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How do you get in the loop?

by Curl
Tags: loop
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IntegraR0064
#19
Feb16-11, 03:59 PM
P: 5
Agreed, you're looking in the wrong place.

Entry level jobs will be found:
1) On company websites. Usually big companies are best. The government is a good big company as well.
2) At college recruitment type events, a.k.a. career fairs

And if you haven't graduated yet, fight hard to get an internship before you do. It's much easier if you've had at least one.

Ultimately it's going to be tough and you're going to have to apply to lots of jobs, while continually evolving and figuring out why you didn't get each, before you get one.....but that's what everyone who has a job does unless they graduated from MIT with perfect grades and cured cancer while they were there. Either put in the time or don't get a job.
pongo38
#20
Feb16-11, 04:40 PM
P: 696
My first job was a vacation job for a consulting engineer. True, I only got a pittance and had to live in an old car, but it was two months experience, and I asked a lot of questions. After that the same firm offered me a 1 year job also on shabby pay, and then ... I had 14 months experience, and that counted for the next job. Frankly, the firm was doing me a favour, and they needed an intelligent dog's body. I fitted that role.
Curl
#21
Feb16-11, 05:51 PM
P: 757
Alright, a lot of good stuff here.

I got one more question:
In interviews, they'll likely ask why you are applying, what your goals are, etc. If I tell the straight-up truth "I don't care about this boring position, I just want to gain some experience and then ditch you to go work on gas turbine engines" then obviously it is equivalent to walking out. If I say I'm interested/passionate about the job, then I'd be lying, and I don't think it is a good idea. A third alternative is to BS something that sounds good, but I don't know how effective this is or if it is a good thing to do. So what is the best thing to say?
turbo
#22
Feb16-11, 06:03 PM
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Quote Quote by Curl View Post
Alright, a lot of good stuff here.

I got one more question:
In interviews, they'll likely ask why you are applying, what your goals are, etc. If I tell the straight-up truth "I don't care about this boring position, I just want to gain some experience and then ditch you to go work on gas turbine engines" then obviously it is equivalent to walking out. If I say I'm interested/passionate about the job, then I'd be lying, and I don't think it is a good idea. A third alternative is to BS something that sounds good, but I don't know how effective this is or if it is a good thing to do. So what is the best thing to say?
How about saying that you want to gain experience and grow into a better position? Freshly-degreed engineers are a dime a dozen. Show some enthusiasm! If you have some reason to work in that region (friends or families in the area), let them know about that, too, so it won't be that easy for a head-hunter to poach you if turn out to be good at what you do.

I could have made a LOT more money over the years if I had been willing to move away from Maine. I wasn't.
JaredJames
#23
Feb16-11, 09:21 PM
P: 3,387
Quote Quote by Curl View Post
I got one more question:
In interviews, they'll likely ask why you are applying, what your goals are, etc. If I tell the straight-up truth "I don't care about this boring position, I just want to gain some experience and then ditch you to go work on gas turbine engines" then obviously it is equivalent to walking out. If I say I'm interested/passionate about the job, then I'd be lying, and I don't think it is a good idea. A third alternative is to BS something that sounds good, but I don't know how effective this is or if it is a good thing to do. So what is the best thing to say?
Again, as per my CV comment, it's all in how you spin it. Make the situation relevant to you and the job even if it isn't even close.
russ_watters
#24
Feb16-11, 09:55 PM
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Quote Quote by Curl View Post
Here are the first postings under "engineering/arch" on craigslist for MEs (in order by date)....
Obviously, people don't just post entry-level jobs online, they post all jobs online, so you have to narrow your search appropriately. If you just search for all ME jobs, you'll probably find at most 5% of them are entry-level jobs. This should be both obvious and non-distressing.

I searched on Monster and it does a pretty crappy job of sorting by experience. So you may need to do it manually. I looked for ME jobs in a 50 mile radius of Philly and it there were 167 hits and it looks it could be about 5% entry-level. You'll also need to try both more general ("engineer") and more specific ("hvac engineer") search terms.
Rather than hearing "you're a whiny little b!tch" how about I hear your story? How did YOU get in? That's all I wanted to know.
1. By not being a "whiny little b!tch", for starters. You need to start accepting that this matters. A good interviewer can smell an attitude problem even if you're trying hard to hide it and there's no way they'll hire someone with an attitude. In an interview, you need to be confident but not arrogant, personable but not so laid-back you seem lazy, excited for the opportunity, but not desperate. Finding a job sucks, especially in a down economy. You need to be able to deal with it without showing frustration.

2. Apply for jobs with 2 years or less experience and play-up any practical experience you may have, such as a senior design project.

3. Apply for jobs below your skill level in the field you want. It's a poor economy, so you may have to accept such a job. In a firm like mine, an HVAC designer and an HVAC engneer have overlapping skillsets to the point where they can be indistinguishable. You'll probably start making 2/3 what you should, but it's better than working at McDonalds and will give you useful experience.

4. Buy [read] this book: http://www.amazon.com/What-Color-You...ref=pd_sim_b_1
It has useful advice and strategy and includes a healthy dose of realism and cheerleading, which you need.

5. As others said, job fairs and school career counselors are a good resource too.

For me personally, I had a little bit of experience working for my dad when I was in high school as an energy engineer. It wasn't much and wasn't directly related to the job, but it showed I could talk and think like an engineer when I described it. But what probably most got me the job was I was a Navy man and so was my boss.
Is anyone here in the US Military? I figure I could try that, work on planes and tanks, and if they have trouble they can send me in on the frontline -> sounds like a good selling point.
Well as a degreed engineer, I would certainly not enlist, I'd go in as an officer, but that's a pretty big commitment of time. Straight out of high school, it's good for getting your head on straight and using the military to pay for college, but most of that benefit has past for you.
Mech_Engineer
#25
Feb17-11, 10:13 AM
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Rather than hearing "you're a whiny little b!tch" how about I hear your story? How did YOU get in? That's all I wanted to know.
Lots of good advice being thrown around here. I empathize with your situation as I lived it (and I have many friends with this problem as well), so I'll give you my "in" story.

I worked on a side project with one of my professors analyzing a part in FEA. I did a good job and was proactive in the problem solving process, got paid a very small amount of money (like $300 total), but impressed the professor enough that he was willing to recommend me. Come time for the career fair at the university, I went and talked to a few companies but didn't really get any useful leads. I went to talk to that professor about my FEA class later on that afternoon, and a guy and his co-worker stops by to talk to the prof. It turns out he had him for a class when he was getting his degree 10 years ago or so, and he was at the career fair looking for a new mechanical engineer (but I missed his booth completely, oops). My professor mentioned in passing "if you're looking for a good engineer, I've got one for you right here" and *boom* I was in. Invited out for an interview, interviewed well and showed I had a good understanding in my classes and was hired on (above a PhD student with good grades but very little off-the-top-of-his-head useful knowledge, and an engineer with 7 yrs experience, but no real good quantification of what he had accomplished in his years of experience).

I think that overall, you'll find that networking is as important if not more so than grades. My guess is almost every engineer you meet will have a story of how a contact or friend or family member got them a job (Russ, a Navy man, was hired on by another Navy man for example). No networking, and you have to go based on grades alone, which means they had better be pretty damn good. This also explains why large companies like Lockheed-Martin and Boeing heavily weigh employee recommendations- networking matters!!! I personally got a job due to networking, social skills (a.k.a. "likeable"), understanding of core fundamental engineering concepts like design requirements (surprisingly, few new-grad engineering students have this), and good interviewing under pressure.
Ronnin
#26
Feb17-11, 11:38 AM
P: 208
Quote Quote by Mech_Engineer View Post
networking is as important if not more so than grades
I would say this is absolutely the biggest plus to any job search. Get out there and don't be affraid to meet people. You would be supprised how many opportunities come through networking. Even if you meet someone who can't help you that very moment, the world is very small. This is also why you never burn a bridge. I have had to walk over a few more than once.
batman394
#27
Feb19-11, 10:42 AM
P: 37
Quote Quote by Curl View Post
Everyone wants someone with 5+ years experience. Unfortunately, I'm a type of person who wasn't born with experience. I can't get experience because I lack the 5+ years of experience necessary to start gaining experience.

So how do I get past this Catch-22 loop?
What's your degree in? What kind of jobs are you applying for? Where/company name?

Also what kinds of things did you focus on in undergrad? What do you want to work on?

And, how did I get my first job?
I was hired as a graduate assistant at a research lab in my campus' University Park. How did I get it? I had applied there 2 other times previously in my undergrad, and gotten no reply. The summer between junior and senior year, I told the Chancellor of my university that I wanted to work at that lab. He's on the board of directors. And I had previously worked for the chancellor. He got me an interview, and they loved me. After my grad assistantship was up in a year, they hired me as a supervisor in the pilot plant to run the plant and train new interns.

I know that not everyone has the same connections I did. But in college, I was an RA, in Student Government, Hall council for my dorm, I was on Campus Activities board, I was in my ASME chapter, I used to do other fundraising work for the vice chancellor of student affairs, and I was on an Athletics committee for the Chancellor. And in my free time, I did engineering homework 6 nights a week, and I was a math tutor for the university.

I worked my *** off building social skills, and learning how to work with people. Why? Because the 30 other guys in my ME class used to stutter, faint, "umm umm", and flop sweat every time we had to give an in-class presentation, or hell even eat dinner alone in the campus food court. I was determined not to be that socially inept.

How did I get into each of those above positions? I asked, I applied, I told people I wanted it. I got into fundraising with the VC my freshman year because I walked up to him one day when he was in my dorm and told him that I wanted to work with him as a student leader.
huskerwr38
#28
Feb26-11, 07:14 AM
P: 23
Quote Quote by Curl View Post
I think I'll apply to be a security guard, at least I can put on my resume that I'm 6'1", lat 240lbs. and run the 100m in 12 sec.

Has anyone here done something of this sort? Any advice?
12 seconds is slow in the 100 meters. :) Kidding, however, like everyone here has said, plenty of good advice given. You just only want to hear what you want to hear and ignore all the other good advice.


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