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Airforce after gradution

  1. Oct 7, 2011 #1
    So I am a Electrical Engineering Major and still have two years left to graduate, minimum. I still have no experience in the field and have only my own personal research and projects to base my future on in part. I want to serve this country in the Airforce after I graduate. With this said and the fact that I love magnetism and lasers, I am at a loss. I do not know whether it would be beneficial for my career as an engineer to go into the Airforce because of hireability post military.
    In short I need to know from those who have worked with or served in the Airforce, was the experience beneficial positive in the aspects of career, personal life, and pay?

    And, what can I do to prepare an excellent resume for the service (which companies to intern for, any national competitions they focus on, etc.)?

    I ask this because internships are far and wide and with my major, I could potential get into anything electrical
    Would I get further in the private sector after graduation as compared to the service where i would spend those 5 years in active duty and then finding a job after that?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 7, 2011 #2
    Try and get a job with the Navy at their weapons R&D lab. They're developing all sorts of great laser-based weapons for use on the high seas to shoot down cruise missiles, burn holes in the outboard motors of small boats, and of course everyone's favorite: the railgun.

    There really isn't a huge downside to military service. You know how to work as a team, I'm assuming you'll be going for a commission vice enlisting so you'll have practical leadership experience, you should be able to work well under pressure/stress. I will forewarn you that while you're having fun driving a desk and shooting stuff with lasers (if you actually get to do that, I really don't know what 2LT and 1LT's do in the Air Force) everyone else is getting their foot in the corporate/acadmic ladder which means you'll be 4 years behind them.

    I've got a Physics degree and am getting out of the Navy in January after 4 years. Regretably I didn't get to do anything super phsyicsy or mathy or engineery, I watched some engines run, saw some fuel oil spill into the bilge, drove a ship around... the most practical thing I did was set up and run several occupational health and safety programs. Which was fun. I'm looking for a job with my impending civilianhood approaching and can't find much that is entry level with a Physics degree. Plenty with a Chemistry or Biology degree, maybe a few Engineering degrees, but not Physics. Everything else requires specific accreditations/certifications or 1-5 years of experience in that field. I know, how do you get hired in the field to get experience if you need experience to get hired? The circle had to have started somewhere...

    So, I think I might go be a cashier at Target. But don't let that deter you.

    Also, realize you'll probably go to Afghanistan at some point. You probably won't go outside the wire, which is good, but you'll still be in Afghanistan. Not saying it will happen, but be prepared for it. Once you raise your hand and take that oath, the military says what you do, what you wear, where you go, how you get there, what you eat, who you talk to, how long your fingernails will be, what size shoe you'll wear, what medical treatment you will and will not recieve, etc. Again, don't let it scare you, just be aware that it is what it is.
     
  4. Oct 7, 2011 #3
    "There really isn't a huge downside to military service. You know how to work as a team, I'm assuming you'll be going for a commission vice enlisting so you'll have practical leadership experience, you should be able to work well under pressure/stress. I will forewarn you that while you're having fun driving a desk and shooting stuff with lasers (if you actually get to do that, I really don't know what 2LT and 1LT's do in the Air Force) everyone else is getting their foot in the corporate/acadmic ladder which means you'll be 4 years behind them.

    I've got a Physics degree and am getting out of the Navy in January after 4 years. Regretably I didn't get to do anything super phsyicsy or mathy or engineery, I watched some engines run, saw some fuel oil spill into the bilge, drove a ship around... the most practical thing I did was set up and run several occupational health and safety programs. Which was fun. I'm looking for a job with my impending civilianhood approaching and can't find much that is entry level with a Physics degree. Plenty with a Chemistry or Biology degree, maybe a few Engineering degrees, but not Physics. Everything else requires specific accreditations/certifications or 1-5 years of experience in that field. I know, how do you get hired in the field to get experience if you need experience to get hired? The circle had to have started somewhere..."


