 5 months and I only had 1 interview. I'm going on 5 months and it really feel like I'm getting no where. Should I consider getting a Masters Degree or continue to look for a job? and can anyone give any advice on what he/she did to land a job or what he/she would do with my circumstances?

Thanks for you help in advance!

#2 knight1fox3

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 01:22 AM

Hey guys, I'm new to this forum and this is my first post.
I been looking around this forum for quite some time now and found it to be quite helpful for ANY engineering need. And that is why I'm here writing this for anyone to listen. I graduated with a B.S.E in civil engineering in Aug 2011 and also passed the FE exam But have no Engineering experience (GPA of 3.0). It's been 5 months and I only had 1 interview. I'm going on 5 months and it really feel like I'm getting no where. Should I consider getting a Masters Degree or continue to look for a job? and can anyone give any advice on what he/she did to land a job or what he/she would do with my circumstances?

Thanks for you help in advance!

You didn't mention your location and that obviously is a contributing factor. I was in a similar situation when I graduated with my B.S. in electrical engineering. My emphasis was in computers and communications. I live in the mid-west and in my job searches, I quickly learned that a good portion of the jobs that were offered in my area were geared toward power, controls, and automation. Well the bills continued to roll in so I broadened my search to include pretty much anything I could find just to start bringing down a paycheck. I tried applying at Best Buy and the like but they knew I would only be short-term with my qualifications and engineering degree. So no go there. On the other hand, applying for actual engineering positions showed that I was under-qualified as most companies seeking these positions were looking for people with 3-5 years experience. Finally I found a position with a fairly large terminal block and small electronics corporation. It wasn't ideal as I took a position with inside sales. But it was a job and a steady paycheck with decent benefits. And since this company was geared toward electrical products and had electrical engineers in-house, I figured it was a foot in the door. Time went on and I began filling in for engineering technical support and showing what I knew with my degree. This particular position also really taught me how to interface with customers and developed some very useful telecommunication skills. Behind the scenes, however, I continued to post my resume online with various head-hunters and employment websites. It was about a year and I was contacted by a technical staffing agency about a controls engineer position. I interviewed and eventually accepted the position. And so began my engineering career and experience track record. I'm not sure if this helps you but hopefully it will give you some perspective if you decide to pursue finding a job as opposed to going back to school. Don't be afraid to try something as you never know where it may lead. Even if it's not your "ideal" position. Good luck in your decision.

#3 paki_engineer

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 01:41 AM


Hey guys, I'm new to this forum and this is my first post.
I been looking around this forum for quite some time now and found it to be quite helpful for ANY engineering need. And that is why I'm here writing this for anyone to listen. I graduated with a B.S.E in civil engineering in Aug 2011 and also passed the FE exam But have no Engineering experience (GPA of 3.0). It's been 5 months and I only had 1 interview. I'm going on 5 months and it really feel like I'm getting no where. Should I consider getting a Masters Degree or continue to look for a job? and can anyone give any advice on what he/she did to land a job or what he/she would do with my circumstances?

Thanks for you help in advance!

You didn't mention your location and that obviously is a contributing factor. I was in a similar situation when I graduated with my B.S. in electrical engineering. My emphasis was in computers and communications. I live in the mid-west and in my job searches, I quickly learned that a good portion of the jobs that were offered in my area were geared toward power, controls, and automation. Well the bills continued to roll in so I broadened my search to include pretty much anything I could find just to start bringing down a paycheck. I tried applying at Best Buy and the like but they knew I would only be short-term with my qualifications and engineering degree. So no go there. On the other hand, applying for actual engineering positions showed that I was under-qualified as most companies seeking these positions were looking for people with 3-5 years experience. Finally I found a position with a fairly large terminal block and small electronics corporation. It wasn't ideal as I took a position with inside sales. But it was a job and a steady paycheck with decent benefits. And since this company was geared toward electrical products and had electrical engineers in-house, I figured it was a foot in the door. Time went on and I began filling in for engineering technical support and showing what I knew with my degree. This particular position also really taught me how to interface with customers and developed some very useful telecommunication skills. Behind the scenes, however, I continued to post my resume online with various head-hunters and employment websites. It was about a year and I was contacted by a technical staffing agency about a controls engineer position. I interviewed and eventually accepted the position. And so began my engineering career and experience track record. I'm not sure if this helps you but hopefully it will give you some perspective if you decide to pursue finding a job as opposed to going back to school. Don't be afraid to try something as you never know where it may lead. Even if it's not your "ideal" position. Good luck in your decision.


