Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

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Noalani
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Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Noalani » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:29 am

My friend has a son who will graduate next month from Vanderbilt with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He has always been a top student and he also worked summers at internships related to his field. He does not have any job prospects yet and my friend is experiencing sleepless nights because of this. I'm not sure why he doesn't have any "bites" yet. My friend is not sure if he is going about his job search the right way....I thought I'd help her out and seek feedback/advice from all of the experienced and wise engineers on this board.

What are some of the best things this soon-to-be engineering grad can do to search for a job and get offers?

Thanks in advance!

Goal33
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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Goal33 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:44 am

The best thing he can do is make sure his son knows the gravy train is ending.

Given the internships, etc. it should be easy to get a job using school resources (job fair). He can leverage his classmates and see what they are doing.

I am also an engineering graduate of 2014. I had a job lined up 1 year in advance and all my friends were able to get jobs pretty easily. A few took it easy and got jobs after graduation.
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Eagle33
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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Eagle33 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:56 am

Be sure the graduate's Internet presence is professional, not party.

If not getting interviews, then rework the resume to be sure to include the value added results graduate delivered at each internship.

If getting interviews, then be sure graduate knows knows own strengths and have at least 2 good "stories" for each how graduate delivered results. And practice, practice, practice responses to potential questions.
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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by jminv » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:16 am

Use the school's career center and network. Also ask faculty, they often know of opportunties through alumni. My first job out of my engineering program was an unlisted one through the chairman of my department. Can ask faculty for contacts of people who might be hiring too and mention to faculty that they haven't found a job yet. Interesting that he had internships and wasn't able to convert them into offers, though. Rework the resume, use vmock on it (vmock.com), it'll help him make it stand out. He will find something.

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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by triceratop » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:59 am

Goal33 wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:44 am
The best thing he can do is make sure his son knows the gravy train is ending.
Strictly IMO, it is not the most helpful to immediately assume bad faith in the son's work ethic or responsibility, when every indication from the OP is that the son is responsibly completing his education and developing professionally. This is true regardless of your lived experience.
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Noalani
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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Noalani » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:14 am

Goal33 wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:44 am
The best thing he can do is make sure his son knows the gravy train is ending.

Given the internships, etc. it should be easy to get a job using school resources (job fair). He can leverage his classmates and see what they are doing.

I am also an engineering graduate of 2014. I had a job lined up 1 year in advance and all my friends were able to get jobs pretty easily. A few took it easy and got jobs after graduation.
He has always been a hard worker, and he received a full ride through Vanderbilt, so he definitely does not rely on the gravy train. I had thought the internships would help him too, and I'm puzzled as to why he didn't follow up with them. It might have to do with his geographical preferences. I would hope he was leveraging his classmates but if not that's a good idea. How did you have your job lined up a year in advance?

Noalani
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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Noalani » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:19 am

Eagle33 wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:56 am
Be sure the graduate's Internet presence is professional, not party.

If not getting interviews, then rework the resume to be sure to include the value added results graduate delivered at each internship.

If getting interviews, then be sure graduate knows knows own strengths and have at least 2 good "stories" for each how graduate delivered results. And practice, practice, practice responses to potential questions.
Yes, I agree with your Internet advice for ALL new grads. I believe his is professional but will suggest to my friend that she double check on that. He has had interviews but no offers yet. I will share input about resume and interview question practice. He's a bit on the quiet side, so it's to his benefit to come up with some good "stories" that reveal his strengths.

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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Noalani » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:24 am

jminv wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:16 am
Use the school's career center and network. Also ask faculty, they often know of opportunties through alumni. My first job out of my engineering program was an unlisted one through the chairman of my department. Can ask faculty for contacts of people who might be hiring too and mention to faculty that they haven't found a job yet. Interesting that he had internships and wasn't able to convert them into offers, though. Rework the resume, use vmock on it (vmock.com), it'll help him make it stand out. He will find something.
I had suggested the same with regard to career center and also connecting with alumni. I'd think Vanderbilt would have a terrific network of alumni in the engineering field for him to access! Thanks for your suggestions re: faculty and vmock. I'll make sure this gets to him. (I was surprised about the internships not converting to offers but it may have to do with his location preference...not sure.)

