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What can I do with a very low GPA?

by bluebottle
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twofish-quant
#19
May16-12, 03:57 AM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by bluebottle View Post
Yes, but I'm afraid that my mediocrity academically will keep me from getting hired in the first place
From the information provided, it's not clear to me that you are mediocre academically.

You know, there are a bunch of on-line university-affiliated GPA calculators, but they all seem to give a different result. And there doesn't seem to be a "universal" GPA to percentage chart.
That's because different schools grade differently. If you are getting 60's when the average scores in your university is 90, that's bad. If you are getting 60's, when the average score in your university is 40, that's good.

Are you saying that physics employers won't ask to look at your transcript?
No they won't. The only thing that employers will typically do is to contact to school to make sure that you aren't outright lying on your resume. Employers usually will not look at your transcript, because it's a waste of time. Even if they did, it wouldn't mean anything.

Yes well, I'm looking ahead ;S The prospects look grim so i'm bracing myself... by asking questions first..
I don't know how grim there are.

Canada. I used the term "GPA" just because I thought GPA was basically a way of describing your weighted average.
Nope. Canadian dollars are different from US dollars. Canadian GPA's are different from US GPA's. US schools will give you a letter grade for each course and the GPA is calculated from those letter grades. Raw scores aren't included in the transcripts.

It's been remarked that people from other countries often consider US GPA's to be extremely inflated.

Mentally weighing things out, I'm saying I have a high-50/low-60 average.
Which tells me nothing.
StatGuy2000
#20
May16-12, 07:18 AM
P: 591
Quote Quote by twofish-quant View Post

No they won't. The only thing that employers will typically do is to contact to school to make sure that you aren't outright lying on your resume. Employers usually will not look at your transcript, because it's a waste of time. Even if they did, it wouldn't mean anything.


twofish-quant, what you say may be true in the US, but in Canada (where both the OP and I are from), it is not unusual for employers to request transcripts to screen potential employees, in part no doubt to determine whether you are being honest about earning your degree, but also to assess the academic performance of the candidate. This is particularly true of entry level positions for students coming straight out of university (I know, as I had to provide my transcripts for a number of positions I applied to).

That being said, many employers do not request transcripts so the OP can focus his/her attention on those positions (if he/she is considering seeking employment fresh out of his/her Bsc degree).
bluebottle
#21
May16-12, 10:14 PM
P: 10
Quote Quote by meldraft View Post
I really have no idea how your system works, but one thing people often do in Europe is get (another) master's degree. The cool thing is that (at least here) you can more often than not do as an MSc something quite irrelevant to your first degree. If there is something you believe you can be really good at, it might be an option. It's much easier to convince an employer that looks at your transcript, if you have good MSc grades. Plus, if it's going to boost your confidence, maybe it's worth it.
So you mean doing a master's degree, either in physics or in something "irrelevant"? But that's grad school isn't it? So do you recommend getting an MSc over going to community college?

And do you think it's more useful to get an MSc (or community college diploma) in a "technical" physics-related subject or a very non-related subject? Because I'm thinking the latter might give me more options, open up other career paths.. ?

Quote Quote by meldraft View Post
That said, my experience is also that employers tend not to look so much on your grades, as in other things you may have done in your life, in order to get an idea of what kind of person you are. If your CV suggests that you are an active and creative person, they won't worry so much because you got 60 in every exam and not 70.
*sigh* Further to being a bad student, I also had no life. I didn't join any clubs, play varsity sports, or do any volunteering.
So I am not an active and creative person. Though, I've recently been starting to change that...

Quote Quote by meldraft View Post
Just keep in mind that the only thing that good grades tell an employer is that you know how to study. Most employers don't care too much about that attribute though
I suppose so. :/

Quote Quote by meldraft View Post
Edit: One more thing, you said that noone in the physics field would want to hire you, but I'm getting the impression that you do not wish to be hired as a physicist either. Is this the case?
I want to be a physicist as far as someone can be a physicist with only a bachelor's degree. I want to use my undergrad degree -
but I was feeling like I won't be able to because employers will prefer to hire the guys on the "Dean's List"/honour-roll.

