Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

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DrGoogle2017
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by DrGoogle2017 »

From day one, my kid knew the importance of internship, everybody in school talked about internship for summer as a must. So whether she liked it or not, she had to go through that process. But some internships lead to job offers but she didn’t like all those companies. It’s a risk to turn them down without knowing what’s going to be offered. But she had to turn them down.

So her back up plan for her before she graduated was MS in engineering, she could easily qualify for that, the whole idea was to delay graduating and get some mid year internships(like fall vs summer) where it’s less competitive. I was worried she graduated in a recession. Luckily she found jobs before graduation.
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unclescrooge
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by unclescrooge »

Will do good wrote: Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:16 pm
EagertoLearnMore wrote: Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:03 pm Find a recruiter in his field and get the recruiter's advice. Plus, the recruiter may have inside connections to jobs never posted on the web.
We didn't think of this, we thought recruiters are for people already working. Thanks for your suggestion.
I've personally found recruiters to be useless unless you have very specific experience that they are looking for. They are just not motivated/incentivized to spend time looking for entry level candidates.
secretsquirrel
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by secretsquirrel »

OP,

Admittedly I skimmed many of the responses as they seem to be on point but what area of the country are you in? What was your son's area of interest while pursuing his IE degree - ops research, manufacturing, human factors, etc?
GAAP
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by GAAP »

I never listed GPA on any of my resumes -- don't recall ever getting asked about it. My general rule was to include the outstanding stuff, not the mundane and certainly not the unimpressive.

Another possibility to get some experience might be a tech-temp contracting firm.
“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” ― Bruce Lee
Senti
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by Senti »

dlrkw9mu wrote: Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:45 pm As others have mentioned, try leaving the GPA off the resume.

It's a lot of work, but also try tailoring the resume to each company/position.
I graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering (2010), with an aerospace emphasis. During university career fairs, many companies would tell me they don't have any aerospace positions, and toss my resume aside. After a while, I pulled the "aerospace emphasis" statement off my resume when submitting to non-aerospace companies, and it helped.

Keep at it. I was a few months of out of school before I landed a job, and I graduated cum laude. His persistance will pay off eventually.

Finally - (and it's a bit off topic) make sure he practices behavioral interview questions. They're difficult if you haven't prepared, and I didn't know to expect those sorts of questions when I was looking for my first job.
I second all of this.

Resumes/cover letters need to be for each job posted. It's painful, but your resume has to get past the first screening (HR/Computer), and they only know whats on the job description for the most part. If the job posting doesn't talk about GPA, your son does not need it on the resume.

Also, I think being open to moving helps. There are lots of jobs out there, they may not be within driving distance to you.

I failed miserably at my first few interviews, and I would highly recommend '101 Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions' by Ron Fry.
TBillT
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by TBillT »

My cousin sort of meets the OP profile and ended up getting into teaching, and the spouse had good job.

Staying in engineering yes means
>keep plugging,
>open to relo places like TX have all kinds of stuff going on,
>Linked-In sends me very interesting jobs in my region every week not sure how/why I get that, but I forward to younger people.
>Take more course work or miliatry assignment...I can tell you here in DC military background helps a whole lot

Ugh yes we used have special interview techniques but you have to be yourself, that's what we were trying figure out, who you were, and we would might forget GPA if we thought the candidate exhibited extraordinary initiative, darn I forget the other 7 traits we looked for. But we would have local students come in to help us practice our techniques, and sometimes we'd have C student knock our socks off and we would invite for real interview. But different companies would have diffenent techniques and different values they looked for. Maybe they do not want initiative, maybe they want initiative in managers but not engineers.
N10sive
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by N10sive »

As others have said don't list the overall GPA. If has a decent GPA in the field of study then you could possibly put that.

Other ways is networking. I found my first job through a classmate which was first a lower position but has grown into a regular role and most recently I was hired at a megacorp. I also had a similar overall GPA. Finding the first job is tough as you have no experience.
pennywise
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by pennywise »

MarkRoulo wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:44 am
pennywise wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:28 am
No, that's bad advice. As a career advisor specifically for engineers/STEM majors I assure you that for first/entry level jobs recruiters definitely expect to see a GPA and most use 3.0 as a cutoff score for first pass sorting.

So for anyone reading who knows or perhaps is looking for his/her first engineering position please ignore the 'don't put your GPA on your resume' advice. It's coming from folks who are speaking as experienced engineers whose first job search is long behind them...
Some of that advice is comming from wprking engineers who have been looking at candidate resumes,phone screening candidates, interviewing candidates and doing corporate recruiting for 20+ years now. Why is including a resume killer (poor GPA) considered a good thing?
My response was poorly phrased-if the resume and the major GPA are both below 3.0, don't include them.

I was actually responding to someone positing that NOBODY should include a GPA regardless of its level, which is in fact bad advice.

If you've earned above a B average-advertise it. If not-don't highlight it.
nigel_ht
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by nigel_ht »

Bacchus01 wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:23 am
msk wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:15 am If it were my son I would just suggest to him to do a Master's degree at his alma mater. That already gave him a research assistantship. It ought to be straightforward to get full funding (Research Assistantship + Teaching Assistantship + fees waiver) for an MEng. During the MEng he should include courses on coding. For some weird reason even among STEM grads, coding ability makes you stand out. My son is doing an MSc in Physics in one of those mammoth particle-physics collaborations with 200+ participants (he is one of the most junior among PhDs, Post Docs, Professors, etc.) and he is in great demand for doing various simulations because he had taken coding at the undergrad level. Always in demand even at their conferences. That came as a very pleasant surprise to him. He took the courses in coding following my suggestion from my own experience 50 years ago. Learning coding is far less effort than learning Latin and it pays off instantly, regardless of where you work. E.g. How many linguists, MBAs, etc. know how to code?! Makes the CV stand out, MEng in fluid mechanics but I can code!
I'm gonna say this again, going straight to an MS degree can work for some people, but as someone who employs hundreds of engineers, this would be a strike against you. Advanced degrees are great. EXPERIENCE is far more important. If you can't find a job with a BS, you may likely make it even harder to find a job with an MS when you have no experience.
If you didn't co-op as an undergrad and you haven't found a job in 6 months then going back into a graduate program re-opens the co-op/intern door for the internships that require you to be a student. I had a graduate intern this past summer. She didn't cost more than an undergrad intern but has the education of a fresh-out. Win-Win for both of us.
DrGoogle2017
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by DrGoogle2017 »

pennywise wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:40 pm
MarkRoulo wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:44 am
pennywise wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:28 am
No, that's bad advice. As a career advisor specifically for engineers/STEM majors I assure you that for first/entry level jobs recruiters definitely expect to see a GPA and most use 3.0 as a cutoff score for first pass sorting.

