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Engineering Internships/Co-ops for Elec. Engineering - Necessary?

  1. Mar 31, 2010 #1
    Hello, I hope someone can offer me some advice:
    I am currently enrolled full-time and working toward an electrical engineering (BSEE) degree at my local university. I'm finishing up the second year of the program this year and I've been trying like crazy to get accepted for an internship or co-op. However, no matter what I do I cannot even get a call-back for an interview.
    I'm carrying a 4.0 GPA and have received a few scholarships. I also have a military background in electronics and a solid work history of 10 years with supervisory experience. All of which is noted clearly on my resume. I've had my resume looked at by the EE department chair and our co-op/intership coordinator, neither of which have been able to see any problems with the resume.

    I wouldn't be so frustrated if there simply weren't co-op/internship opportunities to be had, but there are. We're a small department, and our coordinator posts jobs regularly (and I apply for them when they are posted) - yet it always ends up being someone else in my class who gets the internship (or at least a call-back). I'm near, if not at, the top of my class, and I have a solid work history. I don't understand why people less qualified than me are getting these internships while I can't even get a single call-back, much less an interview. I put so much time and effort into my studies. I'm even a student member of IEEE and am active in my college's student group.

    I'm 32 and I'm really starting to wonder if it is an issue with my age. I honestly can't think of anything else it could be (neither can my college's internship coordinator, who has gone as far as to recommend me to employers when they call with job opportunities). I truly hope not.

    Any ideas? Suggestions?

    And, if for some reason I cannot get any internship/co-op experience prior to my graduation is this going to kill my chances of finding employment? I feel like like I'll be at a huge disadvantage compared to those students who had internships.

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 31, 2010 #2
    If you can keep the grades, you shouldn't have a problem finding employment as an engineer. There is always next year for an internship too. Age might be an issue, but it could also be your resume or cover letters. You might want to find more critics to take a look at your resume... your career services department, any managers you know or anyone in HR, etc. Make sure you find some example resumes too.

    Another thing could be that you might come across as overqualified or too expensive for an internship. I have no idea if that's the case or not, but if it is you might be able to tweak your resume or cover letters to address it. My only other advice would be to network like crazy. The more personal contacts you can make with alumni etc, the better your odds will be of getting an interview.

    Good luck.
  4. Mar 31, 2010 #3
    But 32 is not old, at all. How can anything below 50 be an issue?
  5. Apr 2, 2010 #4
    It seems that over-qualification can be an issue. I have heard cases of some HR departments having a habit trying to interview those candidates close to their job requirements, especially when the number of applications is very large. This cuts down their work. Another reason may be that over-qualified candidates tend not to stay long.
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