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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by HIinvestor » Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:23 am

If he’s interested, the Fed govt hires engineers too for a lot of jobs. Attending engineering career fairs was something our S always made a point of doing (the Fed govt recruited there and online). He also worked with the engineering career counseling center. I’d suspect Vanderbilt has one too. He should definitely ask profs he has a relationship for any leads and let them know he’s still job-hunting.

I’d ask the career center to have him practice interviews to boost his confidence and skills and have them review his resume as well.

tigermilk
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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by tigermilk » Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:35 am

I see a warning flag if he didn't get any offers from the organization's he interned for. Is it truly "geographical preference" or a workplace issue? Good grades and book smarts doesn't always trranslate into top notch practicing engineers.

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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by investingdad » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:12 am

My advice is for the interview process, especially the college academic superstars.

Please make sure he remembers to be humble. I've interviewed new grads and recent grads who came in with stories that made it sound like they've already mastered engineering before they even started. A recent grad that tells me he saved the company $10 million, or solved some incredible engineering problem, as an intern is full of it.

Stories at that experience level should focus on what they learned and took away from the experience.

I was looking at the LinkedIn of an engineer at our company that was interviewing for a different position. She'd only been working 4 years but I was struck by the fact that she'd apparently done more for the company in that time than I did in 20 plus years.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:16 am

Google him, see what is on his Facebook page and Twitter and Instagram. Anywhere he has applied for a job has already has.

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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:26 am

Lockheed Martin over the bridge in New Jersey? The military's are hiring pretty strongly. Where is his "geographical preference"? Sorta hard to suggest a prospective employer without knowing that. Mech Eng has a bazillion job openings. My son added a double of mechanical to his civil major specifically because there were 500 mech jobs to every 1 civil.
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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Wagnerjb » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:17 am

tigermilk wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:35 am
I see a warning flag if he didn't get any offers from the organization's he interned for. Is it truly "geographical preference" or a workplace issue? Good grades and book smarts doesn't always trranslate into top notch practicing engineers.
I had the exact same thoughts. Many organizations will offer their interns a permanent position (often right after the summer is over), so the fact that this student doesn't have offers from his summer jobs is a huge red flag to me. If I am a recruiter and I see a person who had multiple summer jobs but doesn't have offers from them, I am going to assume the person isn't a good worker. The "geographical preference" may just be a cover up for the lack of offers from the summer jobs.

If the student is truly a great student and worker, then he should have offers from summer jobs as a fall back. Personally, I would take one of those offers (in a different city) rather than be unemployed - which looks horrible to recruiters and only digs the hole deeper.

Best wishes.
Andy

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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:30 am

> Use the school's career center

If he has NOT been doing this he has really missed out.

Companies come TO engineering schools to interview new graduates. The career center helps edit resumes, does practice job interviews, and schedules interviews. It is very very surprising for a good student to not have several offers (in this economy) and at this time in the year.

There may be something seriously wrong. It is pretty late to be asking questions.

It's great to have geographic preferences but A job is more important.

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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by lthenderson » Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:47 am

As a mechanical engineer with lots of college internship experiences, I had my pick of jobs well before I was close to graduating. Like others suggested, I would make sure he is utilizing his schools job hiring resources. I used them to arrange lots of interviews and to research every potential company ahead of the interview so that I was knowledgeable on what they made/did. I would also review the resume to make sure it is highlighting these experiences. My college had a professional resume reviewer to read your resume and suggest edits before giving it to any potential employers. One secret I used to my advantage over the years was to bring something physical to every interview that demonstrated something I have designed. It could be a class project, prints of something or actual full functioning designs that could easily be carried. Employers always loved having something to hold in their hands versus a wordy resume that looked like every other resume in their stack.

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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Afty » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:15 am

FWIW, I never found the career centers at either my undergrad or grad school very helpful. They gave very generic advice and didn't have much insight into specific roles or careers. He's better off getting advice from people in the engineering department if he can.

I'll echo that it seems fishy that this student has had several internships but doesn't have an offer yet. At my company, if you intern and are within a year of graduation, and you do well in the internship, you will get an offer at the end of your internship. The primary purpose of engineering internships is to hire the good ones when they graduate.

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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by lthenderson » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:32 am

Afty wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:15 am
FWIW, I never found the career centers at either my undergrad or grad school very helpful. They gave very generic advice and didn't have much insight into specific roles or careers.
I agree that their advice was generic at best. By far the most important tool they provided that I utilized is that the college brought in potential employers from all over the country to campus and you could sign up to interview with them. Not only did this allow me to get interviewing experience quickly but I could do interviews without having to miss class. They also held numerous job fairs throughout the year but for me, these were never as successfully as sitting alone in a room with a potential employer for 30 minutes without all the noise and hubbub of a job fair going on around us.

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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:37 am

Afty wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:15 am
FWIW, I never found the career centers at either my undergrad or grad school very helpful. They gave very generic advice and didn't have much insight into specific roles or careers. He's better off getting advice from people in the engineering department if he can.
That's a real shame. The career center at my undergrad college was instrumental in honing my resume down from a pile of mud to a professional depiction of me to an employer. I still to this day keep in mind many of the things the center instilled in me. For example, hiring managers often read only the first page of a resume, so if your resume is more than one page, you're showing that you're unable to highlight what's important and prioritize what's on a resume. Especially for a new graduate. For a post doc with 100 publications and 50 patents, how would you possibly put that all on a resume? Simple:

100 publications in APEC, IEEE Transactions, articles and applications notes.

50 US patents.

With over 30 years of hands on engineering under my belt and publications, app notes, patents and many, many colleges attended and related jobs, I've never gone over a page.
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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:03 pm

Afty wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:15 am
FWIW, I never found the career centers at either my undergrad or grad school very helpful. They gave very generic advice and didn't have much insight into specific roles or careers. He's better off getting advice from people in the engineering department if he can.
I suppose there are schools out there that are not good at undergrad placement. I have experience at a highly-rated place that takes this very seriously. Maybe this is one of the things to investigate when choosing a school.

Now as far as grad placement is concerned- there's a big difference between MS and PhD.

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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Glockenspiel » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:17 pm

First job out of college isn’t the time to be picky. Much more employable once you get the “train in” period over. He may need to expand his horizons a bit and apply to things not in his prime location, etc. My first engineering job was in a small town, small office of a big company and once I was there a year I requested a transfer to my ideal location. His school should have had a career fair where he attended and even interviewed with potential employers at.

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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Noalani » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:23 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:26 am
Lockheed Martin over the bridge in New Jersey? The military's are hiring pretty strongly. Where is his "geographical preference"? Sorta hard to suggest a prospective employer without knowing that. Mech Eng has a bazillion job openings. My son added a double of mechanical to his civil major specifically because there were 500 mech jobs to every 1 civil.
I have to talk to my friend and nail down her son's geographical preference. It is heartening to hear that mechanical has tons of job openings but also creates cause for concern that he hasn't received an offer yet! I'll post back later in the day with more info about his situation. Thanks for the suggestion.

Noalani
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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Noalani » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:30 pm

HIinvestor wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:23 am
If he’s interested, the Fed govt hires engineers too for a lot of jobs. Attending engineering career fairs was something our S always made a point of doing (the Fed govt recruited there and online). He also worked with the engineering career counseling center. I’d suspect Vanderbilt has one too. He should definitely ask profs he has a relationship for any leads and let them know he’s still job-hunting.

I’d ask the career center to have him practice interviews to boost his confidence and skills and have them review his resume as well.
Definitely agree that it looks like he must work on his practice interviews. From what my friend has said, this is an area that needs shoring up. Are you in Honolulu? I believe my friend mentioned Honolulu as one of her son's areas of geographical preference (we both live on Maui). We are trying to dissuade our our children from returning to the islands because of HCOL and limited career mobility. Do you have any insight as to the mechanical engineering job outlook in Honolulu/Oahu?

Thanks for your response.

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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:35 pm

triceratop wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:59 am
Goal33 wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:44 am
The best thing he can do is make sure his son knows the gravy train is ending.
Strictly IMO, it is not the most helpful to immediately assume bad faith in the son's work ethic or responsibility, when every indication from the OP is that the son irresponsibly completing his education and developing professionally. This is true regardless of your lived experience.
+1

Noalani
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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Noalani » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:37 pm

Wagnerjb wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:17 am
tigermilk wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:35 am
I see a warning flag if he didn't get any offers from the organization's he interned for. Is it truly "geographical preference" or a workplace issue? Good grades and book smarts doesn't always trranslate into top notch practicing engineers.
I had the exact same thoughts. Many organizations will offer their interns a permanent position (often right after the summer is over), so the fact that this student doesn't have offers from his summer jobs is a huge red flag to me. If I am a recruiter and I see a person who had multiple summer jobs but doesn't have offers from them, I am going to assume the person isn't a good worker. The "geographical preference" may just be a cover up for the lack of offers from the summer jobs.

If the student is truly a great student and worker, then he should have offers from summer jobs as a fall back. Personally, I would take one of those offers (in a different city) rather than be unemployed - which looks horrible to recruiters and only digs the hole deeper.

Best wishes.
Yes, I agree wholeheartedly and need to dig deeper with my friend about "geographic preference." I remember she did mention Honolulu (we both live on Maui) and I believe Houston! I'm not sure why...I'll get more info from her today. Thanks for your reply.

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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:37 pm

Noalani wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:19 am
Eagle33 wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:56 am
Be sure the graduate's Internet presence is professional, not party.

If not getting interviews, then rework the resume to be sure to include the value added results graduate delivered at each internship.

If getting interviews, then be sure graduate knows knows own strengths and have at least 2 good "stories" for each how graduate delivered results. And practice, practice, practice responses to potential questions.
Yes, I agree with your Internet advice for ALL new grads. I believe his is professional but will suggest to my friend that she double check on that. He has had interviews but no offers yet. I will share input about resume and interview question practice. He's a bit on the quiet side, so it's to his benefit to come up with some good "stories" that reveal his strengths.
He may not interview well. I know I did not and found my first job through a fellow classmate.

Noalani
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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Noalani » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:41 pm

Wow. It's amazing to wake up in the morning in Hawaii and see all the responses. What a board! I had time to quickly scan but must get to work. I plan to ask my friend more questions about her son's situation--what exactly has he done in terms of job search/job fairs/etc and what exactly are his areas of geographic preference. Thanks to all of you for taking time to reply. I will share your responses with my friend and be back with more info.

LawEgr1
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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by LawEgr1 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:47 pm

I applied to every job that looked interesting. My first job was from an internship. (most were) My best prospects included those I prepared for the interview instead of winging it. I'm batting 0.000 for follow-ups when I wing it.

Also be open to other areas if possible and larger organizations allowing transfers. Defense industry is great for those.

Noalani
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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Noalani » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:40 pm

LawEgr1 wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:47 pm
I applied to every job that looked interesting. My first job was from an internship. (most were) My best prospects included those I prepared for the interview instead of winging it. I'm batting 0.000 for follow-ups when I wing it.

Also be open to other areas if possible and larger organizations allowing transfers. Defense industry is great for those.
Totally agree about preparing for interviews. I think he doesn’t realize he’ll need to cast a broad net. Thanks for your input!

Noalani
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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Noalani » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:50 pm

Just a bit more info:
My friend’s son would love to find a job in either Dallas, Nashville, or the Carolinas. But he’s realizing he will need to go anywhere. My friend says he tends to be on the quiet side and is maybe not so “savvy” about how to approach job search and interviews. I have already passed on much of this post’s advice...hopefully he’ll use it.

And apparently the kind of internship he had was not specifically in mechanical engineering—not sure why not. So that place isn’t an option. The other internship was on Maui (where he grew up) and that’s not an option at this time either as his girlfriend will be in Texas in grad school.

Thanks for any continued input re: his preferred locales and job search.

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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Dominic » Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:08 pm

Not an expert, but these things helped me out:

1) Polish the resume. It needs to be impressive to humans, but also to algorithms that look for buzzwords. Without being too heavy-handed, he should make sure to highlight technologies/processes he's familiar with. As many others have suggested, the university should be able to help out with this.
2) Don't be generic. Read the job posting, and then tailor the resume to what the company wants to hear.
3) Write cover letters. They're usually optional, but I never get replies without attaching a cover letter. He should explain why he's interested in the company, and what he can do for the company. Again, he should be paying close attention to the job's requirements and make reference to those. If he doesn't meet certain qualifications, he should explain how he's going to get around that -- does he know a related technology, did he quickly pick up a new skill at one of his internships?
4) Interview well. In my experience, this comes down to showing enthusiasm about the field and the company, as well as being able to talk honestly about past experience.
5) Apply via more mediums. Use company websites, but also use recruiters who come to the school, career fairs, referrals from friends, etc.
6) Be slightly less picky. Commute a little further, get paid a little less, work on something that's not quite as interesting. Don't take an awful job, but it's a good confidence-booster at the minimum, and might open up the door to something better.

