Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Hard time finding a job offer

  1. Mar 27, 2007 #1
    This is from my brother:

    I'm graduating this May, and I'm still unable to find any job offers. I interviewed with Fujitsu a few weeks ago but they haven't contacted me since. I'm a 4th yr Chemical Engineering major at UC Berkeley, but my GPA's low (2.8) and I haven't done any research or internships.

    Is there any chance that I'll find any job offers? If not, do I have a chance at Med school if I fulfill the prerequisites? What fields do Chemical Engineering majors enter once they graduate?

    I thought that a degree from Berkeley would be enough to find a full-time job, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 27, 2007 #2
    This is another case where post-secondary schools use concepts like "prestige" and "reputation" to confuse students. Just because you go to (insert *big name* school here) does not mean you are garunteed employment whatsoever.

    Since he has no prior experience, it's no wonder he's having trouble finding a job. In this case, the only unit of measure an employer has are grades; which are not spectacular in this case.

    Good luck to your brother.
  4. Mar 27, 2007 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Seems like the GPA may be a hinderance to getting into Med school as well. The most practical alternative I see is for him to get his initial job as a lab technician in some field he enjoyus (maybe medical lab tech?), and get some experience under his belt. Then maybe he can take more classes in some specialized subjects, and work his way back more into the ChemE field.
  5. Mar 27, 2007 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    To put it bluntly, no, there is no way he'd get into a med school, not when his GPA is that low AND he's only doing it because he can't find a job in his own field. And, if he can't handle undergraduate coursework, he's not going to be able to handle medical school coursework.

    If he's actually getting interviewed, and then not getting calls back, he should take a hard look at his interviewing skills too.

    The name of your school doesn't count for much of anything if you can't do the work and don't have any experience. It's unfortunate he hasn't figured this out until ready to graduate. Perhaps he can still find some sort of summer internship to gain experience, or start looking for lower level positions where he can work his way up toward the job he really wants.
  6. Mar 27, 2007 #5
    Become an entrepreneur? You don't always need to work for someone else. :)

    However, this takes a risk-taking personality to pull off.
  7. Mar 27, 2007 #6
    yah with that GPA and no prior experience he has nothing that is making him stick out from the tons of other students who got the grades and attempted to find internships/co-ops.

    The only thing that will save a bad GPA is a co-op/internship, if you don't have that, then really what is there to offer to the employer?

    With a 2.8, I would say he didn't understand the material.
  8. Mar 28, 2007 #7
    You should have studied harder....

    However life is not over for you. The next time you have an interview, study really hard for the technical portion.
  9. Mar 28, 2007 #8
    yeah my brother didn't take his studies seriously enough. he definitely could have done better.

    what other possibilities are there?
    is it possible for him to get a minor/double major in materials engineering?
    is it possible that financial companies, computer software industries, etc will want to hire him?
    would taking classes at a community college to boost his gpa be a good choice?
  10. Mar 28, 2007 #9
    Actually taking community college classes to boost his gpa is a good idea...
    But i'm not sure how that will show up on his transcripts, if its a branch campus of the main university I would say go for it. But if its a whole different college then I'm not sure.

    I know alot of people say oh employers don't look at your cumulative gpa but only your major GPA, i find this not true.

    If you put your cumulative GPA on your resume, and they don't ask then your alright.

    Software industries are quite competitive so I doubt he would fit in there if he doesn't have a degree in computer science.

    Infact alot of Software Industries like IBM don't want even Computer ENgineerings, but only Computer Scientists (I'm glad I switched majors XD )

    At my school to get a masters in materials engineering you have to be an engineering major and with a GPA of >= 3.0.
  11. Mar 28, 2007 #10
    I disagree. In computer science they seem to only care if you comprehend the subject. Someone found out about me at IBM, and offered me a job at 17. Many job offers followed after that. A degree in computer science does not matter much.
  12. Mar 28, 2007 #11
    I'm pretty sure, one way or another, it would show up on his transcripts under a heading the employer would interpret as "easy classes I took to increase my GPA because it was insufficient."

    He's talking about going back to school, and others are talking about him going back to school, but he blew it the first time. Is there any good reason to think he won't blow it the second? Maybe the cold fear of joblessness would do it. . . but maybe not.
  13. Mar 28, 2007 #12
    Maybe its different in finding a full time job but finding a co-op/internship, the manager at the interview directly told me he was only looking for comp sci majors, not comp eng. I told him I was originally a comp eng but switched last semester. He was of course a Manager of the Software Group (Tivoli) zSeries, so maybe Comp Engs do fit in at some other department at IBM, but the above post was talking about "Software Industries" not hardware.