Thanks for the advice!... Btw, I live in Central Flordia and the construction industry here has been pretty shaky, however I KNOW there are jobs here but I'm not even getting a call back even though i have been applying almost everyday.

#4 TrussGuy85

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 01:46 PM

You may not like to hear what I have to say here, but the truth isn't pretty, either way you look at it.

Like Knight said, alot depends on where you're located, however I know for a fact that the civil sector is relatively stagnant almost everywhere at the time (except perhaps North Dakota and Montana where they have an oil boom going on). IMHO, companies don't want to hire new because of uncertainty about the economy, and almost all government entities are laying off because of lost tax revenue and the realization that all their debt has caught up to them. Most of the civil students that I work with at an area university have been going back for a master's degree. The problem I see with that is that they are just kicking the can down the road. In a couple of years there will just be a plethora of highly educated, low experience engineers. I believe this will drive down starting salaries as companies will be able to pick up these new-hires cheap. My advice is to network as much as you can, and take any job you can get. I've read about companies that will not hire anyone that does not currently have a job as they are viewed as "undesirable". Once you have a job, boom, many companies will think you're more valuable, even though you should be just as valued to begin with. If I was in your situation, I would take any engineering job I could get, then use it as a launching platform.

#5 EnvEngineer

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 11:57 PM

I do the hiring arround here and we have had openings (sorry CA) my advice is the read the job requirements and write a letter and resume to address the requirements. I really wonder if I should send a responce to all the applicants who sent me a really poor letter and resume, it seems like they dont care.

The job market is tough, consider other locations and like said before network. If you are not on Linkedin, get on they have alot of job listings and people you can contact in the industry.

But really have someone who knows how to write review your letter and resume, It makes no sense to send out the garbage I see. That alone will put you ahead of the crowd.

BTW, for me if you need more than one page that is fine, I would rather see 2-3 good pages rather than a list of schools and project with no descriptions on one page.

#6 solomonb

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 02:35 AM

I would get out and pound the pavement-- hard--every day. Start at 7:30 AM and go until 6 PM. Coat, tie, shined shoes and a good resume. This is not easy, however, the networking component cannot be overlooked. Find all of the engineering companies in your area. Send a nice letter with your resume to each one, identifying that you are seeking gainful employment after completing your course of study. I would find out when and where the local PE chapter meets. Go to one of their meetings; perhaps someone will sponsor you, however, if not, go and pay the fee. After all, you have to eat.

As mentioned above, I would be damn sure that your resume has some meat on it. If you are just out of school, 1 page is normally plenty to address what you have done.

I would go to the Chamber of Commerce events-- I was at one tonight and the Chamber president asked me if I knew someone for a position. In fact, I did know someone who was there and introduced him to the Chamber President. Will it work out? I don't know, however, the kid that I introduced has been looking for a career change for 6 months and has had no luck.

The market is tough--no other way to say it, however, with drive, determination and desire, you will find something. You might expand your universe of opportunities-- you are NOT going to find the IDEAL job on job 1. Plan on staying at this job for at least 24 months-- you can stand on your head for 24 months. You are bound to learn something as well.

Talk to some architects and general construction firms to see who they can connect you with. Talk to someone in the Rotary club, Lions, Exchange club-- it makes no difference what club, just talk to them. If you go to church, tell the folks there that you are looking for a job to use your new degree.

Don't forget your school's career services staff. Some are much better than others-- and I have had experience with both, however, they have job fairs and know who is seeking folks like you. I would go see your Dean of Engineering and see what he/she has to say, knows. Same thing for your major professor-- work those contacts. When we are seeking new people, I will call the Dean and ask whom he/she knows that might fit our criterion.

Use some creativity here-- there is no right answer, however, if you are living at home with Momma, I would think that would be enough motivation to find a job, even if it was not the ideal job.

Let me know if this helps-- I have helped lots of folks in this endeavor.

#7 paki_engineer

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 02:59 AM

Thanks Guys!!
All That you guys have mentioned is HIGHLY APPRECIATED. I am currently working trying to figure out new ways to improve my networking skills and interview skills by attending workshops. As far as the PE chapter meeting go i'm soon going to look into that.