    This is what I was trying to find out exactly. Now I dont mean to be rude about this next question and it comes from complete curiosity. While you served, did you have the opportunity to volunteer for more work related to your field, meaning could you have found a way to get into special projects and chose not to or did you just go where they told you because there wasn't much of a choice?

    " Everything else requires specific accreditations/certifications or 1-5 years of experience in that field. I know, how do you get hired in the field to get experience if you need experience to get hired? The circle had to have started somewhere..." This part makes me worry because this is exactly what I am finding everywhere for entry level positions and internships now want people with professional experience too. Is this just BS to weed ppl out and deter others from applying for a position or is it real?
     
  5. Oct 7, 2011 #4
    I served 6 years in the Navy, and post military careers were in all honesty, pretty available to me. I think it really depends on what it is you do in the military. Can the Airforce promise you a specific position after you complete OCS? You might want to look into your prospective military "job" and then check out the job listings to see if it's desirable by the local contractors. There are TONS of resources out there to help vets find jobs. A big plus for me was that the military allowed me to exit service with a security clearance. That alone opened many doors in my case.
     
  6. Oct 12, 2011 #5
    No, not really any say in getting to do one thing over another. In fact, I got to do exactly what I wasn't supposed to do as per regulations, so even if you think "Oh yeah, this program guarantees me to do X Y and Z!" you may just end up doing P, Q, and D instead. It really depends though. A friend of mine is currently working with the Air Force tracking space trash which is pretty awesome. She loves it.

    The good news is you get to do a little bit of a lot of stuff in the military. I've done human resources, engineering, industrial hygiene... really helped me discover a passion for safety. I know, it's weird, but I like it.

    Also, I absolutely have to echo QuarkCharmer's point about leaving with a clearance. Rock solid right there, companies will hire you if you have an active clearance just because you have the clearance, everything else be damned. They're really expensive for companies to invest in people upfront not knowing if they'll be any good or not. This way they can bring you on without having to front the $25-50k or whatever it costs these days and if you suck they can let you go without that investment being lost.
     
  7. Oct 12, 2011 #6
    So clearance is that important?!?!?!?!? And I am guessing that at that point in your career they wont really care about GPA in college. Ok well my final question then is how to get into a position that gives you clearance or does just being in the military give you that?
     
  8. Oct 12, 2011 #7
    Clearance goes a long way. Not all jobs require a clearance. But say you're a biochemist and you want to work developing bio and chemical weapons. Going to need a clearance. You'd be surprised the things that are classified. Anyways.

    You have to submit a boatload of paperwork. Then they come and interview you. Then they interview people that know you. And not necessarily the ones you list on the paperwork you previously filled out. They look to see if you're doing things illegally. They'll ask if you're trustworthy. If you've living within your means. Etc. It's pretty awesome.

    Probably my favorite is when they ask about your foreign travel and whether you made contact with any foreign nationals. Same with your family I think. They take classified information very seriously.
     
  9. Oct 12, 2011 #8
    It usually depends on your job in the military. I don't know much about how that works in the Airforce. You can usually determine if a clearance is required by looking at your job title, and the platform you are working on. You need to be sure you understand your contract before you sign anything. You need to be sure that you are promised in writing your pay, benefits, job, platform, and whatever else you desire. Whether or not your preferred branch of the military will/can do that is anyone's guess. I know how the Navy operates only.

    Having a previous clearance definitely helped me get a job after the military. I don't know how it works for certain, as I did not do administrative work on the topic, but I was told that it costs X dollars to perform the background check, call your school teachers, talk to your parents, friends, old employers and all that. Where X is a fairly large amount. Since having a clearance previously increased your chances of obtaining one again, if not, circumventing the whole background process, it would save the company money to know that you will pass it. Rather than them spend X on a person who will fail it. That was the explanation I got as to why it aids in employment favoritism. Not to mention, veterans have a preference already.

    Yeah, I was amazed at how thorough they were.

    As for the boatload of paperwork, when I submitted my giant packet, we did it all online through a program they provide you, which does god knows what. But it makes the process a bit easier.
     
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