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Other Trouble finding job with Physics Bachelors

  1. Sep 13, 2016 #1
    Hello! I graduated in February 2016 with a B.Sc. in Physics and my job hunt isn't going very well. I'm searching for jobs in the semiconductor industry or embedded systems field, hopefully as a programmer.

    A little background on my qualifications: in addition to my knowledge of electronics and lab experience I picked up during my degree, I've studied computer architecture and embedded systems independently (if that means anything). I've also completed two university-level courses in operating systems and computer graphics (OpenGL). I'm fairly comfortable programming in C, C++ and Java. I have some familiarity with assembly language, through studying computer architecture. I bought an STM Discovery kit recently to play around with and gain some experience with actual hardware.

    I know it isn't much, but I've been told by some professionals in the field that it's enough for an entry-level consideration; or at least an interview. Unfortunately, I've yet to receive a call back from any of the 30+ applications I've sent out since April 2016.

    I'm just wondering if there's something I'm missing or if anyone has any advice for me going forward. Also, if I left something out or you'd like to know more, please let me know!

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 13, 2016 #2


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    Keep applying and be patient. The majority of job openings are formalities, they already have a candiate under consideration. Other times your resume won't make it past various HR filters.

    Do you know anyone working in the feild that could provide a reference to their employer? Networking is important, even more so that your degree isn't what entry level postings are asking for.
  4. Sep 13, 2016 #3


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    I'm not sure about the specific issue, but may I ask why you've submitted so few applications? For the timeframe it appears low by about a factor of 10. Obviously, the more you submit the better your odds are.
  5. Sep 13, 2016 #4


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    Some additional thoughts...
    1. What kind of pre-application groundwork have you done with these applications? Is this a case of just sending in a resume, or have you contacted people at the company and spoken about the position? What research have you done with respect to the positions? Personally I'm more of a fan of quality over quantity in this respect.
    2. Have you identified a specific person to submit the application to? Often, having a specific point of contact can make a huge difference.
    3. How have you followed up on these applications? Once the resume has been submitted, you can follow up with a phone call and at least learn about timelines for the hiring procedure.
    4. What is your online presence like? If someone were to Google you, or friend you on Facebook or some other social media, are you going to come across as professional? For some people this can be a real killer.
    5. If you can, attend conferences. This is where you can learn about the industry itself, who is likely to be hiring and what kinds of projects they are working on. They're great opportunities to talk to people and even ask simple questions, like how they got their job.
    6. Exhaust your network. You might try looking up people that you've graduated with, or who graduated a year before you from your program and contact them if they are working in an industry that appeals to you. They might have some little tips on how to get in from where you are. Sometimes it can be as subtle as having the right keywords on your CV. Sometimes they might just happen to know which companies have upcoming career fairs.
    7. Be patient and keep trying.
  6. Sep 14, 2016 #5


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    I would echo what Student100, russ_watters and Choppy have stated above. 30+ applications are very few within a 5 month period (you stated that these are the # of jobs you've applied to since April of this year). When I searched for work upon graduation, I applied to that many jobs within a single month, so you really should be looking at around 100+ or 200+ jobs.

    In addition, I cannot stress the importance of maintaining a professional social media presence (which can be done through LinkedIn -- I would also check your presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat, if you have any of these, to make sure your social profile doesn't leave a negative impression), as well as networking with employers you interested in working for.
  7. Sep 14, 2016 #6

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    In addition to everything else, you mentioned in another thread that your grades were not good. That won't help, and you should prepare yourself for having to wait longer and send more applications out than people with better grades. You might want to even expand the categories of jobs you are looking at.
  8. Sep 14, 2016 #7
    Thank you all for the replies!

    Student100, unfortunately I don't know anyone in the field. I wish I did as this would help a lot.

    russ_watters, I took a break at some point between April and now. I realize I should still be at at least 100+ applications, but I'm just not seeing enough job ads that are looking for entry-level. This is another issue. Some that I've applied to even asked for some experience, which I don't have. I'm just not finding enough ads that fit my profile. What should I do in a situation like this? Apply anyway?

    1. I never contact a specific person. I usually either complete their online applicant profile or email the HR/talent acquisition department my cover letter and resume.

    2. I'll definitely look into this.

    3. I've followed up on a few. Really, only the applications that I've emailed myself. I'd usually wait a week and email them a follow up. If they reply at all, they usually say something along the lines of "we're currently reviewing applications and will contact you if you're selected for an interview."

    4. I only have LinkedIn. My Twitter is under a different name.

    5 & 6. I'll look into this as well.

    7. Thanks.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016
  9. Sep 14, 2016 #8


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    This is a judgement call. In some cases there's no point. They are looking for someone with experience in a pool of applicants that are likely to have experience. In other cases the company is simply looking for the ideal candidate, but may consider someone who is entry level if they can't get anyone with experience, or of those with experience have other flags. This is one of the reasons why a little bit of research on the position can go a long way. I know that's difficult information to get though.

    If at all possible, it's best if you can talk to and hand your resume to a person. Otherwise you're just a piece of virtual paper in a cybernetic slush pile. That doesn't mean to circumvent the official application route. You still have to jump through the HR hoops. But seeking out a person or people involved in the hiring can help you to learn about the position, details of what they are looking for, and what the competition is expected to be like.

    Email is easy to ignore. Phone conversations are better. Again any kind of contact can help you to learn more about the position or the field in general.

    Great, but don't assume that because you use a different handle with Twitter you're completely anonymous.
  10. Sep 14, 2016 #9
    Since you're trying to find a programming job, do you have any projects listed on your resume that you've worked on? Have you worked on any projects that would demonstrate your programming skills to an employer?
  11. Sep 14, 2016 #10
    Choppy, thanks. I'll try your suggestions going forward.

    Yes, I have my GitHub account on my resume which has my C++/OpenGL assignments from my course. I also have a paragraph that briefly describes some projects I've worked on.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016
  12. Sep 14, 2016 #11
    Have you looked into the company and their products in any detail? HR is attuned to persons who show interest in a company for specific reasons and state how they are interested in that company and their products and how you can help them achieve their goals. Specifics are important. If you end up in that "cybernetic slush pile" Choppy and your not on top or flagged you may miss an opportunity if a suitable position does come up.
  13. Sep 14, 2016 #12
    That's a very good point. In my cover letter, I have a paragraph telling the company why I'm interested in working for them. It's pretty simple and I don't go into much detail. Between applications, I just swap the company names and tweak some parts like the industry and their products. I feel I could put more effort into this paragraph and be more specific about why exactly I'm interested in them and how I believe I can help. Thanks!
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