Is it really a good idea to find local engineering firms and go to there office? and wont i look desperate (which can be a bad thing)?

#8 CbusPaul

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 12:59 PM

You won't look desperate. You'll look like you're willing to work hard to find a job which means once in the job you'll be willing to work hard. It creates a memory for that office of someone who came across as a professional, was engaging, and allows a face to be put with a resume which is always a good thing.

#9 willsee

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 01:24 PM

The last two jobs I've got (@ MEP Consulting firms) I just emailed my resume to the company even though a position was not posted. Both times I was brought in they told me they had been looking for someone for a couple of months, but they don't advertise the opening.

Go online and find firms that you would like to work for and don't be afraid to move (wife and I had to sell our house and move 4 hours south, and we both have better jobs out of it). Send an email with a cover letter and attach your resume. Show in your cover letter that you have read the website and know what the company does and tell them how you can help them. Think of your achievements in college, your self starter attitude (you've already passed your FE and know you're going to get your PE). Make sure you follow up with a phone call a week later and try to talk to the person you sent your resume to.

I agree with solomon about getting involved in organizations. My wife is involved through her job in Rotaract, chamber of commerce, and a couple of other organizations and the majority of the people are either young professionals or vice presidents/presidents of local companies.

#10 MGX

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 03:20 PM

I'm going to tell you to find and consider joining a Toastmasters group. Knowing how to run a meeting, give a speech, give a presentation and speak extemporaneously is something you probably didn't pick up in college. These skills are invaluable. You will also learn networking and you will learn by doing.

#11 solomonb

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 02:43 AM

Ok, your advice received here is real good! Give it a shot and see what happens. Don't be afraid to go bang on doors, you never know what will happen at the other end. I have great faith that all will work out fine.

#12 EnvEngineer

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 08:39 PM

I had a young man walk in and ask my secretary if we did any engineering, she said talk to me and there we where. I did not have a position open at the time but I gave him names and number of several people that I know at other firms and sent emails to them asking them to take his call.

You may find this hard to believe but we have a hard time getting someone invited for an interview to show up on time and have so interest in what we do, someone walking in the door, I say great, I would talk to them every time.

There is a book called the Secrets of Consulting and one on the axiums that it has is if you keep doing the same thing you will keep getting the same results. I you follow the traditional send a resume to a listed job, expect to remain with the 99.99 percent of applicants that did not get that job. You have to do something different.

#13 Mcase

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:33 PM

I am also recent graduate. I am very lucky in that my current job allows me to work pretty much whenever I like, so I was wondering what people think about emailing or calling companies and letting them know that I am willing to volunteer my time, or work for minimum wage. Would this come off as too desperate or do you think they would be willing to take me up on it? I currently do not have any internship experience, so I am thinking this could be a good way to gain some experience, and could possibly lead to a full time job.

Thanks for the advise.

#14 solomonb

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 01:46 AM

Mcase-- No, you are not appearing as needy or lazy-- you are appearing as eager and excited about beginning a position. This is hard work, make no doubt, however, now is the time to get started and begin.
Call any engineering firm in your area-- after doing some web research and ask to talk to the principal in charge of your discipline. A little persistence here, however, most folks will take the call. Tell that you are interested in attending a meeting of the local engineering group and want to know who, what, when, where. You just want to network with some other engineers. After all, you are just asking for where the meetings are located. The principal has nothing to lose to tell you that. Figure out where the meeting is and go. Dress in dockers/polo shirt. Have some business cards to pass out, if asked. Tell the folks that you just graduated, you are eager to begin your career and you are willing to do XXXXXX whatever it is that is your speciality.

This is NOT the time to be bashful--get in there and visit with as many folks as you can. Somebody is going to talk to you, give you some hints on jobs. Just keep this routine up-- something good will happen.

Don't be discouraged-- my previous post is still valid-- just get out and pound on doors-- no, not the phone-- get out and meet folks.

I would not be real picky on what it is that you want to do. Yeah, I know, you want to design the spaceship-- they might need an engineer who can design a brace for a flange for a step. Not as exciting as the spaceship, however, it is engineering.

Get out and make something happen-- yes, it is discouraging today-- however, there are opportunities out there. After all, you are not going to retire from this job, in all likelihood.

Questions-- ask.




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