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Engineering Recent Engineering Grad Unhappy With First Job

  1. Feb 15, 2013 #1
    In may I graduated with a Bachelors in EE. I have been working at my current job since then as an electrical engineer. I work for a smaller company and don't find the work i am doing interesting. Also from conversations with my friends who also graduated with me i think I would be happier at a larger company. So i have two questions.

    1. Will it look bad to employers that i am switching jobs after 9 months.

    2. How do i look for a job if i am working. Take vacation days for interviews? Also I don't want prospective employers contacting my current job because I don't want them to know I am looking elsewhere. Will it look bad to say no to contacting my current employer on a job app?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 15, 2013 #2
    1. No, it is a fact most engineering majors actually switch jobs within their first year. Thing is you don't want to paint it as you want to move on to 'bigger, better, things'. Paint it as you want to work for them because they are the best or a top dog at what they do. Subtle difference but a lot of hiring people dont' like that because it makes you seem like your just impatient and annoyed with the fact your working on a menial / hard task which you'll do everywhere at some point.

    2. Haven't had to hide searching for a job from my employer yet so not 100% sure.
  4. Feb 15, 2013 #3


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    2. a) Yes, take vacation for interviews. Scheduling a long weekend might be less suspicious.
    b) This is a common problem. You can tell prospective employers why you don't want them contacting your company right away, and offer to provide references if, after interviews are complete, they are seriously considering you for a position. You'll then have to confide in a couple of coworkers whom you trust to keep your secret.
  5. Feb 15, 2013 #4
    It would look very bad. Would you hire someone to work for you if they left their last job after 9 months? No. Also, 9 months is a very short time. Maybe you could ask your employer for more challenging work. I don't think they'd mind! Further more, how do you expect to get a better job with 9 months work experience? You are still entry level.

    I think you need to worry about whether or not you're going to look for a job first. You may only get one interview, you may get 5...or none. Relax.
  6. Feb 18, 2013 #5
    If you can make it through at least a year to a year and a half in this job it will look better from a resume perspective. Don't feel bad about not liking your first job...as a new engineer it can take a while to find out what you really want to do. You will likely find that some jobs you never even considered turn out to be quite interesting.
  7. Feb 18, 2013 #6

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    Most companies, big or small, are not going to give their fresh out employees "interesting" work for the first six months or so. For one thing, you learned the requisite skills in college, but you did not learn the trade. Learning those essential skills takes a while. For another, your employer doesn't know up front whether you (or any other fresh out) can handle that "interesting" work. You have to prove your worth. Finally, your employer doesn't know whether they made a mistake in hiring you. There are a lot of fresh outs who should have majored in something other than what they did major in. Sometimes that mismatch only makes itself apparent after the new employee is on board.

    Put all of those factors together and no, you will not get "interesting" work right out of college. Thinking you should is a false expectation.

    Maybe, maybe not. Fresh outs often change jobs after a year or so. (That's the recommended length of time you should put up with a lousy job.) What certainly will look bad is if you have a string of those 9 month jobs. That's going to make you pretty much unemployable.

    That said, you are not going to find a job tomorrow. Start looking now and you'll be lucky to find one in three months. By that time you will have a year with your current employer and you will be in line with other fresh outs who found their first job less than optimal.

    This is assuming that your current employer will keep you employed. Unwritten rule #1 in finding a new job: Do so while you are currently employed. Do not violate this rule. Do not do things in your current job that will give cause for being laid off, or worse, being fired. Stay productive, stay interested. You might just find that your current job is a lot more interesting than you think it is now.

    Take long lunches to "run some errands" and make up the lost time by working late, take three day weekends where those supposed vacation days are really for interviews. Your employer doesn't need to know what you do in your off-time. Your employer most likely does hire people away from other companies. They know the dance. Just don't charge your time searching as if you were working, and don't let the job search interfere with your current job.

    That will set off some alarms, and it might even close some doors. A lot of employers check references *before* the first interview. Do you have a co-worker who (a) will say good things about you and (b) won't spill the beans to your employer?
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
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