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Take job offer for position you don't like?

  • #1

Main Question or Discussion Point

I just graduated with my BS in physics and applied math this December 2009. I did just complete 2 mechanical engineering courses: fluid mechanics and heat transfer, and I enjoyed them both. After taking these ME classes I'm certain that I want to enter ME for my career. I also got into the MS program for ME for the fall 2010 term at the same school as my undergrad. However, the professors I've contacted all mention that its gonna be really tough at this school to find a prof to fund a MS student like me for a thesis project. I prefer to get funded for the thesis, but if I can't, I think i'm better off just doing the coursework-only MS and then finish ASAP

The problem is that I wish the most to work on tanks, weapons, and missiles for a defense contractor, but I'm not getting ANY interviews for engineering positions or even non-engineering positions at engineering companies them. I have gotten quite a few interviews for other technical positions, such as programmer/analyst for website-design companies and other non-engineering companies, but none of them sounded very interesting. If I get future offers for these positions, should I take them, so that I could put them on my resume as work experience so that I can eventually obtain an engineering position? Or should I just wait until I get an offer for a position related to engineering at a defense contractor, not just because the work is more interesting, but because they can also reimburse me to work on a MS part-time? Or just start the ME MS program this fall?

Just to give you an idea of how I seem much more suited for the programmer/analyst positions but not the engineering ones: When I searched for the programmer/analyst positions, I submitted maybe 3 resumes/day to companies, and got at least 1 phone interview per week. But for the engineering positions and companies, I'm submitting about 7 resumes/day and calling about 5 companies/day to follow-up on my submitted resumes or just to call small, private companies I found in the yellow pages to see if they have any openings.. all to not get ONE phone interview

I gotta admit, nothing makes me feel worse than being unproductive and unemployed. But OTOH, I really want to start my career path to becoming a senior ME or manager of an engineering company ASAP
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #3
What happened to your national lab spring program you mentioned here:

https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=363917

There's no ASAP in life.
I had to re-apply for the summer term as family obligations forced me to turn down the winter term offer. I still haven't been notified admission yet, so it seems less likely I'll get accepted. Also, I've since decided that I don't want to pursue a phD, and from what people have told me, the national lab (since it's only for the summer) offer is best for those pursuing a phD, not those interested in industry. But yes, if I do get accepted into it, and can't find an engineering industry summer internship or job, I will take it

Also, another option i have is to take 2 grad-level ME courses this spring term, instead of waiting until this upcoming fall, so I can transfer them towards the MS requirements..
 
  • #4
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do you have a high GPA? Did you look at Lockheed's college gateway jobs? They have a bunch for interns/entry-level people.

They're the ONLY employer/company I've dealt with that will hire someone based on their GPA if they didn't have experience. The take weeks to answer back..... if they ever. Just need to be patience with most employers. Never met a GOOD employer that will hire someone in a matter of days (interview+wait time+decision).
 
  • #5
do you have a high GPA? Did you look at Lockheed's college gateway jobs? They have a bunch for interns/entry-level people.

They're the ONLY employer/company I've dealt with that will hire someone based on their GPA if they didn't have experience. The take weeks to answer back..... if they ever. Just need to be patience with most employers. Never met a GOOD employer that will hire someone in a matter of days (interview+wait time+decision).
my gpa is 3.77, so that's high. I've already applied to well over 50 positions, including internships, at lockheed and have never heard back from them. Besides, I heard about 90% of the people who get hired are those who got in because they have a friend or family already working there, and I don't know anyone who works there.
 
  • #6
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If you want to work in a highly specialized technical area, you might want to consider doing some research during your MS. Your advisor may also have contacts. Personally, doing a coursework only MS won't give you much advantage since it's not that different from what you are doing now, except that the courses are more advanced. You're also competing with people who are also applying to those cool companies but with research experience.
 
  • #7
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Also, I've since decided that I don't want to pursue a phD, and from what people have told me, the national lab (since it's only for the summer) offer is best for those pursuing a phD, not those interested in industry.
This is not true, it depends on what kinds of jobs in the industry, and also what division you are in within the company.
 
  • #8
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my gpa is 3.77, so that's high. I've already applied to well over 50 positions, including internships, at lockheed and have never heard back from them. Besides, I heard about 90% of the people who get hired are those who got in because they have a friend or family already working there, and I don't know anyone who works there.
When did you apply? It takes them weeks to answer. Even if you were personally referred to the hiring manager. It took Harris Corp over 3 months to get back to me for an interview after I handed my friend the resume.

And about them hiring people referred by friends/family... many, many employers use this method in getting employees. A friend of mine from Harris Corp got me an interview for an analyst position. He said that if I was a regular Joe Schmoe, I would not had a chance for a simple phone interview with the number of apps. Even if with the qualifications and experience.

My best advice is to attend job fairs, so you can meet the hiring managers in person or network your way there, such as your adviser, professors, other grad students.
 
  • #9
If you want to work in a highly specialized technical area, you might want to consider doing some research during your MS. Your advisor may also have contacts. Personally, doing a coursework only MS won't give you much advantage since it's not that different from what you are doing now, except that the courses are more advanced. You're also competing with people who are also applying to those cool companies but with research experience.
there aren't many profs at my school who do research I like (which is heat transfer), and I already contacted them and they said they don't have room for me anyways. Then again, I haven't taken any statics or dynamics courses, so maybe Structural analysis and FEM might interest me. Would employers care about what specific area you did your thesis in, or do they just care that you did a thesis in general? That is, if you did your thesis in heat transfer or CFD, would you still be considered for Stress analyst positions requiring an MS?

anyways, I would have an 'engineering degree' if I did the coursework-only masters, so wouldn't that that significantly increase my chances for the positions that want engineering, not physics, majors? Then again, I guess doing the thesis option without getting funded isn't THAT bad of an option, since my advisor said it would take only at least 1 extra quarter or semester more than the coursework-only MS

When did you apply? It takes them weeks to answer. Even if you were personally referred to the hiring manager. It took Harris Corp over 3 months to get back to me for an interview after I handed my friend the resume.

My best advice is to attend job fairs, so you can meet the hiring managers in person or network your way there, such as your adviser, professors, other grad students.
I applied to a bunch of positions each month since last November. How do you find about nearby job fairs, other than the ones hosted at my school, since I will be moving off-campus to my permanent residence next week?
 
  • #10
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You might want to look into the DODs SMART program.
 

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