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Physics Desperate for help with job hunting

  1. Aug 25, 2016 #1
    I have my BS in physics and am looking for anything , anything that i may be qualified for above 35k a year. I worked too hard to make $10-20 an hour and want something viable that i can excel at.

    Does anyone have any job hunting tips? job titles that i may be qualified for? etc

    ive been working retail for a year post graduation ... its miserable, and i cannot find a job / internship for the life of me, i've been looking so hard....

    please don't suggest getting my masters or phd in physics, i have 0 interest, as it gets way too abstract for my tastes.

    i really wish i just chose engineering as my major.... sigh.....my little brother is making $60k a year as a civil engineer as a fresh graduate in arizona; however, i chose physics because i love it
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 25, 2016 #2


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    What skills do you actually have that would be useful to an employer ?
  4. Aug 25, 2016 #3


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    To the OP:

    Following up on what Nidum had spoken, during your BS program, have you ever pursued internship or research opportunities while in school? Do you have any programming knowledge or experience? Do you have knowledge of statistics?

    On a separate note, how have you been searching for work? Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Have you networked (perhaps contacting your old professors, past graduates from your program, attending local conferences, maybe even speaking to your brother in Arizona, etc.)?

    You need to understand that employers are primarily concerned about what specific skills a potential candidate possesses that would be of benefit to them. You need to make the case that you possess the skills that are in demand. Depending on the answers you provide above, it doesn't sound like you have developed any marketable or immediately employable skills during your school, in which case you need to develop these somehow.

    You state that you're not interested in a MS or PhD in physics. If you are absolutely dead set against further graduate studies in physics (including more practical fields like medical physics), then I would suggest a terminal masters program in another, cognate field that have solid employment prospects like computer science, statistics, or electrical engineering (it shouldn't be too difficult for a physics graduate to pursue such fields). Barring that, perhaps training programs offered at community colleges (e.g. X-ray or MRI technicians -- these would be especially useful for someone with an understanding of physics) may be of benefit of you.
  5. Aug 25, 2016 #4
    Check out this article on the American Institute of Physics website. I lists employers in each state who have recently hired person with BS degrees in Physics. Find out who have job openings and what specifically they are looking for in skills.
  6. Aug 25, 2016 #5


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    1. Professional Presence
      I know this may seem trivial, but the typing in your post is informal and does not use proper sentences, capitalization, or grammar. It does not reflect the abilities of someone who has successfully completed a bachelor's degree in physics. Most employers will do at least a quick online search of any person they are seriously considering for a position. If you're hunting for a job, to the extent that you can control it, you want to try to present yourself online in a manner consisted with that which you are presenting to potential employers. This means everything from typing properly to cleaning up your Facebook or other social media pages.

    2. "Anything" is Too Broad
      I know at this point you're focused on just getting out of where you're currently at. But in my experience if your goals are too diverse you won't be able to make a serious run at any particular position or industry. Instead, try to narrow your scope to a particular industry for a while. As others have said, you have to look at your skill set and figure out how it measures up in that industry. Then, if you really want to advance in that area, you need to build yourself up to become a better candidate for the available positions - take additional courses, research the field, figure out how to make contacts in the field, attend conferences, etc.

    3. Don't Rely on Your Degree
      Unfortunately most of the people who really appreciate what a bachelor's degree in physics means are other people who have a bachelor's degree in physics. Most human resources people won't have much technical understanding about what their company or industry does and so won't be able to translate from your education into skills that they need. You have an education in physics. But now you need to figure out what skills you have (or what skills you can develop) that employers are going to want, and demonstrate in a clear manner that you have them.
  7. Aug 25, 2016 #6
    i made this post drunk....at 3am....so, yea ....
  8. Aug 25, 2016 #7


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    Your reply doesn't adhere to the good advice Choppy gave. As you improve your image you will get more interest from employers.
  9. Aug 25, 2016 #8
    I find it intriguing that considering all the questions and good answers the people here gave you, the only thing you did was reply with an excuse.

    Nidum's question is very pertinent to the matter at hand. What exactly do you know, outside of physics? What skills can you put on your resume that might attract job prospects?
    Do you have any experiences outside of the physics curriculum, such as software engineering, data analysis or anything that might help? If not, are you willing to put in the time to get these skills?
    Concerning grad school, have you looked into closely related fields such as computer science and engineering? What about experimental physics or medical physics?
  10. Aug 25, 2016 #9


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    You do realize that 20$ a hour is over 35K a year right? That annual salary is actually around 17 a hour. Hopefully you didn't get an offer letter for 17 and refused, because it's basically what you asked for.
  11. Aug 25, 2016 #10

    Vanadium 50

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    You got three pages of advice in your last thread. Did you follow any of it? Did any of it help? I can't imagine the most useful thing to do is to get drunk and repost essentially the same question.
  12. Aug 25, 2016 #11
    I think is one of those post where I can help out. To the OP, have you ever thought about going back to graduate school as the others have suggested. You can always do another BS or go to a community college to get another degree. You dont seem disappointed with your school, just your major.

    I was (and generally am) in your boat. It is perfectly okay to get a more marketable degree after getting your first one. ALOT of people dont make it in the more marketable majors (engineering,nursing,accounting, etc.) on their first try. I would suggest going a school system that you feel is more supportive or less stressful, but that does not seem to be the problem.

    Look for positions like data analyst, environmental scientist, and if you are good at coding you can do some basic data entry and C++ jobs.
  13. Aug 25, 2016 #12
    actually $41,600 gross.
  14. Aug 25, 2016 #13


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  15. Aug 26, 2016 #14


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    Can this thread be closed? The OP is not willing to take the minimal steps to improve his or her situation and is thus using up valuable real estate. In my opinion he deserves his low paying job.
  16. Sep 5, 2016 #15
    I think that is a tad harsh Dr. Steve

    I understand that the OP needs to make a serious career choice. However, I do believe that collegiate education is a pathway to furthering ones job prospects. I think the OP may need to considering looking up companies that hire Physics graduates or possibly try to find ways to go back to school (be it Graduate or community)

    To the OP, I went through the exact same situation as you. You can message me if you would like. I understand you like physics, but perhaps there is an area of physics which you can better translate to marketable skills. This is up for you to decided.
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