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Engineering Difficulty finding work with a BS in engineering.

  1. Oct 4, 2012 #1
    First post, but I've lurked this site for a few years.

    I was wondering if anyone has found themselves in a similar situation or had any advice.
    I currently have a B.S. in Nuclear engineering, graduated about 10 months ago, and have had zero success in finding related work.
    During school I worked to support myself due to a complete absence of financial aid or help from parents, but I was never able to make time for unpaid internship/research positions due to how strapped for time I already was.

    It seems like most job postings I see want more job experience or higher education than I have, but I'm not quite sure how to change that any time this decade with what I'm currently making.

    I'd really like to go to grad school some day, but I feel that it's financially not going to be an option for quite a while... Not quite sure what is the best course of action in the mean time. I'm still (narrowly) making it by on rent/food/loan payments with my current non technical job. I'm still rather determined and optimistic about making it in the long run, but I'm feeling rather lost lately.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 4, 2012 #2
    Nuclear is a little slower now than it was 3 or 4 years ago. But there are still a lot of people retiring so I think it will pick up. Where have you applied for jobs?
  4. Oct 4, 2012 #3
    In cases like this, details matter. Here are some vague suggestions for you.

    Just keep toughing it out. It took me a year to find a job after graduation. It took my wife 18 months. This happens sometimes.

    Try to apply to jobs that want a technical education, but don't care so much about field. Some kinds of IT and software jobs are like this. Other possibilities are business analysis jobs. You might be able to get some work as a price analyst or another data heavy position.

    Ideally, you should be paid to attend graduate school. If it costs you money, you are doing something wrong. Grad school may give you the additional experience you need to land a job in your field.
  5. Oct 4, 2012 #4
    Keep checking job boards like indeed.com and engineerjobs.com. Make sure you include 'entry' in your searches so as to filter out all the jobs that require more experience. Have people critique your resume so that you can make sure it's getting the right message across (same with your cover letter). Also if your university has career fairs, go to them. I know a lot of people say they aren't worth it, but I went to one a couple weeks ago and now I have 2 interviews lined up.

    I graduated with a b.s. in mechanical engineering in May and I'm just now hearing from a couple companies (still no job offers yet). Keep at and don't let the lack of responses get you down.
  6. Oct 4, 2012 #5
    Many companies like to hang on to a resume until the paper has a slightly aged look to it. Only then does it make its way through the many desks of bureaucrats to the people who may actually make a decision.

    I don't know why this is. But it is nothing new. Don't get discouraged. Keep looking. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised very soon.
  7. Oct 5, 2012 #6
    You might want to look at KAPL (Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories), located in Niskayuna in upstate NY - https://bmpc.mua.hrdepartment.com/hrdepartment/ats/JobSearch/search

    It might be difficult for you to find a position in this field - I know quite a few people who actually have been wanting to quit their job at the place I mentioned but cannot really find another job, unless they are willing to somewhat shift their career focus on a different kind of engineering.

    Good luck and keep looking.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012
  8. Oct 9, 2012 #7
    Sorry for the slow reply, and thanks for the encouragement.

    gmax137- A big part of my issue is difficulty even finding postings I think I'm well suited enough for. Have applied to some low level Mech Engineering type positions at LBL, have recently applied to PGE's Entry Engineer Rotational Program which does not explicitly mention nuclear, sent an application to the NRC (position is described as being a resume bank however, so may never hear back)... applied for a radiation transport analysis job in the UK that I got a definitive no on (expected as they state they rather dislike sponsoring work visas).

    Suggestions on companies that would possibly be applicable would be helpful. I admit I am not the best at the tracking down of positions.

    Ben Espen- It's not so much about the cost of grad school itself as not being able to live with myself if I defer the loans I already have. I feel like I'm really drowning in debt from undergrad.

    SunnyBoyNY- Thanks for the link. I'm also somewhat willing to shift career focus at this point. For fun I actually took an introductory technical drawing/solidworks modelling course late in my academic career, and it turned out that I actually liked that kind of thing a lot more than expected. Things that fall under the scope of mechanical engineering or design do tend to interest me quite a lot. It would be nice to find a place that doesn't think it takes a PhD to work with MCNP, but I'm pretty open to trying other things. I'm mostly kind of unsure of how applicable my background is to low level mechanical stuff though, would it be a waste of time to apply to jobs that are more tailored to that background?
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