Quote Quote by meldraft View Post
There is a sad gap between academic excellence and professional excellence. When people are in the uni they link good grades to doing their job well. When they graduate, they naturally think that good grades will make employers hire them, because they were "good in their previous job (the university)". This is only one part of the story however, the other being the ability to prove what sort of person you are. You would be surprised by how carefully people look at what you wrote in the "personal interests" part of your CV! Don't get me wrong, saying that you like rock climbing doesn't get you hired to model superconductors, people still want you to be qualified for the job. If you are however, and the only thing stopping you is bad grades, you can overcome that by just getting across as a good professional.
In a way, that is encouraging. I can say that I'm an avid reader and go hiking now and again. However, can't everyone say something similar - or boast something way more impressive? Or even lie??

You're making me think that the hiring process is as follows:
  1. Check that they have a degree at all.
  2. Determine from their CV whether they have interesting hobbies and wholesome interests.
  3. Read their reference letters to see what their professors thought of them.
  4. Interview them and try to decide whether they're mature, intelligent and reliable as the professor may or may not have said.
  5. Decide to hire this person - over another person who went to MIT and got all A's but has a bit of a difficult personality, and has marginally duller interests than the other guy.
Actually... that doesn't seem too far-fetched... Though I know, there's probably a bias towards the big-name prestigious schools...
I suppose you've given me a little more hope, meldraft...

Quote Quote by twofish-quant View Post
From the information provided, it's not clear to me that you are mediocre academically.
I don't know how to give you a better idea.

Quote Quote by twofish-quant View Post
That's because different schools grade differently. If you are getting 60's when the average scores in your university is 90, that's bad. If you are getting 60's, when the average score in your university is 40, that's good.
Well, I can say that my school is a small-sized university and it doesn't have a reputation for science or math. It has very easy undergrad admissions. And there's only one first-year physics course (i.e. there isn't one freshman class for majors and another for non-majors; the freshman year starts at the very basics)
And besides those facts, all the other physics majors around me seem like they're knowledgeable and skilled with physics.... while I do not feel like one-half of what they are. (And that's not insecurity talking - it is a very clear observable fact that they're intellectually and academically thriving in the system while I'm just hanging on by my fingernails.)

Quote Quote by twofish-quant View Post
No they won't. The only thing that employers will typically do is to contact to school to make sure that you aren't outright lying on your resume. Employers usually will not look at your transcript, because it's a waste of time. Even if they did, it wouldn't mean anything.
So they're just happy that you got a degree? Really? All other things being the same ("ceteris paribus"), the guy who barely passed is just as likely to get hired as the guy who got A's in everything?

Quote Quote by StatGuy2000 View Post
twofish-quant, what you say may be true in the US, but in Canada (where both the OP and I are from), it is not unusual for employers to request transcripts to screen potential employees, in part no doubt to determine whether you are being honest about earning your degree, but also to assess the academic performance of the candidate. This is particularly true of entry level positions for students coming straight out of university (I know, as I had to provide my transcripts for a number of positions I applied to).

That being said, many employers do not request transcripts so the OP can focus his/her attention on those positions (if he/she is considering seeking employment fresh out of his/her Bsc degree).
And what positions might those be?


So it seems I should either move to the US or just keep on job-searching?
lol it might be faster for me to get a US green card than to find a (Canadian) employer who'll hire me for an entry-level position!

---

Look, maybe I'm being far too pessimistic or maybe my grades wouldn't be considered that genuinely awful. But okay, in terms of advice, please just assume that I'm being realistic and accurate.

Thanks for everybody's advice so far.
twofish-quant
#22
May16-12, 10:58 PM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by StatGuy2000 View Post
it is not unusual for employers to request transcripts to screen potential employees, in part no doubt to determine whether you are being honest about earning your degree, but also to assess the academic performance of the candidate.
One option if you have bad marks on your transcript is to consider moving to the US. I know that it's easy for Canadians to get a NAFTA work visa.
twofish-quant
#23
May16-12, 11:15 PM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by bluebottle View Post
*sigh* Further to being a bad student, I also had no life. I didn't join any clubs, play varsity sports, or do any volunteering.
I think that may be seriously hurting you in this situation. One way of finding out what jobs are out there is to talk to people that have gotten jobs. Also, universities have career services centers, that handle this sort of thing.

As far as getting work, being socially inept or being painfully shy is going to be a much bigger handicap than having a bad GPA.

In a way, that is encouraging. I can say that I'm an avid reader and go hiking now and again. However, can't everyone say something similar - or boast something way more impressive? Or even lie??
Because HR people and employers look aren't idiots. If you say you are an avid reader, that means nothing. If you can write something *testable* (i.e. you have organized book conventions and that you have written reviews for a major magazine) that means nothing.

Saying that you hike means nothing. Anyone can say that. Not everyone can say that they've won a national hiking award or that they've walked the length of Alaska.


You're making me think that the hiring process is as follows:
1) People don't do fact checking until late in the process. It's assumed through the interview process that you are telling the truth, because you are dead at the end if you weren't.

2) Reference letters are useless. No one cares what other people think of you. If your professor hated you, it might be because you had a personality conflict. Also because people sue each other, even if someone hated you, they aren't going to write that in a letter.

3) Personality matters a lot. I sit next to the same people for 12 hours a day, and if I interview someone and I think I'm going to go insane sitting next to them for 12 hours a day, that's not going to work.

Also, the school in which most people get 60's on tests is MIT. MIT's teaching philosophy is to make the tests killer, so that you never get anything close to 100. They curve everything so that most people get decent GPA's.

So they're just happy that you got a degree? Really? All other things being the same ("ceteris paribus"), the guy who barely passed is just as likely to get hired as the guy who got A's in everything?
All other things are never the same. I know people that barely passed my university that didn't have too much difficulty getting jobs.

Look, maybe I'm being far too pessimistic or maybe my grades wouldn't be considered that genuinely awful. But okay, in terms of advice, please just assume that I'm being realistic and accurate.
The first thing to do when you are in a bad situation is to figure out how bad the situation really is. It makes a big difference whether you failed all of your classes, or if you are just having a difficult time. Also, I don't know whether the problem is that you really have knowledge issues or if the problems are unrealistic expectations or social skills.
meldraft
#24
May17-12, 05:20 AM
P: 280
And it all boils down on how well you know your stuff. I barely passed mathematics in uni, but the things taught in that very course are feeding my belly right now So, no, it matters much more whether you know something in contrast to having a good grade at it (and you can always prove that in your interview).

The suggestion to do an MSc would be applicable if there is something you would rather be apart from a pure physicist. It is a good way to specialize yourself in something you find interesting (now that you have already had 3 years to see what you like and what not), and the bonus is that once you have an MSc, even if an employer looks at the transcript, he will probably look at your most recent (and relevant) one (the MSc).

I have always thought that people can do very well academically if they are interested in what they are studying, so this is my suggestion really. Find something that really interests you and go for it. You might as well take your time and spend a couple of years out there working in order to make up your mind in what you want to specialize in
StatGuy2000
#25
May17-12, 07:19 AM
P: 591
Quote Quote by twofish-quant View Post
One option if you have bad marks on your transcript is to consider moving to the US. I know that it's easy for Canadians to get a NAFTA work visa.
twofish-quant, this is not as simple as you make it sound. From my understanding, Canadians typically only get a NAFTA work visa (of which there are several types) only if the following conditions apply:

(1) Their profession must be on the NAFTA Professional Job List

(2) The US requires a NAFTA professional

(3) The Canadian applicant will work for a US employer

(4) The Canadian applicant is qualified for the NAFTA profession (this involves showing proof of professional employment as well as qualifications, including degree, transcripts, etc.)