So for anyone reading who knows or perhaps is looking for his/her first engineering position please ignore the 'don't put your GPA on your resume' advice. It's coming from folks who are speaking as experienced engineers whose first job search is long behind them...
Some of that advice is comming from wprking engineers who have been looking at candidate resumes,phone screening candidates, interviewing candidates and doing corporate recruiting for 20+ years now. Why is including a resume killer (poor GPA) considered a good thing?
My response was poorly phrased-if the resume and the major GPA are both below 3.0, don't include them.

I was actually responding to someone positing that NOBODY should include a GPA regardless of its level, which is in fact bad advice.

If you've earned above a B average-advertise it. If not-don't highlight it.
I think it’s bad advice to put 3.01 GPA also. I don’t just think it’s bad, I think it’s terrible advice. But you sound like a HR person, I’m coming from an hiring engineer point of view. You must have lower bar. However, I’ve seen people put 3.9 GPA on resume. I think that’s ok to advertise.
rtree
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by rtree »

Long time lurker, but seeing that your son majored in Industrial Engineering struck a chord with me.

I graduated with an IE degree in December 2008 from a public university with a relatively good IE program. GPA was enough to get past initial screening. I had accepted a job offer to start as a quality engineer at a Fortune 500 that was shortly rescinded after graduation due to the recession. Since I graduated in the winter, I stayed near campus a few months to attend campus career fairs and visit the career center. Didn't find a job but was able to polish up my resume a bit more and do practice interviews at the training events they held.

I landed my first job at a small manufacturing company about 6 months later via a friend of a family friend's referral. Starting pay was lower, but I really appreciated getting to work at a small company to start, because you can work on so many different things to add more skills to your "engineering toolbox." I liked the close-knit feel of the smaller organization, so I was sad to see the site shut down nearly a decade later. Shortly thereafter, I joined a Fortune 500 in the same industry where I currently work. A different environment, but challenging and exciting in new ways.

Industrial Engineering is a pretty broad field but that also gives your son the flexibility to pursue a path he enjoys. After starting at the F500, I asked a co-worker who helped the hiring manager review resumes what they looked for. The position was "Industrial Engineer" (not entry-level) but they immediately set resumes of IE candidates who focused on human factors to the side. The position was extremely data driven and needed a fundamental grasp of scripting languages and SQL. I had a college IE classmate who interned in this industry, but hated staring at spreadsheets and code all day. He eventually ended up in food production which he found more to his liking. IE grads in the F500 company can also start in operations (usually as shift supervisors), planning, and supply chain. They do have a pretty strong internship and rotational program which ensures a deep pool of candidates.

In Summary:

1. If you are still within reasonable distance of his school, definitely take advantage of the campus career center.
2. Small companies can still be a great place to start. Network as much as possible. A referral and not an online submission is what landed me my first job.
3. Industrial Engineering is a broad field. If he is interested in more traditional manufacturing, find some books on Lean Manufacturing, Theory of Constraints, etc. If he hasn't already read "The Goal" by E. Goldratt, check it out from the library (pretty easy to find, don't buy it since it's light reading and not a reference book).
4. If he has an analytical mind brush up on Python, SQL, statistics, and data visualization tools. Plenty of guides online. At least get a solid grasp of Pivot Tables in Excel to start. If he decides he likes coding more, he may be able to find an entry-level developer or analyst position.

Good Luck!
msk
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by msk »

nigel_ht wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:05 pm
Bacchus01 wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:23 am
msk wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 5:15 am If it were my son I would just suggest to him to do a Master's degree at his alma mater. That already gave him a research assistantship. It ought to be straightforward to get full funding (Research Assistantship + Teaching Assistantship + fees waiver) for an MEng. During the MEng he should include courses on coding. For some weird reason even among STEM grads, coding ability makes you stand out. My son is doing an MSc in Physics in one of those mammoth particle-physics collaborations with 200+ participants (he is one of the most junior among PhDs, Post Docs, Professors, etc.) and he is in great demand for doing various simulations because he had taken coding at the undergrad level. Always in demand even at their conferences. That came as a very pleasant surprise to him. He took the courses in coding following my suggestion from my own experience 50 years ago. Learning coding is far less effort than learning Latin and it pays off instantly, regardless of where you work. E.g. How many linguists, MBAs, etc. know how to code?! Makes the CV stand out, MEng in fluid mechanics but I can code!
I'm gonna say this again, going straight to an MS degree can work for some people, but as someone who employs hundreds of engineers, this would be a strike against you. Advanced degrees are great. EXPERIENCE is far more important. If you can't find a job with a BS, you may likely make it even harder to find a job with an MS when you have no experience.
If you didn't co-op as an undergrad and you haven't found a job in 6 months then going back into a graduate program re-opens the co-op/intern door for the internships that require you to be a student. I had a graduate intern this past summer. She didn't cost more than an undergrad intern but has the education of a fresh-out. Win-Win for both of us.
I was supervising over a 1000+ engineers in a Fortune 10 multinational and even did a 2-year stint in HR, so I am very familiar with the recruitment process, both from an HR and a professional engineer department head point of view. Why an MEng? Because it makes the undergrad GPA irrelevant. Hence he can easily get past the HR weeding out. Why coding? Because that will excite his future colleague (the engineer doing the final, hiring interview). The MEng research will also introduce him to serious engineering contacts. Ideally of course we all look for job experienced hires, but in a Fortune 10 outfit we really never cared whether the interviewee came in with a PhD in nuclear physics or a civil engineering BEng. We could train any monkey who is technically AWAKE enough to do OUR kind of engineering. I joined with a PhD in solid state physics but the corporation had nothing to do with developing electronics. The AWAKE part is where GPA comes in for fresh hires. A lowish GPA indicates that the chap is not particularly turned on by his chosen undergrad study field and he should head towards a more generalist career. An MEng would certainly have pacified me in my hiring days.
s8r
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by s8r »

I do not think 2.73 is a bad GPA, more like average. It is around the middle of the spectrum.
fleckmc
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by fleckmc »

