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Physics I'm having trouble finding a job (physics)

  1. Feb 3, 2009 #1
    Hi new friends

    I finished my degree last year (BSc majoring in Physics), but am now having trouble finding a job. I'm located in Australia. I'm not sure what jobs I am qualified for. A lab tech? Lab assistant? I can't find many employers looking for a physics graduate.

    To be honest, I'm not really that interested in physics. The only reason I chose to do this degree was because it was the only thing I could tolerate during high school. And like a lot of other people, I was pushed into university by my folks. My passion in life revolves around music. One day I hope to become a professional musician.

    But for now, I'm in need of a better paying job. And since I have a degree I may as well use it to my advantage. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy science.. I just don't want to dedicate my whole life to it.

    Any guidance would be extremely helpful (especially if it is specific to Aussies :P)
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 4, 2009 #2

    Finding a job can be an awfully confidence-crushing experience when you're not sure what you want to do. So first I want to wish you good luck and recommend that you make sure you are looking after yourself. I think it's awful for most people.

    The only thing I've learnt over time is that a job-search tends to be more successful if it errs on the side of being very specific. So even if you feel like you don't mind what job you do and you just want to get out there and have a go at stuff, you still need to come up with a specific job and atleast pretend that is what you really want to do.

    It seems that most people who are in a position to hire you feel no inclination at all to try to think of how they can use your skills. You really have to tell them. It's best if you think of them as having no imagination at all. You have to create a very clear picture in their head of how you would fit in their organization.

    There's a lot you can do with a physics degree - it shows you're numerate, reasonably intelligent, scientifically aware, etc. - but it doesn't really qualify you for anything exactly. So it's really important that you spend some time deciding on a job (or maybe a few) that you wouldn't mind doing. And then make up applications (resumes and letters) that are very specifically linked to each job. You have to sell yourself the person and not so much the physics graduate. At this stage, you can do whatever you want (after some work) so you should probably focus on what you want to do, more than on what you can do.

    Alot of it is just confidence.

    I hope this helps.
    (P.S.: I'm Australian too.)
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2009
  4. Feb 4, 2009 #3
    Sorry - I just thought of one other thing. When I applied for jobs, I found it really helpful if I did a lot of research about the company I was applying to work for. I think they might have been more inclined to hire me because they were flattered I had studied their history, goals, specialities and so forth, and then let that come out in subtle ways in the interview/application letters.

    Also, I realise I didn't answer your actual question really - what physics gives you an edge with. My non-academic work was with an energy/electricity company. I hated it, but I think that might have just been the company and the department I was in.

    They need people to make models projecting the energy consumption of their customers and the financial ramifications of that. Just knowing what a megawatt is and how to write a computer-model gives you a big advantage and it had the potential to be interesting work - though my particular job sucked. Energy is a big thing at the moment...
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2009
  5. Feb 4, 2009 #4
    Have you thought of combining your physics qualifications with your interests in music?I am thinking of something along the lines of being a sound engineer.In Australia do they have something equivelent to an Institute of Physics?If so they may be able to provide you with some literature about what employment opportunities there are for physicists.
  6. Feb 4, 2009 #5


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    I agree with Tiger99.

    Unfortunately there aren't too many people who inherently recognize the skills that a physics degree will give you. You really have to market yourself in this world.

    I think you really have to look at what kind of experience you have at this point. Did you do any work (paid or volunteer) while you were a student? What sudent organizations did you belong to? What kinds of work have you done that you've liked?

    Another question is are you willing to pile some technical training on top of your degree?
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