The information on applying for the NAFTA Visa can be found in the weblink below.

http://www.tnvisaexpert.com/overview/nafta-work-visa/
StatGuy2000
#26
May17-12, 07:29 AM
P: 591
bluebottle, I know that many of the respondents here (most of whom I suspect are American) tell you that grades do not matter that much for employment, but that is only true if you can demonstrate other abilities beside schoolwork (for example, do you have artistic talent or skills as a programmer, in which you can show a portfolio of your skills) or have participated in extracurricular activities (which you say you didn't), or have work experience while you were in school. Otherwise, the only thing that an employer has to go on is your record at university.



Let me be absolutely blunt here -- you are at a serious disadvantage compared to your other students (one person suggested applying for a Msc in another field, but at least here in Canada, that's not an option) in just about anything. So unless you have some way to demonstrate other abilities (maybe by studying programming or something else), my advice is one of the following:

(1) Go pursue a program at community college, possibly in a technically related field (in Canada, community colleges tend to focus on vocational training, whereas in the US many community colleges offer preparatory courses for 4-year colleges/universities), and be prepared to work hard and do well in your courses. This would at least give you some marketable skills in the work force.

or

(2) Pursue a second undergraduate degree (either at your current university, or at another university) in a different program (what that program is depends on you). And this time, work on improving your study habits and discipline and be prepared to do well in your studies.
Astronuc
#27
May17-12, 07:46 AM
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Quote Quote by bluebottle View Post
I am finishing my physics Bachelor's of Science degree.

I got 50-70% grades in every course from first year to fourth year. Also, I never got any research experience. I have neither academic or non-academic distinctions. Nothing special at all - I was just a thoroughly mediocre student.

I guess no one in the physics field would want to hire me. What specific careers in what fields should I try to pursue instead?
Or should I enrol in a technical program at a community college, in order to get some practical skills?
After a 4-yr program, what academic subject or curriculum does one think one should have pursued? In other words, if one did it over again, what would one do? What professional area is of interest?

If one did poorly in the undergrad program, one might not qualify for graduate school.

Don't despair - http://finance.yahoo.com/topics/fina...-29296511.html
The key is to look for opportunity and pursue something in which one is motivated and finds interesting.
twofish-quant
#28
May17-12, 09:01 PM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by StatGuy2000 View Post
twofish-quant, this is not as simple as you make it sound. From my understanding, Canadians typically only get a NAFTA work visa (of which there are several types) only if the following conditions apply
And those are "rubber stamp" conditions. If you have a technical job offer, you satisfy them.

You get a job offer from a reasonably sized corporation and someone in HR fills out the paperwork. The thing that makes NAFTA work visas "easy" is that there isn't a quota. This means that companies will interview first and then worry about visa issues later.

You can't do that with H-1B's because there is a quota. So even if you are the perfect candidate, the employer may not be able to hire you. The other thing is that non-Canadian visas have a "worker displacement" condition. Essentially, you can't sponsor someone for an H-1B visa unless you can show that there are no local people who are qualified for the position, and this is hard to show, and perhaps impossible now since it isn't true. Finally, there are issues with interviewing. Canadian citizens can easily go to the US for an interview without a visa, whereas this is hard for people in other countries.
twofish-quant
#29
May17-12, 09:52 PM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by StatGuy2000 View Post
Otherwise, the only thing that an employer has to go on is your record at university.
The problem is that at least for the jobs that I'm familiar with that's not a good situation to be in even if you have a 4.0 GPA. Someone with a great personality and good extracurriculars and a 2.5 GPA is going to get hired over someone with a lousy personality and no extracurriculars but a perfect GPA. GPA's matter in employment, but they are a minor consideration.

The thing that employers are nervous about are perfect people that can't handle an imperfect world. If you have a 2.5 GPA, and you just keep swinging at the ball, that's preferred over someone that has a 4.0 GPA that emotionally self-destructs the second they get a B-.

Pursue a second undergraduate degree (either at your current university, or at another university) in a different program (what that program is depends on you). And this time, work on improving your study habits and discipline and be prepared to do well in your studies.
That might hurt you. I know of a lot of employers for whom a second bachelors degree is an extremely negative indicator, because it shows that you can't survive outside of school.

