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Physics major unable to get engineering internship

  1. Feb 6, 2009 #1
    i'm in my 4th year in college, double majroing in physics and applied math and i've only taken 1 engineering class (i'm taking it currently). since i'm staying for a 5th year, i'm looking for an aerospace/mechanical engineering internship this summer. i've applied to over 100 different positions for companies and havent gotten ANY replies for an interview

    there could be multiple reasons:
    1. i'm not an engineering major and have taken no engineering classes.
    2, the economy is really that bad right now
    3. i havent submitted my cover letter for most of my applications
    4. i havent followed up on most of my applications

    all the companies say to online, but they never say to whom or where to address my cover letter to

    i'm thinking about just giving up on applying for internships. my engineering professor said the problem is that no companies want me since i havent taken any engineering classes, except the one i'm currently taking. but i've heard of some physics majors getting hired without taking any engineering classes

    also, will i even like mechE/aerospace if i didnt like fluid mechanics in my freshman calc-based physics class?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 6, 2009 #2
    I'm a little surprised that you wouldn't get any replies at all. I am a first year masters student in aerospace engineering with a B.S. in physics, and I've been invited to two interviews with local aerospace firms in the last few months. I was also contacted by a major defense contractor the other day about a possible summer internship in 2010. It's a long shot, but I'm encouraged that they're at least interested in my resume.

    Lots of companies use electronic searches to sort through the resumes they receive. My guess is that your resume just didn't have much that caught their eye. Keep trying.
  4. Feb 6, 2009 #3


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    Most aero/mech are using computer systems for HR which searches for keywords.
    I dare brian_c to resubmit ommiting aerospace masters in resume or just leaving masters degree. To OP if you are particular desperate you could put keywords into your resume even a set of them in the end just to have hits on your resume.
  5. Feb 6, 2009 #4
    what exactly can i put?

    the only engineering class I'm taking is Feedback and Control Systems

    i might take fluid mechanics and heat transfer next semester though

    are you sure its not reasons (3) or (4) in my 1st post?
  6. Feb 6, 2009 #5
    You'll just have to keep applying to them...I'm assuming you applied to most, if not all, of the defense contractors? There are like a billion jobs a piece, so you'll just have to keep applying until you get lucky.
  7. Feb 6, 2009 #6
    if i applied to over a HUNDRED positions, how is keep applying going to solve anything? there must be something wrong with my resume, or i'm not submitting the cover letter thats the problem?
  8. Feb 6, 2009 #7

    If you keep applying, you increase your visibility...

    I've applied to HUNDREDS of positions and finally managed to get one. You should write a cover letter if that's an option, but I wouldn't say it helps tremendously. You just have to realize that there's a huge number of applicants in your shoes trying to get a job as well.
  9. Feb 6, 2009 #8
    I assume you've already talked to career services at your school and had them look over your resume?
  10. Feb 6, 2009 #9


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    You've applied to over 100 positions? At first I thought that was a typo, but later posts confirm it. And yet, you haven't bothered with a cover letter?

    I think all of your points for not having heard back are valid. But to me it sounds like you're not really putting any effort into targeting anything specific. Did you research every one of those 100 positions? I think for an employer to take notice, especially for a competative position, you have to demonstrate that you aren't just handing in a form resume. Why should they hand you back anything, but a form letter?

    My advice would be to spend time researching specific positions, find out who's in charge of hiring and contact them directly. Networking is what lands most positions, not mass emailing of a standard resume.

    Also, it helps to use proper capitalization and grammer is just about everything you write. I'm not trying to be rude or pretentious in saying that. Potential employers actually look up people on the web these days.
  11. Feb 7, 2009 #10


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    Thats not true at all places like northrop grumman, boeing, and lockheed receive an absurd amount of resumes do you honestly believe they read every single one of them. There is a reason the resume you submit for those companies is not only submitted in pdf/doc form but has to be submitted as a text. It is so that the people in HR can just type in keywords like senior blah blah blah and get hits from people who have had a similar position or could type in c++ Matlab Masters to find candidates. He should have someone with experience with jobs in aerospace look over it so that he knows to add keywords like SIMULINK if applicable or possible even if not. I agree he could also network which would probably would be his best bet because for most aerospace contractors the nepotism doesnt end at obtaining a defense contract.

    I dont know who he is from his cypherscouter username do you or do you think an employer could figure it out with certainty?
  12. Feb 7, 2009 #11

    Vanadium 50

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    I don't think that's the risk. I think one risk is that there is a blog or something else tied to him where the English is...um...unconventional. The other risk is that practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent. The more often one writes with incorrect spelling, grammer, diction, capitalization and/or punctuation, the more likely one is to do this on a document where one shouldn't.
  13. Feb 17, 2009 #12
    I talked with the chair of the engineering dept and she said that i'll be unlikely to get an internship at this point since most companies get interns in the fall and its already close to spring, so its too late

    not to mention, i'm not an engineering major and have only taken 1 engineering class and have completed no engineering projects, and also the bad economy
  14. Feb 17, 2009 #13
    I don't believe it's necessarily too late as actually most engineering internship recruiting starts in the spring. It might be on the late side for applying but it's worth a shot.
  15. Feb 17, 2009 #14
    I'm from a town where a very large, well known heavy machinery manufacturer pretty much runs the show. We also have a small private university (where I attend) that has a good engineering program. No surprise, then, that many of our engineering students intern for either this corporation, or one of the many companies that supply them, be it in outsourced engineering, manufacturing, etc. Just about everyone I know in this town has lost their internship in the past two months, myself included.

    Just saying, the economy is certainly making things difficult.
  16. Feb 17, 2009 #15
    I very much agree with this.
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