Regarding Texas, there should be plenty of engineering jobs in the state. There are a lot of defense jobs out there, particularly if he has an aerospace specialization. I wouldn't be surprised if some petrol companies hire mechanical engineers either.

tch_usa
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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by tch_usa » Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:31 pm

Repeating/echoing some of the above:

1. Make an appointment at the Vanderbilt career center: https://www.vanderbilt.edu/career/

2. Online presence: At he least, he should have a relatively well-flushed out linkedin profile with a picture and most areas filled out. If otherwise his online presence is sparse or problematic, he should make a personal website that discusses his experience (internships, projects he may have done for classes, and any side projects or any other interests).

3. Leverage Vanderbilt's network: https://www.vuconnect.com/s/1643/index- ... 2&pgid=393
At the very least, he should contact (through email from his vanderbilt.edu address, linkedin, or even Facebook) the Vanderbilt alumni groups in the locations he's interested in, such as:
Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas: https://www.vuconnect.com/s/1643/index- ... 2&pgid=571
Nashville, Tennessee: https://www.vuconnect.com/s/1643/index- ... 2&pgid=585
Research Triangle, North Carolina: https://www.vuconnect.com/s/1643/index- ... 2&pgid=587

Noalani
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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Noalani » Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:31 pm

Dominic wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:08 pm
Not an expert, but these things helped me out:

1) Polish the resume. It needs to be impressive to humans, but also to algorithms that look for buzzwords. Without being too heavy-handed, he should make sure to highlight technologies/processes he's familiar with. As many others have suggested, the university should be able to help out with this.
2) Don't be generic. Read the job posting, and then tailor the resume to what the company wants to hear.
3) Write cover letters. They're usually optional, but I never get replies without attaching a cover letter. He should explain why he's interested in the company, and what he can do for the company. Again, he should be paying close attention to the job's requirements and make reference to those. If he doesn't meet certain qualifications, he should explain how he's going to get around that -- does he know a related technology, did he quickly pick up a new skill at one of his internships?
4) Interview well. In my experience, this comes down to showing enthusiasm about the field and the company, as well as being able to talk honestly about past experience.
5) Apply via more mediums. Use company websites, but also use recruiters who come to the school, career fairs, referrals from friends, etc.
6) Be slightly less picky. Commute a little further, get paid a little less, work on something that's not quite as interesting. Don't take an awful job, but it's a good confidence-booster at the minimum, and might open up the door to something better.

Regarding Texas, there should be plenty of engineering jobs in the state. There are a lot of defense jobs out there, particularly if he has an aerospace specialization. I wouldn't be surprised if some petrol companies hire mechanical engineers either.
Wow, I love your detailed advice. Thank you. I’ve already passed it on. (And I may seek your help when MY son has to do his resume/job search!)

Noalani
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Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Noalani » Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:41 pm

tch_usa wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:31 pm
Repeating/echoing some of the above:

1. Make an appointment at the Vanderbilt career center: https://www.vanderbilt.edu/career/

2. Online presence: At he least, he should have a relatively well-flushed out linkedin profile with a picture and most areas filled out. If otherwise his online presence is sparse or problematic, he should make a personal website that discusses his experience (internships, projects he may have done for classes, and any side projects or any other interests).

3. Leverage Vanderbilt's network: https://www.vuconnect.com/s/1643/index- ... 2&pgid=393
At the very least, he should contact (through email from his vanderbilt.edu address, linkedin, or even Facebook) the Vanderbilt alumni groups in the locations he's interested in, such as:
Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas: https://www.vuconnect.com/s/1643/index- ... 2&pgid=571
Nashville, Tennessee: https://www.vuconnect.com/s/1643/index- ... 2&pgid=585
Research Triangle, North Carolina: https://www.vuconnect.com/s/1643/index- ... 2&pgid=587
I am floored at the level of help people on this board provide. The suggestion of a personal website is helpful, especially for someone who doesn't have lots of work projects under his belt. And it looks like Vanderbilt has a strong alumni network. This is quite helpful and I'm passing it along immediately. Thank you!

Goal33
Posts: 601
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:30 pm

Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Goal33 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 10:59 pm

Noalani wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:14 am
Goal33 wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:44 am
The best thing he can do is make sure his son knows the gravy train is ending.

Given the internships, etc. it should be easy to get a job using school resources (job fair). He can leverage his classmates and see what they are doing.

I am also an engineering graduate of 2014. I had a job lined up 1 year in advance and all my friends were able to get jobs pretty easily. A few took it easy and got jobs after graduation.
He has always been a hard worker, and he received a full ride through Vanderbilt, so he definitely does not rely on the gravy train. I had thought the internships would help him too, and I'm puzzled as to why he didn't follow up with them. It might have to do with his geographical preferences. I would hope he was leveraging his classmates but if not that's a good idea. How did you have your job lined up a year in advance?
Some companies larger companies will do long range hiring. By attending job fairs every year and doing internships, I had built up enough of a network that I was able to get interviews before the senior year school year had started... plus had some return offer options from internships if I wanted to take advantage of those.

Ultimately I think his classmates and university are the best resource. Advice from classmates (or observation of what they are doing) will be most relevant in my opinion.
A man with one watch always knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never sure.

Goal33
Posts: 601
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:30 pm

Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Goal33 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 11:16 pm

investingdad wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:12 am
Please make sure he remembers to be humble. I've interviewed new grads and recent grads who came in with stories that made it sound like they've already mastered engineering before they even started. A recent grad that tells me he saved the company $10 million, or solved some incredible engineering problem, as an intern is full of it.
Great advice. I have experienced this several times and it's pretty funny. One guy I interviewed essentially took credit for an entire business unit's success at a major telecom. I tried to dig deeper but then he kept taking credit for the whole business. It was pretty odd. And then he asked me when we will follow up with him for the next round of interviews.
A man with one watch always knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never sure.

scrunchy
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:47 pm

Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by scrunchy » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:07 am

Be patient and apply to lots of jobs. And he might want to consider graduate school to make himself more competitive. Applying to graduate school will allow him to hopefully get a graduate internship at a company, which I would highly recommend. My company tends to be biased toward folks with graduate degrees, and some fields like modelling and simulation bias it towards PhDs.

Many moons ago when I got my degree, good grades from a good university were sufficient. Now times have changed. When I look at candidates, I look for a reasonably high GPA from a good university. If it is near or below 3.0, a candidate won't be competitive. if it in the lower 3's, there will need to be something else on the resume that compensates. I then look for relevant internships (emphasis on relevant) as well as relevant school projects or research. I also look at what the role was on a team project for school. Did the candidate take on a leadership role for example. And then for me, I also look for other experiences that make the candidate stand out or make him/her a good communicator.

Oh, and when I look at resumes, if a candidate puts structural dynamics as a resume objective and that is not the position I offer, I move on. If the candidate did not care enough to match their objective to the position, or even remove an objective that doesn't align, then why should I be looking at the resume. Well written cover letters are nice, but not cover letters that are too generic or regurgitate what is in the resume. I do glance at cover letters, so putting some effort into what goes in there can help.

When you interview, it is about whether the candidate is a good fit for the organization. Be prepared to present on a topic or ask if you can present or or review some of your work.

And the easiest way to get an entry level job is to have an internship at my company. All I have to do is check a box on a review form at the end of the summer that says make an offer.

Regards.

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fandango
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Location: Greater Atlanta area

Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by fandango » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:26 am

Hard to believe in this improving economy that a Vanderbilt graduate with a Mechanical Engineering degree can't/won't find a job.

New graduates need to realize that the "dream" job is often not there. Best to get employed, start working, and learn from the real world. You can always change direction later.

A good grade point average and an internship do not guarantee anything. There is something not on the table here. Work ethic, personality, interview skills, etc. We don't know the whole story.

deltaneutral83
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Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by deltaneutral83 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:57 am

Full scholarship to Vanderbilt in ME not having any luck on the job front is probably on the social side and more specifically, the interview(s). Still though, if he interned and they haven't had any leads, it may be deeper. I'm surprised he hasn't built up a few contacts several years older than he is from his internships. It's still only April though, I certainly wouldn't "lose sleep" as a parent, the kid has the smarts, likely just needs to grow into people skills. Most usually try to take the weight out of the resume by either knowing someone inside the company or directly emailing a few times with whomever is making the decision to bring you in for an interview. If you're competing blindly and you're in a stack of 80 resumes, you have to assume yours isn't going to be the one or two that stand out. 10 minute phone call beats 4 hours spent tailoring a resume beyond the norm.