Couple things:
  • An employer will recognize right away if he/she is the one looking for the position or if it is his parents pushing them. The latter makes him/ her non- hireable
  • A GPA is important but only for a job right out of college.
    If cumulative GPA is below 3.0 then put in major GPA if it is offset 3.0. If neither are over 3.0 that is a tougher road to sled.
  • Internship/Coop experience matters especially in this job market. If you have none it is very likely that you chose to think it was not important. That is a negative because almost all engineers coming out right now have it, even those with GPAs below 3.0
  • One of the best skill sets an engineer can have in their resume is coding experience. It is the quickest translatable skill that a company can use as they bring you up to speed on their business practices and what they will handing you do.
  • Most important, if/ when you do get that interview, does your son/daughter show drive and have a good personality? As a hiring manager I always say we can teach our engineers what we need them to do, but internal drive and and a good personality are untrainable traits.
dcabler
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by dcabler »

LadyGeek wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:31 am
Bacchus01 wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:23 am I'm gonna say this again, going straight to an MS degree can work for some people, but as someone who employs hundreds of engineers, this would be a strike against you. Advanced degrees are great. EXPERIENCE is far more important. If you can't find a job with a BS, you may likely make it even harder to find a job with an MS when you have no experience.
^^^ This. I'm an engineer. Here's my approach to interviewing candidates -

The entire point of going to a well known school and having good grades is to get your first job. After that, grades and educational background have no influence on where you go next. They're just a data point on the resume. The rest is up to you.

The only thing that matters is that government contracts require qualified engineers to perform the work. What counts as "qualified"? A degree from an accredited school. That's it. No grades, no school reputation is considered.

BTW, design engineering isn't all it's cracked up to be. Have you considered test engineering? If you can get into the right group, it's more challenging than design. Why? You have to not only understand how the thing works, but figure out what the designer missed and how to test for it. The mindset is also different, as you are thinking "How can I break this?" vs. "How should it work?".
^^^ This. I'm also an engineer - and now a director of a large-ish organization. I started off my career in test engineering with a BSEE. For many of my friends and colleagues, this has been a career. I still wanted to design and test engineering was a great stepping stone for me. In the chip world, another avenue into design is design verification or validation. Again, many find that's where they want to stay. YMMV of course...
dcabler
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by dcabler »

Engineering hiring manager here. When hiring new grads, we typically use an internal recruitment process. Meaning candidates are pre-screened before we even get a stack of resume's and, yes, that means that somewhere the robot has rejected resume's with lower GPAs. Sadly, I'm nearly 100% sure that we are missing very good candidates because of this. Our company tends to stick to recruiting from only certain universities as well, which also limits the pool. The alternative is that I end up with a stack of 1000 resume's on my desk to pour through. Once in a great while a new grad resume' finds me via alternative means (mainly networking), but that's pretty rare these days..
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Will do good
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by Will do good »

rtree wrote: Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:28 am Long time lurker, but seeing that your son majored in Industrial Engineering struck a chord with me.

I graduated with an IE degree in December 2008 from a public university with a relatively good IE program. GPA was enough to get past initial screening. I had accepted a job offer to start as a quality engineer at a Fortune 500 that was shortly rescinded after graduation due to the recession. Since I graduated in the winter, I stayed near campus a few months to attend campus career fairs and visit the career center. Didn't find a job but was able to polish up my resume a bit more and do practice interviews at the training events they held.

I landed my first job at a small manufacturing company about 6 months later via a friend of a family friend's referral. Starting pay was lower, but I really appreciated getting to work at a small company to start, because you can work on so many different things to add more skills to your "engineering toolbox." I liked the close-knit feel of the smaller organization, so I was sad to see the site shut down nearly a decade later. Shortly thereafter, I joined a Fortune 500 in the same industry where I currently work. A different environment, but challenging and exciting in new ways.

Industrial Engineering is a pretty broad field but that also gives your son the flexibility to pursue a path he enjoys. After starting at the F500, I asked a co-worker who helped the hiring manager review resumes what they looked for. The position was "Industrial Engineer" (not entry-level) but they immediately set resumes of IE candidates who focused on human factors to the side. The position was extremely data driven and needed a fundamental grasp of scripting languages and SQL. I had a college IE classmate who interned in this industry, but hated staring at spreadsheets and code all day. He eventually ended up in food production which he found more to his liking. IE grads in the F500 company can also start in operations (usually as shift supervisors), planning, and supply chain. They do have a pretty strong internship and rotational program which ensures a deep pool of candidates.

In Summary:

1. If you are still within reasonable distance of his school, definitely take advantage of the campus career center.
2. Small companies can still be a great place to start. Network as much as possible. A referral and not an online submission is what landed me my first job.
3. Industrial Engineering is a broad field. If he is interested in more traditional manufacturing, find some books on Lean Manufacturing, Theory of Constraints, etc. If he hasn't already read "The Goal" by E. Goldratt, check it out from the library (pretty easy to find, don't buy it since it's light reading and not a reference book).
4. If he has an analytical mind brush up on Python, SQL, statistics, and data visualization tools. Plenty of guides online. At least get a solid grasp of Pivot Tables in Excel to start. If he decides he likes coding more, he may be able to find an entry-level developer or analyst position.

Good Luck!
Thank you for such clear and actionable advice!
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tadamsmar
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by tadamsmar »

I had a resume where I left off my GPA. I listed some of my good course grades and I listed my GRE or SAT because they were high. I did have some summer and work/study experience in my field.

This was decades ago where it was more common to just send paper resumes to employers.

I'd try smaller companies that may screen applicants by hand. Also, local companies that would like to avoid relocation expenses. But I am not sure how to find a job in the modern market.
stoptothink
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by stoptothink »

s8r wrote: Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:48 am I do not think 2.73 is a bad GPA, more like average. It is around the middle of the spectrum.
True, but it may eliminate someone completely from consideration with specific employers. As a hiring director in STEM, I really don't care about GPA and certainly don't require it to be noted on a resume, but if I saw a 2.73 GPA listed I probably would immediately toss it unless they had very intriguing experience. Nobody is looking for "average", especially when you have dozens (in my case, sometimes 100+) other candidates with really solid academic credentials. "Average" generally starts in a low-skilled position that has little to do with their degree; which certainly doesn't mean they won't ultimately be very successful.
cmdreset
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by cmdreset »

Hiring manager here - I saw a lot of conflicting "Put on GPA/Leave off GPA" advice here. Here is my take on the GPA question:

* Right out of school, no relevant (field-related) experience - Listing GPA is required. Not listing GPA in this case is a glaring red-flag omission. I also don't recommend listing major-only or other slices of GPA - doing poorly in non-major classes tells me that he doesn't like to work on things that don't interest him, another red flag. In your son's case, he needs to have a good narrative on why his grades were not the best - there is no avoiding this conversation.

* 1+ years relevant experience - GPA can be safely left off, past job performance is more important. Lots of 4.0 GPA people have poor workplace skills - We'd much rather hire a solid engineer who was conscientious and easygoing than a brilliant jerk. Of course, we REALLY want 4.0 GPA people that have great workplace skills (they exist but are in high demand.)

Your son is in an unfortunate situation, and I agree with the other posters who said he is going to have to start out in a lower position at a smaller company and work his way up. Forget Fortune 500 companies. The harsh reality is that we wouldn't look at his resume - competition is stiff for jobs at these firms and we can get the pick of the fresh engineering talent pool.

Good luck, and be patient!
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Will do good
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by Will do good »

OP here:

Thank you all for your posts, there are too many to comment on individually but there are some exceptionally great detailed posts which are very helpful. To answer some questions asked, he’s not just looking in our area (midwest) for a job but all over and applying to internships as well. We will recommend he leave his address off his resume as one Boglehead suggested as companies probably do not want to pay for the expense of interview travel. We have tried not to helicopter, wanting him to do this on his own. So far we’ve been taking notes and slowly dropping suggestions. He does not know we have written for advice on Bogleheads and are debating how to let him know so he can read responses and use the advice himself.

Our DS told us when winter break is over he will drive back to school (3 hours away) to attend the career fairs. And as many Bogleheads advised we will suggest he use the career counseling office for as much help as he can and to stay there if needed (he still has one month left on his lease). On a positive note he just did a video interview with a firm in our area so am hoping he can get to the next level. Perhaps we are panicking too early but the responses have been great so no regrets there and better than getting help 6 months later.
cherijoh
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by cherijoh »

KyleAAA wrote: Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:37 pm Why would you include GPA on your resume at all unless it were exceptional? I've never been asked for my college GPA and I've certainly never asked for it.
At least back in the day, it was expected on resumes of recent college grads. Once you had some experience, then one would typically drop it unless it was exceedingly high.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by go_mets »

Will do good wrote: Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:57 pm OP here:

Thank you all for your posts, there are too many to comment on individually but there are some exceptionally great detailed posts which are very helpful. To answer some questions asked, he’s not just looking in our area (midwest) for a job but all over and applying to internships as well. We will recommend he leave his address off his resume as one Boglehead suggested as companies probably do not want to pay for the expense of interview travel. We have tried not to helicopter, wanting him to do this on his own. So far we’ve been taking notes and slowly dropping suggestions. He does not know we have written for advice on Bogleheads and are debating how to let him know so he can read responses and use the advice himself.

Our DS told us when winter break is over he will drive back to school (3 hours away) to attend the career fairs. And as many Bogleheads advised we will suggest he use the career counseling office for as much help as he can and to stay there if needed (he still has one month left on his lease). On a positive note he just did a video interview with a firm in our area so am hoping he can get to the next level. Perhaps we are panicking too early but the responses have been great so no regrets there and better than getting help 6 months later.
Do you have relatives in other cities?
Maybe use their address?


.
MarkRoulo
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by MarkRoulo »

pennywise wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:40 pm
MarkRoulo wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:44 am
pennywise wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:28 am
No, that's bad advice. As a career advisor specifically for engineers/STEM majors I assure you that for first/entry level jobs recruiters definitely expect to see a GPA and most use 3.0 as a cutoff score for first pass sorting.

So for anyone reading who knows or perhaps is looking for his/her first engineering position please ignore the 'don't put your GPA on your resume' advice. It's coming from folks who are speaking as experienced engineers whose first job search is long behind them...
Some of that advice is comming from wprking engineers who have been looking at candidate resumes,phone screening candidates, interviewing candidates and doing corporate recruiting for 20+ years now. Why is including a resume killer (poor GPA) considered a good thing?
My response was poorly phrased-if the resume and the major GPA are both below 3.0, don't include them.

I was actually responding to someone positing that NOBODY should include a GPA regardless of its level, which is in fact bad advice.

If you've earned above a B average-advertise it. If not-don't highlight it.
Ah! Makes sense. Thanks for the followup.
anakinskywalker
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by anakinskywalker »

I'm hiring college or grad school grads for engineering roles in NYC. Anyone interested, feel free to PM me.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by anakinskywalker »

Btw as a hiring manager I would not advise dropping GPA from the resume, particularly that of a fresh grad. It would come across as very deceptive and/or dishonest, to me.

I would instead advise highlighting other achievements and qualities that make it clear why the person would be a good hire in spite of low GPA.

GPA is not everything. I look for character, intelligence, work ethic, and grades, in that order. GPA is just a rough measure of the previous two.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by KyleAAA »

pennywise wrote: Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:31 pm
KyleAAA wrote: Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:37 pm Why would you include GPA on your resume at all unless it were exceptional? I've never been asked for my college GPA and I've certainly never asked for it.
You are an experienced hire; a new college graduate should absolutely include GPA if it's 3.0 or higher. If not, for engineers it's considered acceptable to list one's major GPA since the engineering gen ed requirements are so arduous. Just because someone didn't do a stellar job in physics or calc or differential equations doesn't mean they aren't good candidates but we live in a ranking world. Most recruiters use entry level applicants' GPA as a quick screen item.
I was never asked as a new hire or for internships, either. I hire a lot of new grads and I’ve never asked nor cared at any of the companies for which I’ve hired. It has always been standard practice to disregard in my industry, at least, which is an engineering field.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by TN_Boy »

KyleAAA wrote: Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:49 pm
pennywise wrote: Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:31 pm
KyleAAA wrote: Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:37 pm Why would you include GPA on your resume at all unless it were exceptional? I've never been asked for my college GPA and I've certainly never asked for it.
You are an experienced hire; a new college graduate should absolutely include GPA if it's 3.0 or higher. If not, for engineers it's considered acceptable to list one's major GPA since the engineering gen ed requirements are so arduous. Just because someone didn't do a stellar job in physics or calc or differential equations doesn't mean they aren't good candidates but we live in a ranking world. Most recruiters use entry level applicants' GPA as a quick screen item.
I was never asked as a new hire or for internships, either. I hire a lot of new grads and I’ve never asked nor cared at any of the companies for which I’ve hired. It has always been standard practice to disregard in my industry, at least, which is an engineering field.
Curious what engineering field you are in.

