How did you land your first job after graduating?

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rohit12

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Hi there! I'm not sure if this is exactly against the rules and Career Wednesday is a few days away so I figured I'd try anyway...

I just graduated with my Bachelor's degree majoring in Materials and Metallurgical engineering. I'm an average student and I don't have co-op or any real engineering work experience. These days, I'm trying to land pretty much anything to get myself started; EIT/technologist jobs are nice but I'm also open to trying out internships...

Anyway, I'm just curious: how did you land your first job? How long did it take you? Any advice for someone like me? :D

 

matt267 PE

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I had experience and references from internships. Beyond that, i applied, got interviewed, got offers, got a job. It took a couple months back in 2005 before the economy crashed.

Internships are good and better than nothing. You might want to practice your interview skills too.

Good luck.
 

DuranDuran

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Congratulations on graduating! That's a huge step in itself!

I recommend applying and interviewing as much as you can. Nothing hones interview skills like actual interviews, obviously! My advice would be keep an open mind, and interview for jobs even if they don't sound appealing. You never know...you might like it!

I graduated in '99, and the job market was so hot, jobs were being handed out left and right. I had multiple job offers 2-3 months before I graduated, so I just took the most enticing one. I had a poor GPA but a couple of internships and part time work on my resume which helped a lot. I wish I had taken my time and interviewed more before accepting, but then my life might have taken a drastic turn and I wouldn't have moved to NC and met my future wife so it's all good!
 

jean15paul_PE

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Yeah, my story is similar to others. I had a co-op and multiple summer internships. I begin interviewing during my last year of school and had 2 job offers before I graduated. Having internships or co-op work experience really does make you stand out when you're applying. Since you don't have that experience, you'll have to find another way to stand out.

Here are some ideas:
  • Attend job fairs - Does your school or any organizations in your area host job fairs. You should definitely attend. Meeting recruiters and hiring managers in person gives you an opportunity to make a great first impression. Sometimes that's enough to get you an interview.
  • Connections - You may think you don't know anyone in industry to give you help, but think a little wider. Do you have a good relationship with any of your college professors. Professors often have industry contacts from research partnerships, previous jobs, or classmates they've kept in touch with. Any friends or family members who work as engineers or work for companies that hire engineers? Cast a wide net.
  • Cover letter - Many people feel like cover letter are a thing of the past, and they are right that for the most part, cover letters get ignored today. But there's a concept called a "disruptive cover letter." It's not the typical template. It's a cover letter that is specially designed to stick in a hiring manager's mind and get you considered when you otherwise wouldn't be. Google "how to write a disruptive cover letter." The next part is getting someone to actually read it, which is easier said than done. Uploading it to an online application probably won't get it read. You need to get it to an actual person. It might take some super-sluthing to get find the right person's name and contact info, but it can be done. Just remember to be genuine. You're not going to trick someone into hiring you.
I'm sure there are many other ways, but that's what came to mind. GOOD LUCK!
 
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Br_Engr

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I applied to an ad in the newspaper. I had not heard back for quite a while and I mentioned something to a professor. He knew of an alumnus that was working at the company and he suggested that I mail (it was a long time ago) my cover letter and resume directly to him.

Lo and behold, he contacted me to set up an interview and I was lucky enough to get hired.
 

Lumber Jim

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Without internships, I would suggest demonstrating through past experience how you have:
- been a self starter
- have a strong work ethic
- can write technically and can lead a task given to you
- can communicate your ideas
- can follow directions
- can see the big picture
- can be courteous, humble, but also have conviction based on the science you have learned.

I have hired many engineers. Some of the best had mediocre GPA but demonstrated they wanted to work hard, be a team player, grow in their skill, didn't demonstrate an entitled attitude, could speak and work with others as an equal, and didn't need to be babysat...

The rest you'll learn on the job.

Your future boss doesn't want to babysit. He is hiring you to solve one of his problems...

Be a problem solver...
Show some confidence...
Have a good attitude...

Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and call the VP or Director...

My 2 cents...
 

A B

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I joined the Navy and went into its nuclear propulsion officer program. That's hard to get into without good grades but you might give it a shot:

Assuming you are a US citizen and meet the physical requirements, all the branches of the military love engineers for their officer programs.

Some have specific needs for civil engineers in particular to build bases, runways, etc. For instance:

Engineering Duty Offices oversea new ship construction and existing ship overhauls:
There are also Aerospace EDOs but I don't know much about them.

The military also hires engineers for civilian jobs:

Again, the military loves engineers for all their officer slots, not just hard core engineering jobs.

I went back to school after 5 years as a submarine officer. With my Navy background and an M.B.A., I pretty much could write my own ticket after grad school.

Some people are put off by the prospect of military discipline. It's not especially strict after initial officer training; you have a job to do and you do it -- just like you have to do in any other working environment. Of course your working environment might be different - 400' underwater or somewhere up in the sky.

Other folks are put off by physical fitness issues. I was something of a dodgeball target growing up but I got in basic physical shape before officer training (nothing hard core - just swimming laps and a few pushups). They'll take it from there when you show up and get you in better shape but unless your going to be infantry or special forces, it's nothing extreme.

Your country needs you.

If you're not a US citizen, consider your home country's military.
 
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