Noalani
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2017 10:50 pm

Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Noalani » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:25 pm

scrunchy wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:07 am
Be patient and apply to lots of jobs. And he might want to consider graduate school to make himself more competitive. Applying to graduate school will allow him to hopefully get a graduate internship at a company, which I would highly recommend. My company tends to be biased toward folks with graduate degrees, and some fields like modelling and simulation bias it towards PhDs.

Many moons ago when I got my degree, good grades from a good university were sufficient. Now times have changed. When I look at candidates, I look for a reasonably high GPA from a good university. If it is near or below 3.0, a candidate won't be competitive. if it in the lower 3's, there will need to be something else on the resume that compensates. I then look for relevant internships (emphasis on relevant) as well as relevant school projects or research. I also look at what the role was on a team project for school. Did the candidate take on a leadership role for example. And then for me, I also look for other experiences that make the candidate stand out or make him/her a good communicator.

Oh, and when I look at resumes, if a candidate puts structural dynamics as a resume objective and that is not the position I offer, I move on. If the candidate did not care enough to match their objective to the position, or even remove an objective that doesn't align, then why should I be looking at the resume. Well written cover letters are nice, but not cover letters that are too generic or regurgitate what is in the resume. I do glance at cover letters, so putting some effort into what goes in there can help.

When you interview, it is about whether the candidate is a good fit for the organization. Be prepared to present on a topic or ask if you can present or or review some of your work.

And the easiest way to get an entry level job is to have an internship at my company. All I have to do is check a box on a review form at the end of the summer that says make an offer.

Regards.
Really good insight. Thank you. I'm not sure that grad school is an option for him at this time...but I'll pass this along to my friend. I know he's at the top of his class, which is why this is a bit puzzling. But, as others and you have mentioned, he needs to be a good communicator and that may be part of the problem. One thing is certain; I'll be passing along your post to MY own son (as he finishes up a double major in Biology and Chemistry) so he can see how employers make their decisions.

Noalani
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2017 10:50 pm

Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Noalani » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:30 pm

fandango wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:26 am
Hard to believe in this improving economy that a Vanderbilt graduate with a Mechanical Engineering degree can't/won't find a job.

New graduates need to realize that the "dream" job is often not there. Best to get employed, start working, and learn from the real world. You can always change direction later.

A good grade point average and an internship do not guarantee anything. There is something not on the table here. Work ethic, personality, interview skills, etc. We don't know the whole story.
I agree--your reaction is mine and my friend's reaction. He's got the work ethic and the smarts; I believe it may be the communication/ interview skills that are part of the problem. He will have to work on this, from what my friend is telling me. I think many young people believe they can "wing it" in interviews and you absolutely must not do that. Practice and real-life interviews are what he needs exposure to. Thanks for input.

Noalani
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2017 10:50 pm

Re: Job search advice for a soon-to-be engineering grad...

Post by Noalani » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:33 pm

deltaneutral83 wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:57 am
Full scholarship to Vanderbilt in ME not having any luck on the job front is probably on the social side and more specifically, the interview(s). Still though, if he interned and they haven't had any leads, it may be deeper. I'm surprised he hasn't built up a few contacts several years older than he is from his internships. It's still only April though, I certainly wouldn't "lose sleep" as a parent, the kid has the smarts, likely just needs to grow into people skills. Most usually try to take the weight out of the resume by either knowing someone inside the company or directly emailing a few times with whomever is making the decision to bring you in for an interview. If you're competing blindly and you're in a stack of 80 resumes, you have to assume yours isn't going to be the one or two that stand out. 10 minute phone call beats 4 hours spent tailoring a resume beyond the norm.
Thanks, delta! I'll pass along your words to my friend. She can be a worry wart. New grads nowadays need to realize that they must have stamina in the job search. Many, including my own daughter, think that applying to five companies is a lot! As I said above, his communication skills may be the issue.

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