In the software company(s) I've worked for, we always had the GPA when interviewing people coming out of college/grad school. Always. Nobody thought GPA was the only important metric, but it was an obvious first screen. In those companies, we generally had a choice of many graduates from well regarded programs. So ... why not look at the GPA? It's part of the applicant's track record.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by KeepItSimple78 »

As many others have said, try omitting GPA in general or calculating and using core engineering classes GPA only if that will pull it up.
Avid reader of personal finance/investing literature; however, no formal training in this area. My comments are always well-intended, and most often well-informed.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by KyleAAA »

TN_Boy wrote: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:31 pm
KyleAAA wrote: Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:49 pm
pennywise wrote: Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:31 pm
KyleAAA wrote: Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:37 pm Why would you include GPA on your resume at all unless it were exceptional? I've never been asked for my college GPA and I've certainly never asked for it.
You are an experienced hire; a new college graduate should absolutely include GPA if it's 3.0 or higher. If not, for engineers it's considered acceptable to list one's major GPA since the engineering gen ed requirements are so arduous. Just because someone didn't do a stellar job in physics or calc or differential equations doesn't mean they aren't good candidates but we live in a ranking world. Most recruiters use entry level applicants' GPA as a quick screen item.
I was never asked as a new hire or for internships, either. I hire a lot of new grads and I’ve never asked nor cared at any of the companies for which I’ve hired. It has always been standard practice to disregard in my industry, at least, which is an engineering field.
Curious what engineering field you are in.

In the software company(s) I've worked for, we always had the GPA when interviewing people coming out of college/grad school. Always. Nobody thought GPA was the only important metric, but it was an obvious first screen. In those companies, we generally had a choice of many graduates from well regarded programs. So ... why not look at the GPA? It's part of the applicant's track record.
Software. It is not regarded as a useful data point.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by TN_Boy »

KyleAAA wrote: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:46 pm
TN_Boy wrote: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:31 pm
KyleAAA wrote: Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:49 pm
pennywise wrote: Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:31 pm
KyleAAA wrote: Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:37 pm Why would you include GPA on your resume at all unless it were exceptional? I've never been asked for my college GPA and I've certainly never asked for it.
You are an experienced hire; a new college graduate should absolutely include GPA if it's 3.0 or higher. If not, for engineers it's considered acceptable to list one's major GPA since the engineering gen ed requirements are so arduous. Just because someone didn't do a stellar job in physics or calc or differential equations doesn't mean they aren't good candidates but we live in a ranking world. Most recruiters use entry level applicants' GPA as a quick screen item.
I was never asked as a new hire or for internships, either. I hire a lot of new grads and I’ve never asked nor cared at any of the companies for which I’ve hired. It has always been standard practice to disregard in my industry, at least, which is an engineering field.
Curious what engineering field you are in.

In the software company(s) I've worked for, we always had the GPA when interviewing people coming out of college/grad school. Always. Nobody thought GPA was the only important metric, but it was an obvious first screen. In those companies, we generally had a choice of many graduates from well regarded programs. So ... why not look at the GPA? It's part of the applicant's track record.
Software. It is not regarded as a useful data point.
Which goes to show the range of opinions on interviewing. As I said, my background is the computer industry -- telcos, computer vendors, storage, etc. Although the companies I've worked for produced hardware as well as software, the bulk of the engineers at most of my companies were software engineers. My background is software, and I've interviewed people for software roles in many organizations. Your blanket claim "it is not regarded as a useful data point" is clearly an overstatement.

GPA is a relevant data point. It is not a proxy for raw coding ability. But it tells me about whether the applicant has managed to succeed in classes -- whether they liked them or not. Just like it will be in their job -- not everything is fun.

And if we have 20 resumes from good schools to consider for two or three positions, and 15 resumes have GPAs of 3.5 or over and 5 resumes have GPAs of 2.5, well, the the 2.5s (again, this for new college hires) are probably not going to even get a phone screen unless there is something interesting in those 2.5 GPA resumes. We are not going to interview every applicant we get, so GPA is one screen. If we have fewer applicants, we might look harder at the lower GPA resumes.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

1) Even for a simple thing like listing the CGPA, you could see a wide range of responses from the hiring managers. That is a significant point. From an industry insider, the person would have the knowledge and understanding of how to play this game for a specific employer. Meanwhile, the fresh graduate will do this blind and hope for the best.

2) Another very key important point that you should press upon your son or let him talk to someone about his. Your son has no idea what the specific employer and/or the hiring manager is looking for. Some specific exposure to a software package and/or programing language may not be considered as important to your son. But, that may be the most important factor for this employer.

3) Let's take a specific example in my case. In my area of WiFi network design, we use a particular software package for WiFi network design. If you can spell the name of that software, you probably get your feet into the door. And, you probably will be considered as an experienced engineer.

KlangFool
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by KyleAAA »

TN_Boy wrote: Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:15 am
KyleAAA wrote: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:46 pm
TN_Boy wrote: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:31 pm
KyleAAA wrote: Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:49 pm
pennywise wrote: Thu Jan 03, 2019 6:31 pm

You are an experienced hire; a new college graduate should absolutely include GPA if it's 3.0 or higher. If not, for engineers it's considered acceptable to list one's major GPA since the engineering gen ed requirements are so arduous. Just because someone didn't do a stellar job in physics or calc or differential equations doesn't mean they aren't good candidates but we live in a ranking world. Most recruiters use entry level applicants' GPA as a quick screen item.
I was never asked as a new hire or for internships, either. I hire a lot of new grads and I’ve never asked nor cared at any of the companies for which I’ve hired. It has always been standard practice to disregard in my industry, at least, which is an engineering field.
Curious what engineering field you are in.

In the software company(s) I've worked for, we always had the GPA when interviewing people coming out of college/grad school. Always. Nobody thought GPA was the only important metric, but it was an obvious first screen. In those companies, we generally had a choice of many graduates from well regarded programs. So ... why not look at the GPA? It's part of the applicant's track record.
Software. It is not regarded as a useful data point.
Which goes to show the range of opinions on interviewing. As I said, my background is the computer industry -- telcos, computer vendors, storage, etc. Although the companies I've worked for produced hardware as well as software, the bulk of the engineers at most of my companies were software engineers. My background is software, and I've interviewed people for software roles in many organizations. Your blanket claim "it is not regarded as a useful data point" is clearly an overstatement.