    Only this other comp sci kid and I got the co-op from Penn State but perhaps its different depending how how the comp eng majors are structured at other universities.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2007
  14. Mar 28, 2007 #13
    To answer the question in your original post, no, medical school isn't a possibility. I was a pre-med student until about my second year, and I can tell you that virtually every med school out there is looking for a 3.5 GPA or better. That, and you need to be a "do gooder" (i.e. volunteer a summer doing relief work in Zimbabwe, read books to children in the hospital, or something of that nature).

    Before I decided to go to graduate school, I was also looking for jobs. I found that virtually every employer out there is looking for students with a GPA of 3.0 or better. If you've got a 3.0, then that along with an internship, research experience, or good communication skills can set you apart. But if you've got less than a 3.0, there really isn't much you can do. Your brother shouldn't bother going to a community college, since these grades won't count towards his undergrad GPA. And besides that, I doubt he'll find many senior-level ChemE courses at the community college.

    Fortunately, all is not lost. I know this might get expensive, but I would suggest that your brother spend an extra semester or two in college. He should take more courses to boost his GPA, and possibly retake a class or two in which he did poorly. Since he's at a 2.8, this shouldn't be too difficult. Once he gets his GPA above 3.0, a lot of possibilities will open up for him, especially if his GPA for his last two years is high. Heck, when I graduated college my GPA from my last two years was only 3.3, and I got into a physics graduate program. As far as I can tell, graduate school admission is harder to achieve than employment offers. So if he does this, he should be able to get a job much easier.
  15. Mar 28, 2007 #14


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    i second post #10. as long as you provide a valid reason you should be hired, you have a shot. either interview and show you know more than your gpa reveals, or if that is not true, go get some better credential, e.g. take another degree and work ahrder this time.

    but never assume the name of your school will get you a job if you did not work hard and no one is willing to say you did in a letter.
  16. Mar 29, 2007 #15
    Perhaps he should think about getting practical experience in some alternative ways which might not be lucrative, but would show personal drive and build skills... since his CV appears to lack these character traits...

    Would he be willing to go into an "Engineers without Borders" program, "Teach for America" program etc?

    An alternative is that he could also admit CV difficulties during an interview and offer to work for reduced pay (even for free) for a set "trial basis" period.
  17. Mar 29, 2007 #16


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Here's a question that I haven't seen asked or answered here...does he really want to be an engineer, or did he just try to stick with it because that's what he started out doing? If he couldn't keep up the coursework, maybe it's because he didn't find it interesting enough to keep him motivated to work hard. Perhaps he should do some serious reflection and decide what he really wants to do with his life, and then seek that out. It's much easier to explain a low GPA because you realized too late that you weren't really interested in a subject and balance that out with good grades and internship experience in courses taken later in an area that is more interesting to you.

    That's not true either. The AVERAGE GPA of students entering med schools is around 3.5, but that means there are ones below that (but, under a 3.0 really doesn't stand any chance unless there was something catastrophic that happened during one year that pulled all the grades down, and the rest of the years were good). They do have to have very good MCAT scores though, and good letters of reference and interview well if their grades are lacking. Research experience counts as much as volunteer work, and shadowing physicians is the best experience to assure a med school that you really know what you're signing up for. But, you really need to want to go to med school, and not just think you can somehow default into it because you can't get a job. Would you want someone like that as your physician?
  18. Mar 29, 2007 #17
    Don't give up after being rejected from one job offer. There are people out there that had a lower GPA than your bro and still succeed in getting a good job. A low GPA doesn't always signify a lack of knowledge in your studies.
  19. Mar 29, 2007 #18
    I'm afraid I'll be in a similar situation when I graduate after a few more semesters. I'm in computer science. I've yet to have an internship. My gpa's not too different. But can your knowledge and skills that you demonstrate over come this? Like listing the languages you know (programming languages, not natural), the platforms you know, classes you've taken, any licenses? I just hear computer science majors get jobs easily. I hope it's true.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2007
  20. Mar 29, 2007 #19

    Its easier for you to be quizzed in the interviewing process if your a comp sci major to see if you know your stuff. They tell you right on the spot write this code, with these requirments, etc, or they can ask you how your going to solve this problem.

    If you have a low GPA answering these questions or taking Programming appitude tests that some large companies make you take can make up for the low GPA.

    But the low GPA is what will make it hard for you to get the initial interview.
  21. Mar 30, 2007 #20
    Actually I don't think you really even need to put your gpa on your resume or bring it up. Some do not ask for it. As far as interview questions, I'm aware of the some of the tough puzzle-related questions that companies like microsoft, google,....etc often ask during interviews (not that I have a chance) from friends. I'm sure initially that I'll find a job, but it probably won't be a good one. Better ones will just have to come later.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook