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Mechanical Engineering - Getting Your Foot In The Door

  1. May 25, 2017 #1

    I'm an undergraduate student working to earn my Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering. I was wondering whether other mechanical engineers could share their stories about their forst engineering job and how they got it.

    My main issue is, surprisingly, that I have absolutely no real life experience in my field. I'm not looking for engineering jobs because I know I'm not qualified. What I want to get out of this thread is perspective on how to acquire the experience that nobody is offering. Many internships require working knowledge in CAD or Solidworks, some of them even ask for 1+ years of experience! We need an internship to get and internship, except nobody wants to take the blow.

    What I've started doing this summer is, I downloaded the student version of Autocad Mechanical so I can teach myself in hopes that it may qualify me for something. What other steps can I take to increase my employability? It's not like I can afford buying a milling machine at home...
  2. jcsd
  3. May 26, 2017 #2


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    You should seek a summer internship at the end of your Junior year. Many require a working knowledge of CAD, I'm surprised your school didn't offer it in your first year. That is essential because as an intern, you are not expected to know too much, so you'll start off with some basic CAD work and maybe field work, no one should be expecting you to be very experienced in engineering design or have done job related work. It is good if you have had some work experience and volunteer work in any area, not necessarily in Engineering. Show an interest in your field of study and read up about the company in advance of the interview. Be enthusiastic during the interview. Admit that you don't have much experience but are willing and eager to learn. Coming across as a "know it all" will dismiss your candidacy, as you essentially know nothing. Have as high as possible a grade point average. Hopefully you have taken a lot of ME related courses, even beyond the school's requirements. By far, an internship or CoOp is the best way to get your foot in the door. Then as an intern, work hard in your assignments and ask a lot of questions, be productive, be excited about your job. Good Luck.
  4. May 27, 2017 #3
    I very strongly recommend Co-Op if it is available. I have seen many so-so students go out on Co-Op for a term and come back really motivated and eager to learn. What they saw in their Co-Op was invariably a huge motivator, and of course, in most cases, it led to a full-time job offer at the end.
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