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Advice for a physics graduate seeking employment please

  1. Mar 10, 2006 #1
    Dear all,

    I have an MPhys 2:1 honours degree from Sussex uni in the UK. Its a decent physics qualification. My referees think well of me as far as a I can tell. I am an intelligent chap with a strong physics vocation.

    However I have been unemployed for a year. At first I was very picky concerning location and I have been applying to PhD's in string theory. I've also been applying for work here and there. I'm running out of ideas and still havnt recieved any offers of employment from my numerous applications.

    Basically, now all I would ask for is interesting physics employment, in an interesting city anywhere in the world, that pays a decent wage (perhaps 15000 British pounds ?). I am bilingual in Spanish and English and have a talent for languages.

    Can it really be this hard to find something physics related to do somewhere in the world?! I'm getting really discouraged =( . Anyone have any ideas/advice/suggestions?

    Thanks in advance,

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 10, 2006 #2
    Go into engineering.
  4. Mar 10, 2006 #3
    Did you try applying to Sussex for your postgrad study?
  5. Mar 10, 2006 #4
    Like I said I have strong vocation for physics. Although I would consider work in engineering, for the sake of doing *something*... but I really want to work in physics, i really really do...

    One of my referees has moved to Canada, and the other is an honorary professor. Although I am confident the latter writes good references for me, I doubt I ever impressed him that much. Like I mentioned I have a decent qualification but nothing brilliant. I always thought a 2:1 would be enough and so thats what I went for in my degree. A mistake in hindsight.. I didnt really impress anyone at Sussex although I did do a decent job of my undergraduate studies... Also worth considering is that a year of asking for references from my two referees, with no result, makes me think they are getting a bit fed up. I would be fed up with me by now...

    Any other suggestions please?
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2006
  6. Mar 10, 2006 #5
    i think he likes a paid job not anything engineering, but if u think engineering can give paid job then help him make it real NOT( :anger) to say its real
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2006
  7. Mar 10, 2006 #6
    Huh? I guess I think that "engineering can give paid job" (?), so how do I "help him make it real NOT to say...its real".
  8. Mar 11, 2006 #7
    well I was thinking about this engineering idea you had, last night. The question I would have and what I think Drimar was getting at is that if we imagine I were to "go into engineering" how would I go about it?


  9. Mar 11, 2006 #8

    Think about what type of Engineering interests you. Would you look straight for employment, or consider doing a masters in engineering, for example, to improve your prospects. You could likely switch from Physics to large parts of engineering.
  10. Mar 11, 2006 #9
    Thanks for the reply mulder. I've never really thought about going into engineering so I wouldn't really know.

    Why do I get the impression people are telling me I should give up on physics? Is it really true that that without a first class degree you aren't considered good enough for physics work?! If so I really wish somebody had told me when I began the degree... =( Is my dream of working as a phycisist really over?

    I would like further posts to try and salvage my physics career instead of trying to convert it into something else that wouldn't make me very happy please =) if possible.. I repeat: I have a strong vocation for physics thx
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2006
  11. Mar 11, 2006 #10

    Dr Transport

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    You don't have to give up physics to go into engineering. I work with at least 10 people who have advacned physics degrees (Ms nad PhD) who work as an engineer/scientist for major aerospace firms.
  12. Mar 11, 2006 #11
    I don't know much about the market for physicists, but I do know something about selling and you may be selling yourself short. Engineering, for instance, is nothing but applied physics. Get the right engineering job and you may be quite happy using physics to solve engineering problems, (kind of hard to do with string theory, but then who knows ?), or even doing what you might consider "pure physics" as well if you're working in the right place.

    You may also be not "packaging" your skills as well as you might, to SELL yourself and those skills to a prospective employer. For instance, you might consider discussing your resume with a professional resume writer in order to see if there is something that can be improved on it, in order to make your skills, background or attitude seem more attractive. Many times the initial people looking at those resumes and "filtering" them are not the ones making the final decisions and you could be reducing your chances by not making the right appeal. If you have a lot of competition then you need to stand out in every way possible.

    I could go on at length, but I don't want to bore you. I know that it can be hard to do, but if you approach finding employment as a sales problem you may find an improved set of opportunities in places that you might not have considered before, (like maybe doing engineering work at a lab or school that does the type of physics that interests you. Sometimes the back door is better than the front entrance).
  13. Mar 11, 2006 #12
    That sounds really good Dr. Could you give me any pointers as to where I could start looking for such jobs please? (advertisements and such, specific websites, etc)

    As you might imagine my money situation isn't so good at the moment. I have attached a generic version of my C.V. (which was looked at by the careers advisor at university) in case anyone may have some constructive critiscism. thanks.

    A lab at university or in industry sounds great, I'll look out for those kind of job adverts, do you have any suggestions as to where to look? I've done my best using google.. heh :blushing:

    Thanks for all your replies, keep em coming please, I need all the help I can get! :blushing:

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2006
  14. Mar 12, 2006 #13
    The idea that one needs a PhD to do anything in physics is also beggining to sink in. If I greatly broaden my choices and apply to lots more places, not just string theory PhD's I suppose it should be quite possible for me to get into funded doctoral studies.. My only concern is that if I do a PhD in a field that isn't exactly what I want to go into career wise then I'll be stuck working in that field. I guess this isn't really a problem since there are many examples of people doing PhD's fairly unrelated to their later work. For example Heisenberg's PhD (although not as successful as he hoped) suggested the first method for deriving the critical Reynolds number, marking the transition from laminar to turbulent motion.. :P

    So if I do a PhD which will atleast provide a good grounding for what I want to study later on I should be ok no?
  15. Mar 12, 2006 #14

    Dr Transport

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    I found my job on HotJobs.com, matter a fact when I considered changing careers a few years ago, I went back to that website and was getting contacted within 2-3 weeks for interviews and other offers. After 2 years of inactivity, I still get an occasional email requesting my updated resume.
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