One thing that I would suggest is to at least try to get a job (any job).

Let's ask this question. Suppose you had a perfect GPA, what would you do? OK. Why can't you do it? If you aren't applying for jobs because your GPA is awful, that's going to be more crippling than having an awful GPA.
bluebottle
#30
May17-12, 11:36 PM
P: 10
Quote Quote by twofish-quant View Post
The first thing to do when you are in a bad situation is to figure out how bad the situation really is. It makes a big difference whether you failed all of your classes, or if you are just having a difficult time. Also, I don't know whether the problem is that you really have knowledge issues or if the problems are unrealistic expectations or social skills.
I think I have knowledge issues and a little bit of "social skills" issues (i.e. I don't have a "scintillating" personality and, on paper, appear to have no interests or hobbies...)

Quote Quote by StatGuy2000 View Post
bluebottle, I know that many of the respondents here (most of whom I suspect are American) tell you that grades do not matter that much for employment, but that is only true if you can demonstrate other abilities beside schoolwork (for example, do you have artistic talent or skills as a programmer, in which you can show a portfolio of your skills) or have participated in extracurricular activities (which you say you didn't), or have work experience while you were in school. Otherwise, the only thing that an employer has to go on is your record at university.


Let me be absolutely blunt here -- you are at a serious disadvantage compared to your other students
Annndddd that's what I was expecting to hear!
I have bad grades (at least, highly unimpressive ones), no provable abilities, no extracurriculars and no work experience.

You guys are talking about moving to America - I think my all-around poor CV makes me unemployable both north and south of the 49th parallel.
And besides that, don't Americans prefer to hire Americans?
Like, I could try to apply in the US okay, but hey I might as well also apply to the UK. Eh?

Quote Quote by StatGuy2000 View Post
(1) Go pursue a program at community college, possibly in a technically related field (in Canada, community colleges tend to focus on vocational training, whereas in the US many community colleges offer preparatory courses for 4-year colleges/universities), and be prepared to work hard and do well in your courses. This would at least give you some marketable skills in the work force.
And that's what I was thinking about from the first post of this thread. This option seems the most attractive to me. Because a community college diploma is directly related to a particular career so I could choose that career, or the diploma can serve to spruce up my existing CV and get me a career requiring my bachelor's of science.

Quote Quote by StatGuy2000 View Post
(2) Pursue a second undergraduate degree (either at your current university, or at another university) in a different program (what that program is depends on you). And this time, work on improving your study habits and discipline and be prepared to do well in your studies.
That might be a good idea, only it sounds unappealing because it'll take me another 3-4 years and there's no guarantee that I'll get much better grades the second time around.


I've read that physics graduates who don't go into the physics field generally end up in engineering, finance or computing. That was the other thing I was wondering about in the first post. I'm not into computing, but engineering and finance sound reasonable.

I think I'll just have to decide whether the positions I want in engineering or in finance would be okay with a 2-3 year community college diploma or whether I'd need another full undergraduate degree. I think that's what I have to think about now.

I just read an AIP report [which I can't link to because I have less than 10 posts on this forum!] [google "AIP physics bachelors initial employment" and it's the first link]. Of the 2006-2007 physics bachelor's who managed to immediately find a job after graduation, 30% were employed in non-STEM fields. I had wondered if it was possible for me to do that, but now I'm guessing that they either did a double-major or minored in a non-STEM subject, eh?


---


So okay everybody. I think it's settled that I'm neither going to be employed nor in graduate school after I officially get my bachelor's.
If you read that report, it says 4% of the 2006-2007 physics graduates were unemployed after the first year. It appears that I will form the new "4%" for the 2012 physics graduates. What I want to know is whether I should
  1. pursue some technical course of study at a community college [and either end up as an "electrical engineering technician" or go into electric engineering (as an example)]
    [now that I see the stats, it's probably quite likely that I won't get something directly physics-related]
  2. pursue a second undergraduate degree in finance or engineering and hope that increases my prospects for higher-level finance/engineering/physics careers, etc.
But I suppose that'll be my decision to make.