GPA is a relevant data point. It is not a proxy for raw coding ability. But it tells me about whether the applicant has managed to succeed in classes -- whether they liked them or not. Just like it will be in their job -- not everything is fun.

And if we have 20 resumes from good schools to consider for two or three positions, and 15 resumes have GPAs of 3.5 or over and 5 resumes have GPAs of 2.5, well, the the 2.5s (again, this for new college hires) are probably not going to even get a phone screen unless there is something interesting in those 2.5 GPA resumes. We are not going to interview every applicant we get, so GPA is one screen. If we have fewer applicants, we might look harder at the lower GPA resumes.
You will not be able to hire the best candidates with that strategy. This is fairly well studied in industry. Some old school companies still consider GPA but none of the best do (FANG, unicorns, et al). Of course not all companies disregard GPA since most aren't at the forefront of recruiting best practices. That doesn't change best practice.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by TN_Boy »

KyleAAA wrote: Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:27 pm
TN_Boy wrote: Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:15 am
KyleAAA wrote: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:46 pm
TN_Boy wrote: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:31 pm
KyleAAA wrote: Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:49 pm

I was never asked as a new hire or for internships, either. I hire a lot of new grads and I’ve never asked nor cared at any of the companies for which I’ve hired. It has always been standard practice to disregard in my industry, at least, which is an engineering field.
Curious what engineering field you are in.

In the software company(s) I've worked for, we always had the GPA when interviewing people coming out of college/grad school. Always. Nobody thought GPA was the only important metric, but it was an obvious first screen. In those companies, we generally had a choice of many graduates from well regarded programs. So ... why not look at the GPA? It's part of the applicant's track record.
Software. It is not regarded as a useful data point.
Which goes to show the range of opinions on interviewing. As I said, my background is the computer industry -- telcos, computer vendors, storage, etc. Although the companies I've worked for produced hardware as well as software, the bulk of the engineers at most of my companies were software engineers. My background is software, and I've interviewed people for software roles in many organizations. Your blanket claim "it is not regarded as a useful data point" is clearly an overstatement.

GPA is a relevant data point. It is not a proxy for raw coding ability. But it tells me about whether the applicant has managed to succeed in classes -- whether they liked them or not. Just like it will be in their job -- not everything is fun.

And if we have 20 resumes from good schools to consider for two or three positions, and 15 resumes have GPAs of 3.5 or over and 5 resumes have GPAs of 2.5, well, the the 2.5s (again, this for new college hires) are probably not going to even get a phone screen unless there is something interesting in those 2.5 GPA resumes. We are not going to interview every applicant we get, so GPA is one screen. If we have fewer applicants, we might look harder at the lower GPA resumes.
You will not be able to hire the best candidates with that strategy. This is fairly well studied in industry. Some old school companies still consider GPA but none of the best do (FANG, unicorns, et al). Of course not all companies disregard GPA since most aren't at the forefront of recruiting best practices. That doesn't change best practice.
I stand at least partly corrected; for example here is a short article on IBM's current practices on hiring junior software developers:

https://www.hirevue.com/blog/why-ibm-do ... developers

However, I wasn't arguing for solely using GPA. According to the above article, IBM would place any weight on GPA later in the interview; the basic process starts with verification that the applicant can write code.

And everything else being equal, I still like higher GPAs; they tell me the candidate tries to get all work done, not just that work he or she finds interesting.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by Cuzz35 »

I was in a similar situation. Low GPA, had switched majors a few times and had no experience. My first degree was in finance.

I ended up going back to school and getting a second undergrad degree in accounting. My overall GPA was still low, but I had a 4.0 in all my accounting courses. I attended all my school's networking events and careers fairs and ended up with 6 internship interviews. Got one of the 6, worked my butt off, got a full time offer and have been with the same company going on 7 years

I don't recommend doing what I did but I think it is worth considering to see if it might make sense.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

There's a lot of information out there and your son can take advantage of it.

Use LinkedIn to find people who work at the target company.
Figure out people who are in the department where a potential job exists.
Look at their profiles. What do they list as skills, modeling software or financial software used.
Learn that software or spruce up on the listed skills.
Add these to your resume.
Submit resume.

My son did this for his summer internship. He got an interview. He found from more research that a specific modeling software was used in the group where he got the interview. He learned it. In the interview, he talked about projects he did for classes and included the exact software the group uses. The interviewer took notice and lit up. They talked a bit about it and he got the job. Son is a Civil major, but software models are used everywhere, so it's not just for CS majors.

It was mentioned to go back for Masters and look into Co-Op. This is a great way to inject yourself into a company. I did this....although because I ran out of money. But it helped me a lot and I went to work full time for this company although a completely different group in another location. Oh...and I had 8 months added to my time there and 8 days of vacation acrewed.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by FIREchief »

LadyGeek wrote: Fri Jan 04, 2019 9:31 am What counts as "qualified"? A degree from an accredited school. That's it. No grades, no school reputation is considered.
Back when I was involved in this at Megacorp, it wasn't engineering schools that were accredited (by ABET), but specific curriculums. Has this changed?
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by LadyGeek »

Sorry, I'm going from memory here and don't recall the details. Like you, it was back when I was working at my MegaCorp employer.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by DrGoogle2017 »

KyleAAA wrote: Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:27 pm
TN_Boy wrote: Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:15 am
KyleAAA wrote: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:46 pm
TN_Boy wrote: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:31 pm
KyleAAA wrote: Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:49 pm

I was never asked as a new hire or for internships, either. I hire a lot of new grads and I’ve never asked nor cared at any of the companies for which I’ve hired. It has always been standard practice to disregard in my industry, at least, which is an engineering field.
Curious what engineering field you are in.

In the software company(s) I've worked for, we always had the GPA when interviewing people coming out of college/grad school. Always. Nobody thought GPA was the only important metric, but it was an obvious first screen. In those companies, we generally had a choice of many graduates from well regarded programs. So ... why not look at the GPA? It's part of the applicant's track record.
Software. It is not regarded as a useful data point.
Which goes to show the range of opinions on interviewing. As I said, my background is the computer industry -- telcos, computer vendors, storage, etc. Although the companies I've worked for produced hardware as well as software, the bulk of the engineers at most of my companies were software engineers. My background is software, and I've interviewed people for software roles in many organizations. Your blanket claim "it is not regarded as a useful data point" is clearly an overstatement.

GPA is a relevant data point. It is not a proxy for raw coding ability. But it tells me about whether the applicant has managed to succeed in classes -- whether they liked them or not. Just like it will be in their job -- not everything is fun.

