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Applying for summer engineering jobs at big companies through the computer advice

  1. Jul 7, 2007 #1

    I just finished my first year of engineering and I am going into chemical engineering. This summer, I must have applied at atleast 30+ engineering related jobs online at some fairly large companies. I havent gotten an interview at any of them.

    Just a few days ago, I was doing lawn service for an engineer. He mentioned that for getting an engineering job (even for the summer), it was probably the best to have connections and know people. I dont have that many connections just yet, so of course I am resorting to online applications at these big companies. This engineer that I was doing his garden for also mentioned that at most of these big companies, they use an automated system to scan your resume for keywords. Only after a few stages of filtration (if your application makes it that far), then human eyes may look at your application.

    Could someone verify if this is true? If so, what keywords do you think the computer may look for?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 7, 2007 #2


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    I know nothing of on-line doings. Others here can help you with that. My own approach would be to become very close friends with the guy that you've already met and are on good terms with. Take a 6-pack over to his place and spend some time talking about engineering stuff. (But do it as casual conversation between a couple of guys with similar interests, the same way that a couple of baseball fans would.) If you can impress him with your knowledge and dedication, then he might be able to open some doors for you at his place of employment.
  4. Jul 7, 2007 #3


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    You're in a tough place to be relying on on-line applications. You really have nothing for a resume. Are you certain that you applied for student positions?

    When you are looking for a student intern position, you are still fighting a very competitive fight. There are tons of students out there and most will have more than first year for their college experience.

    Honestly, I would think that the first year is too soon to be looking for an engineering internship. Your neighbor is pretty much correct, in my experience. Intern positions are few and far between these days. You really do need some kind of advantage.

    I don't want to be totally negative. However, you should utilize as many of your school's resources when it comes to things like this. Look for job fairs and see if your college has a coop program.
  5. Jul 9, 2007 #4


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    Yup, I agree with what was mentioned earlier. First year has nothing really special in terms of what you have to offer your potential employer. Hold it out and accumulate more engineering related credits [maybe till early in your 3rd year] and build relationships with your engineering professors; this would great for letters of recommendation. As far as my experience in concerned [ECE], most internships required at least some 3rd year engineering courses.
    And the first place to look for intern offers would be your university's placement website or placement/career office.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2007
  6. Jul 10, 2007 #5


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    I had this same problem applying for a co-op position when in my second year of engineering. Again, even part of the way through second year, most of us had no relevant experience and very little academic background either! Not only that, but if you are applying for co-op using a centralized online system run by the co-op department (which acts as an intermediary for companies looking to hire students), then you're competing against all of your classmates.

    That having been said, if this is NOT co-op, and you taking the initiative on your own to apply to companies on their company websites, then you are even worse off. First of all, these companies are NOT specifically looking to hire students. As a result, your resume is subject to the automatic screening process mentioned above (in many cases) and may well be put "on file" by some secretary, never passing across the desk of somebody with the power to hire people. Having your resume put "on file" for the possibility of it being consulting in the future when the company is actually looking to hire is tantatmount to having it thrown in the wastepaper basket. The company is more likely to hire somebody who is known quantity either because he has already worked there before or because he comes recommended from a trusted source.

    In your situation, it is best not to expect to land a technical engineering job, as others have mentioned. Not unless you have some sort of "in" (a contact person). It's true, having contacts is the best way to get hired. As a result, cold calling or cold e-mailing may be a better strategy in your situation, rather than using a company's online application process. This has the advantage of giving you interaction with a real live person, and the opportunity to make a case to him for why you should be hired. You have nothing to lose, and who cares if you get rejected (perhaps angriliy because you are bothering somebody who was not specifically looking for job applicants).

    The bottom line is that you have to get in touch with somebody who is important enough to actually hire you, and *do something that will make yourself stand out from all the other people he gets calling him out of the blue asking for a job.* For instance, one job I landed on the online co-op system was because in addition to the cover letter and resume, I uploaded a third document that nobody had asked for. It detailed a project I had done in the past. This docuement made it clear that I had specific knowledge about the work being done by the company that none of my classmates had. I was promptly hired.
  7. Jul 10, 2007 #6


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    Unforutunatly, sending blind resumes to any large company is a low odds crap shoot. As sad as it sounds the best way, the way that has worked over and over again, is to know someone on the inside. IF you know the right person at the right time a job is near certain. So, how do you get to know the right person? Simply have a active social life, go church, volunteer, look for opportunities to meet and interact with professionals.

    I met the contacts that got me my current job (HP) in the Boy Scouts.

    I would not recommend bars or wild parties. :rofl:
  8. Jul 15, 2009 #7
    Re: Applying for summer engineering jobs at big companies through the computer...advi


    Well, even if a full internship is too hard to reach the first few years, what are some good jobs that are at least tangentially related to physics/engineering/math that could look decent on a grad school app?
  9. Jul 16, 2009 #8
    Re: Applying for summer engineering jobs at big companies through the computer...advi

    Well I started my engineer carier with shovel in one hand and paintbrush in the other.
  10. Jul 24, 2009 #9
    Re: Applying for summer engineering jobs at big companies through the computer...advi

    My first engineering job had me walking along a pipeline setting up GPS and the rest of the time sleeping in a van. You'd be amazed how well I can dress that work experience up.
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