Thanks to everyone for the help. I've really appreciated it. (You can continue commenting on this thread though; I'm still taking whatever advice you want to give.)
bluebottle
#31
May17-12, 11:53 PM
P: 10
Whoops didn't see that last post there.

Quote Quote by twofish-quant View Post
One thing that I would suggest is to at least try to get a job (any job).
I'm currently job searching. :) And I'm getting involved in some volunteering right now. So I am trying to improve that part of my CV.

Quote Quote by twofish-quant View Post
Let's ask this question. Suppose you had a perfect GPA, what would you do? OK. Why can't you do it? If you aren't applying for jobs because your GPA is awful, that's going to be more crippling than having an awful GPA.
To be honest, I don't know what specific jobs I would be applying for. I would go for the research labs, call them up, see what's available for physics bachelor's, and do the whole job-seeking dance.

If you're suggesting that I just try - throw myself out there and see what they say - well, yes I am going to do that. I am going to try with a few of the physics employers.

But I don't anticipate success. And the stats are on my side; most physics bachelor's don't get careers in physics. I'm mainly going for an engineering job, or a business or finance job, because I think that's far more likely. But with a bad CV overall, it looks like I'll need either a second degree or some time in community college.
twofish-quant
#32
May18-12, 04:58 AM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by bluebottle View Post
I have bad grades (at least, highly unimpressive ones), no provable abilities, no extracurriculars and no work experience.
Of the things on the list, the bad grades are probably the least of your problems.

And besides that, don't Americans prefer to hire Americans?
No they don't in the major technology centers. Work visas often force companies to look for US residents first, but that's why the NAFTA visa is useful.

So okay everybody. I think it's settled that I'm neither going to be employed nor in graduate school after I officially get my bachelor's.
Since you asked for harsh criticism........

I think the way that you are reacting to events is going to be a far, far worse handicap to your getting a job than your GPA. You haven't sent out any resumes, you haven't even *tried* to get a job, and already you've given up.

This isn't the type of personality employers like. Someone royally screws up. You end up the laughing stock of major newspapers and television news. If you react to that by just giving up, that's bad.

This is precisely why employers don't like people that have too many degrees.

I can't talk about community colleges because Canadian community colleges can be somewhat different than US community colleges. I can talk about finance and engineering, and I can tell you that getting a job as a dishwasher is going to look better on your resume than another undergraduate degree.
twofish-quant
#33
May18-12, 05:03 AM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by bluebottle View Post
To be honest, I don't know what specific jobs I would be applying for. I would go for the research labs, call them up, see what's available for physics bachelor's, and do the whole job-seeking dance.
The first thing is to stop by your careers office at your university. The second thing is to network with your peers to find out where they are looking for work.

But I don't anticipate success. And the stats are on my side; most physics bachelor's don't get careers in physics.
Redefine success. If you are employed doing anything. You win.

I'm mainly going for an engineering job, or a business or finance job, because I think that's far more likely. But with a bad CV overall, it looks like I'll need either a second degree or some time in community college.
A second undergraduate degree is going to make your CV worse unless it's something *wildly* different than physics. If Canadian community colleges are similar to US community colleges, then that's also bad.
StatGuy2000
#34
May18-12, 07:16 AM
P: 591
Quote Quote by twofish-quant View Post
The first thing is to stop by your careers office at your university. The second thing is to network with your peers to find out where they are looking for work.



Redefine success. If you are employed doing anything. You win.



A second undergraduate degree is going to make your CV worse unless it's something *wildly* different than physics. If Canadian community colleges are similar to US community colleges, then that's also bad.
twofish-quant, I often agree with you (specifically, I agree with your suggestion about networking with peers), but on the question of getting a second degree or diploma, I completely disagree, at least for those in Canada (the situation in the US may be different). First of all, nowhere do you have to list the fact that you pursued a second undergraduate degree on your resume (and employers in Canada will not ask how many degrees you have). So pursuing a 2nd undergraduate degree will not have a negative impact on employment.