And if we have 20 resumes from good schools to consider for two or three positions, and 15 resumes have GPAs of 3.5 or over and 5 resumes have GPAs of 2.5, well, the the 2.5s (again, this for new college hires) are probably not going to even get a phone screen unless there is something interesting in those 2.5 GPA resumes. We are not going to interview every applicant we get, so GPA is one screen. If we have fewer applicants, we might look harder at the lower GPA resumes.
You will not be able to hire the best candidates with that strategy. This is fairly well studied in industry. Some old school companies still consider GPA but none of the best do (FANG, unicorns, et al). Of course not all companies disregard GPA since most aren't at the forefront of recruiting best practices. That doesn't change best practice.
Best practice changes daily or weekly, I read Reddit for CS career and they now say, Facebook is no longer asking question regarding Dynamic Programming, I read they ban it. It results in hit or miss results. So keeping up with the new trend is hard.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by DrGoogle2017 »

TN_Boy wrote: Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:17 pm
KyleAAA wrote: Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:27 pm
TN_Boy wrote: Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:15 am
KyleAAA wrote: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:46 pm
TN_Boy wrote: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:31 pm

Curious what engineering field you are in.

In the software company(s) I've worked for, we always had the GPA when interviewing people coming out of college/grad school. Always. Nobody thought GPA was the only important metric, but it was an obvious first screen. In those companies, we generally had a choice of many graduates from well regarded programs. So ... why not look at the GPA? It's part of the applicant's track record.
Software. It is not regarded as a useful data point.
Which goes to show the range of opinions on interviewing. As I said, my background is the computer industry -- telcos, computer vendors, storage, etc. Although the companies I've worked for produced hardware as well as software, the bulk of the engineers at most of my companies were software engineers. My background is software, and I've interviewed people for software roles in many organizations. Your blanket claim "it is not regarded as a useful data point" is clearly an overstatement.

GPA is a relevant data point. It is not a proxy for raw coding ability. But it tells me about whether the applicant has managed to succeed in classes -- whether they liked them or not. Just like it will be in their job -- not everything is fun.

And if we have 20 resumes from good schools to consider for two or three positions, and 15 resumes have GPAs of 3.5 or over and 5 resumes have GPAs of 2.5, well, the the 2.5s (again, this for new college hires) are probably not going to even get a phone screen unless there is something interesting in those 2.5 GPA resumes. We are not going to interview every applicant we get, so GPA is one screen. If we have fewer applicants, we might look harder at the lower GPA resumes.
You will not be able to hire the best candidates with that strategy. This is fairly well studied in industry. Some old school companies still consider GPA but none of the best do (FANG, unicorns, et al). Of course not all companies disregard GPA since most aren't at the forefront of recruiting best practices. That doesn't change best practice.
I stand at least partly corrected; for example here is a short article on IBM's current practices on hiring junior software developers:

https://www.hirevue.com/blog/why-ibm-do ... developers

However, I wasn't arguing for solely using GPA. According to the above article, IBM would place any weight on GPA later in the interview; the basic process starts with verification that the applicant can write code.

And everything else being equal, I still like higher GPAs; they tell me the candidate tries to get all work done, not just that work he or she finds interesting.
IBM gave my kid an offer, I don’t recall she said they asked any technical questions. In fact, she said she wouldn’t go to those available locations and they made an offer anyway. It got her all stressed out for no reason. I had to calm her down. So I’m not sure they are good example.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by Cmnilz87 »

1. Get any job to cover the time while applying.
2. Network network network. If you know anybody from an earlier graduating class tell them to give you a referral. If he’s not doing internships, he’ll be in rough shape

3. I’m in construction engineering at NDSU. We have a job fair every fall and spring semester. 90% of students had multiple offers and got to pick and choose what they wanted. You say he’s going to a good engineering school? Has he been skipping out on job fairs, otherwise he wouldn’t have this problem
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by michaeljc70 »

You've received a lot of good advice. Leave the GPA off and widen the search both in sources of jobs and types of jobs. It sounds like your son is mostly/exclusively going through the university. My concern would be if he cannot find a job in this environment it will probably only get harder. The unemployment rate is 3.9% and economy is doing well so attributing not finding a job due to a "trade war" (which I don't think we are in) or market fluctuations or whatever is ignoring the problem. Good luck to your son.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by KyleAAA »

DrGoogle2017 wrote: Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:41 pm
KyleAAA wrote: Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:27 pm
TN_Boy wrote: Mon Jan 07, 2019 8:15 am
KyleAAA wrote: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:46 pm
TN_Boy wrote: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:31 pm

Curious what engineering field you are in.

In the software company(s) I've worked for, we always had the GPA when interviewing people coming out of college/grad school. Always. Nobody thought GPA was the only important metric, but it was an obvious first screen. In those companies, we generally had a choice of many graduates from well regarded programs. So ... why not look at the GPA? It's part of the applicant's track record.
Software. It is not regarded as a useful data point.
Which goes to show the range of opinions on interviewing. As I said, my background is the computer industry -- telcos, computer vendors, storage, etc. Although the companies I've worked for produced hardware as well as software, the bulk of the engineers at most of my companies were software engineers. My background is software, and I've interviewed people for software roles in many organizations. Your blanket claim "it is not regarded as a useful data point" is clearly an overstatement.

GPA is a relevant data point. It is not a proxy for raw coding ability. But it tells me about whether the applicant has managed to succeed in classes -- whether they liked them or not. Just like it will be in their job -- not everything is fun.

And if we have 20 resumes from good schools to consider for two or three positions, and 15 resumes have GPAs of 3.5 or over and 5 resumes have GPAs of 2.5, well, the the 2.5s (again, this for new college hires) are probably not going to even get a phone screen unless there is something interesting in those 2.5 GPA resumes. We are not going to interview every applicant we get, so GPA is one screen. If we have fewer applicants, we might look harder at the lower GPA resumes.
You will not be able to hire the best candidates with that strategy. This is fairly well studied in industry. Some old school companies still consider GPA but none of the best do (FANG, unicorns, et al). Of course not all companies disregard GPA since most aren't at the forefront of recruiting best practices. That doesn't change best practice.
Best practice changes daily or weekly, I read Reddit for CS career and they now say, Facebook is no longer asking question regarding Dynamic Programming, I read they ban it. It results in hit or miss results. So keeping up with the new trend is hard.
Yeah, mostly because tools like leetcode keep popping up and candidates hack the interview process without actually being good at engineering software. Turns out it’s incredibly difficult to design a highly effective interview process and may in fact be impossible to systematize.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by mrspock »

Will do good wrote: Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:30 pm My Son recently graduated with a degree in Industrial Engineering from a highly regarded State University. Due to depression issues, his overall GPA is 2.73. He got the help he needed and was able to pull up his grades the last 2 semesters which averaged 3.375.

