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Physics Ph.D. Grad wanting to return to Aerospace Engineering

  1. Jul 9, 2013 #1
    I recently received a Physics Ph.D. but I had previously studied and earned an Aerospace Engineering masters degree. After spending several years earning my Ph.D. I have decided I would much rather practice Aerospace Engineering professionally. Unfortunately, I have had little success in obtaining an Aerospace Engineering position. University labs never seem to have money to hire Aerospace postdocs, the online applications that I fill out for industry positions never even result in anything more than an automated response, and it is exceedingly difficult to get a hold of anyone in a national laboratory or NASA much less apply for a job in these institutions.

    Is there a better way to apply for jobs within this industry? For physics postdoc careers, and can search through a range of available postdoc positions on the Physics Today website. Is there an Aerospace related organization that host a website filled with Aerospace postdocs? I tried AIAA, but they had a terribly limited range of Aerospace positions.

    I really need to know if I am doing something wrong or if I can improve my career search for Aerospace engineering jobs. Any advice in this regard would be greatly appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 9, 2013 #2


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    Network, network, network. The online job searches are completely useless. Who do you know? Ask them for contacts. Keep a detailed record of all your contacts, and use those contacts to find more contacts, etc. Start with your Aerospace Engineering professors.
  4. Jul 9, 2013 #3
    A good plan. Unfortunately, most of my Aerospace Engineering professors I haven't seen in years, since I changed Universities after earning my M.S. in Aerospace Engineering. I have taken a few A.E. courses while earning my physics Ph.D., and I am in the process of looking them up, but they are few and far between.

    I am also looking into clubs and social organizations for networking. Unfortunately I got kicked from my University's chapter of the AIAA about a year back, but perhaps I might be able to network through ASME or SEDS, or just start signing up with the professional chapters.
  5. Jul 9, 2013 #4


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    Right. The important thing is, however small you start, you start.

    Imagine that you had a son, and he needed some medicine or he would die, and the hospital at which your son is in bed doesn't have it. What would you do? You would employ all (legal) measures to get it! You'd call vendors until you found one that had it and could get it to you in time. Then you'd order it from them. But you wouldn't stop there! You would find another vendor and have a backup plan in case the first vendor didn't pan out. You would push, push, push until you got the medicine.

    This is what project management (I'm not talking about people management!) is like. Think of getting a job as a project. You go all out. You call your contacts. You follow through every single time, right when you say you're going to follow through. You don't accept closed doors - you keep calling around in a company until a door opens. Getting a job ... is a full-time job.

    Best of luck to you!
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