Second of all, Canadian community colleges differ considerably from American community colleges in a number of respects. First of all, many community colleges in Canada do not offer the equivalent of the first 2 years of a general liberal arts & science degree in their course lists that American community colleges do; their primary goal is to provide diplomas in practical, technical areas (e.g. engineering technology/technicians, graphic design, automotive technologies, electricians, nursing, MRI technicians, etc.)

Furthermore, many community colleges offer post-undergraduate certificate/diploma programs (i.e. certification programs after you earn your 4-year undergraduate degree in university). For example, there is a 2-year post-undergraduate certificate clinical research associate (CRA) program, meant to train people to work as clinical research coordinators for health care organizations and pharmaceuticals.
StatGuy2000
#35
May18-12, 07:26 AM
P: 591
Quote Quote by twofish-quant View Post
And those are "rubber stamp" conditions. If you have a technical job offer, you satisfy them.

You get a job offer from a reasonably sized corporation and someone in HR fills out the paperwork. The thing that makes NAFTA work visas "easy" is that there isn't a quota. This means that companies will interview first and then worry about visa issues later.

You can't do that with H-1B's because there is a quota. So even if you are the perfect candidate, the employer may not be able to hire you. The other thing is that non-Canadian visas have a "worker displacement" condition. Essentially, you can't sponsor someone for an H-1B visa unless you can show that there are no local people who are qualified for the position, and this is hard to show, and perhaps impossible now since it isn't true. Finally, there are issues with interviewing. Canadian citizens can easily go to the US for an interview without a visa, whereas this is hard for people in other countries.
My point earlier was that for a Canadian to obtain a NAFTA work visa, he/she would already need to have a technical job offer from a firm with positions available in the US. Once the offer is available, then you are indeed correct -- the visa is a rubber-stamp (unlike the H-1B's, where there indeed is a quota).

You also have a point about the relative ease with which Canadian citizens can go to the US for an interview (having flown to NJ for an interview myself -- although given that I'm a dual American/Canadian citizen, the NAFTA visa is not applicable to me).
DragonPetter
#36
May18-12, 08:55 AM
P: 834
My experience with previous HR and managers in my old job was that they tended to be star struck pretty easily. If my old boss got a resume on his desk with a second degree listed, he would have been really excited (which is humorous in retrospect), and the HR lady would not have any technical knowledge to make him skeptical. You might get away with not even including your GPA on your resume. The problem is that most employers value experience more than degree/GPA, and so finding your first job is often the most challenging one.

OP, you need to realize that there are lots of other people just like you, or even in worse situations. There are lots of mediocre students who got a job and stuck with it. Just like you are not the cream of the crop of your class, there are plenty of companies who are not the cream of the crop in their industry. Don't expect to get hired at a majorly successful and renowned technical company, although you should still apply to those places too. The mechanical engineering department at my old job had a boss who didn't even have a bachelors degree, and many managers are so out of touch with technical aspects that they care more about how you carry a conversation at lunch. You need to evaluate your skills and personality, and determine if you are competent at anything relevant in the jobs you are looking at. Competency is visible to anyone you work with, and you don't want to be the incompetent guy anywhere you end up at. At my previous job, I came across several incompetent workers who managed to be hired and keep their job.

On the other hand, you have not helped yourself much at all to counter the poor GPA. A 2-year technology degree would be really useful. One path you could take is electronics tech school and find an entry level job, and then go into a 2 year grad school program for medical physics to become a radiation physicist, where you can have a job as a consultant with medical equipment/software or work for a company that calibrates and repairs the machines. Those jobs actually pay a lot, and someone who had mediocre performance in a physics program probably could pull it off without much trouble.

The other thing that could be your big break is if you could find an internship. I'm surprised you didn't look for one last year when you knew your grades were shaky. You won't be paid well, but it gives you a great chance to prove yourself to your employer (and maybe boost your low confidence) and also you will have real work experience to put on your CV.

This may sound depressing, but within reason, take what you can get. You will get something, it just might not be your dream job, but it will be a stepping stone to something better.


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