Unfortunately he has not been able to get any interviews and perhaps this may be due to his resume being scanned and rejected. He was not able to get any internships while at school but was able to get a research assistant position at his university this last summer.

Questions: 
1. Is it true hiring companies these days use programs to scan GPA and anything low is automatically rejected without a human ever looking at it? I wonder if it’s ok to just put in the last 2 semesters GPA with an asterisk and an explanation at the bottom of the resume so this way his resume has a chance to be seen by a real human and have a chance for an in-person interview.

2. Due to the low GPA, we have suggested he aim for smaller companies instead of Fortune 500 companies. What about using community college job boards instead of his university for lesser competition? 

With the current financial market correction and trade war, DW and I are afraid companies are mostly looking for layoffs and not hiring.

Any other advice from the BH community?

Thanks!
Check out the book “Resume Magic”, after I redid my resume (some years back) based on this book it was absolutely amazing. Particularly their advice about having strong appeal to a few target companies (e.g. their culture, work environment, expertise) vs wishy washy bland appeal to everyone which results in you getting lost in the shuffle.

Also, the first job isn’t about money, it’s about experience and learning your trade, so make sure the focus is on that when applying.

Good luck, the first job is always the hardest! And make sure he doesn’t give up, I got my first “real” gig after the dot com bomb, so you just have to keep at it.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by kilkoyne »

My daughter graduated with a degree in computer science. A recruiter helped her find the job. Her first job was a software developer at a community college in a small county only paying 40K/year which extremely low for her field. She had a large gap in her employment record so she took whatever she could get.

After a year she found her next job (she had to relocate 5 hours away) for $80k/year.

She spent a year there and is at her new job which is now paying $120k/year.


You may consider a low-paying job to get the experience. The recruiter also helped.
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by georgewall42 »

I can relay a first hand experience as a hiring manager in an engineering field. I was once doing on-campus interviewing for one of my previous employers at my old alma mater, a school that specialized in STEM fields. My employer had a 3.0 GPA cutoff for getting one of the on campus interviewing slots. In between interviews, the admin brought me a resume of someone who had stopped by and was wondering if there were openings in my schedule. I didn't have any, but I took a look and there was some relevant student research experience. Although there was no GPA on the resume, the research experience intrigued me enough that I mentioned to the admin that I could meet him after my regular schedule concluded at 5pm.

When I met him, one of the first questions I had to ask was GPA; it was a 2.7. However, when I went through the rest of the interview, both his technical acumen and interpersonal skills put him near the top of my list of candidates that I saw that day. I recommended him for a 2nd interview, and he was eventually hired and ended up thriving.

Bottom line is that GPA is somewhat arbitrary, but doesn't need to be a career killer either. I'm not a huge fan of GPA cutoffs, but I realize that's the way the world works. The candidate did his homework and with some pavement pounding was able to bypass the screening bot and find a position. I think the advice about using the university's placement services are spot on.

I will also say that a master's degree is anything but a red flag, even without work experience. Master's degree research experience and course work is significantly more highly valued than that for bachelor's degree. Master's students tend to be older and more mature. Getting a masters is anything but easy, and so it also shows dedication and drive that perhaps doesn't come through when looking at the undergraduate GPA. And some masters students end up going on for a doctorate, which opens many more doors in the STEM fields.

As for experience: yes, an internship in the relevant field has the most weight, especially if grades are subpar. However, if someone doesn't have that, it's not possible for them to go back and time and get one. So, it's incumbent on the applicant to play up their university research experience as much as possible, and also to market his or her own job experiences even if not career related.

Finally, yes, if none of the above tricks pan out, it is definitely better to take a lesser job than no job at all. The new graduate in that position would be well advised to take extra classes to develop specific skills that are sought after (e.g., coding, data science, etc.). The degree itself can get "stale" after about 2 years unless the applicant is either taking relevant classes or is gaining relevant experience in the entry level position. For example, taking on a technical support role is a reasonable way to break into a competitive field. However, doing that role for too long can result in your career being pigeonholed as a "support engineer". There is a saying that engineers should always be looking for their next job, especially during their first few jobs out of college.
ctfish
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by ctfish »

How did this pan out? I know that I referred a few jobs his way and I could send a few more over.
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TexasPE
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by TexasPE »

+1 for Networking

Don't overlook local technical societies. One example is

https://www.iise.org/Home/

but attend other societies that are strong in the area - AiChE, IEEE, ISA, ASME, etc. He can get to know engineers on a one-to-one basis and develop contacts.

If he is not a polished communicator (I know I wasn't at that age), consider Toastmasters.

https://www.toastmasters.org/find-a-club

It provides a safe laboratory for him to develop communication skills
At 20: I cared what everyone thought about me | At 40: I didn't give a damn what anyone thought of me | Now that I'm 60: I realize that no one was really thinking about me at all | Winston Churchill (?)
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ClevrChico
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by ClevrChico »

As someone that reviews resumes regularly, here's my two cents.

An honest, one page resume will make you stand out big time. Most resumes I receive are rambling documents full of formatting errors, lies, and too many keywords the candidate can't explain. It's shocking how bad they are. A one page resume is appreciated greatly. (And leave off the gpa.)

Also, focus on temp contracting jobs to get experience and a foot in the door. Their requirements are usually much lower. It's ideal for a junior candidate.
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JAZZISCOOL
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Re: Recent Engineering College Graduate can’t get job interviews, needs advice

Post by JAZZISCOOL »

GoldStar wrote: Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:12 pm I don't think anyone should put a GPA on their resume unless they are high. Take it off.
The fact he obtained an engineering degree at a highly regarded State University should secure him some interviews.

Did he put his info out on linked-in (and other job sites)? That's were most of the recruiters I know are looking these days.

Also - agree with prior poster - if he isn't working with the school on getting help - he should be.
I would agree that focusing more energy on LinkedIn is key; that is where most recruiters are looking for candidates as noted. Agree with other posts such as working with career services dept. at the school he attended and networking as much as possible. Also, developing a short list of target companies in your area and networking on LinkedIn to get an internal person at those same companies who might be able to recommend him for an opening.
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