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Posted: 5/17/2003 9:22:17 PM EDT
There seems to be alot of like minded individuals on this board, as well as some not so like minded, so I know I'll get both sides. I know several here are jobless but I have been for the last six months. My unemployment is almost out. I'm 23, I have an associates in mechanical engineering. I would like to atleast get a BS one day, but I have expended my savings on school, and finanial aid only really covers tuition. What I need now is gainful employment. I don't have any real experience with any engineering. I do have experience in drafting with several versions of AutoCAD. I am pretty skilled with everything that goes along with engineering- hydraulics, Pneumatics,DC circuits, manufacturing process, materials, etc. I am not ashamed to brag on myself but I am very good at working on any kind of machinery. It seems that my natural aptitude is technical work. I am interested in any kind of machine.(including firearms)Hence the nickname from my friends.(Macgyver) I did ok in the math courses in school, I passed but I didn't burn any of them up. Hell, statics and dynamics were a bitch, but I got my C. I don't expect to get a job doing a professional engineers work. I would be happy to be a draftsman or a lab tech at this point. I send out stacks resumes, I get an interview every other week or so, but nothing sticks. I've even tried to get a small job, part time, so I can keep searching. But I have actually been told by some employers that they won't hire someone with more intellegence than the job requires. I know most members here are older, some wiser, maybe even a few working in this field, any advise?
Link Posted: 5/17/2003 10:22:31 PM EDT
Not being trite or sarcastic here, but work on your interviewing skills. You are doing a good job getting the interviews, so go into the next one with a very positive attitude. Enthusiasm and a sunny disposition go a long way. Do not sell yourself short, BELIEVE that you ARE the most qualified and never say anything negative. They would not be wasting your time if they didn't think you might be "the one" As someone who now does the hiring, I would hire someone who is motivated and qualified over someone more qulified but less excited. Get books on the subject, you may have to reinvent your personality- (but only for a few hours) Good luck.
Link Posted: 5/17/2003 10:23:48 PM EDT
An interesting approach I've overheard was to go through the yellow pages, looking over the businesses you find. Send in your resume to the ones you find interesting. There are lots of industries that probably never occured to you until you actually browse the yellow pages. Wouldn't take more than an hour.
Link Posted: 5/17/2003 10:29:24 PM EDT
Do you need someone to ADVISE you, or do you need ADVICE. Be more careful. no flame.
Link Posted: 5/17/2003 10:44:02 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/17/2003 10:46:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/18/2003 7:14:40 AM EDT by Macgyver]
Yes, I agree on the interviewing skills. I don't go in looking or acting like Elmer Fudd, but I will be the first to admit I am not the smoothest in these kind of situations. I speak pretty intelligently, and try to dress the part. I try to say the things I think they are looking to hear. I try to steer the conversation toward my strong points. I know experience kills me, especially with so many looking for work. Drafting is my strongest suit, I have never been employed as a draftsman, but I have done work for others from time to time. I can't say that I have 5-10 years experience in the field, but I do have a large portfolio of my work with me at interviews. It is my top notch stuff from class, and some of my own design. I always got an A in drafting class. I know that years of experience aren't required to be draftsman, either you can do it or you can't, but I don't think alot of the interviewer know this, and they don't know what they are looking at when I show them my drawings. The interviewer is often a personel employee, or in management, and they don't like to steer into technical waters in an interview. Whats the deal with places wanting draftsman to be a production worker also? I interviewed one place that had me take a welding test? (to weld rolled tanks, which I pasted by the way- another Macgyver talent.) They wanted someone to weld in the shop and also do their high paid engineers work for him, too. I might have thought about taking the job just as experience but they also didn't want to pay anything but dirt wage, and it was a long drive. The phone book idea, I tried it twice, once after I got laid off, and again a few months later. It got me a couple positive reponses. Some said send a resume so they could keep one on file, others said nope, not hiring. A few were even rude - Not hiring-Quit calling. I thought it was a good idea, too bad it didn't get me very far. See what I mean by like minded? spelling noted: I double spell and grammer check anything I send to an potential employer. I wish there was a spell check on this board, I'm not the only one who needs it. The idea of promising to work free for 30 days is interesting. It would either show that you are confident and be nearly impossible to turn down the offer if you were being considered in the first place, or that you really are desperite. Hopefully the first. Another benefit is when it comes to discussing salary, after the 30 days you have had a chance to prove your value and possibly a lever for more pay. Interesting idea, you make a strong point, I'm not earning money doing what I am now. Might be tough to do if the job requires a long drive. I know it would be tough for me to turn someone down that had the balls to suggest that agreement. Real good bargaining chip. also Any one who is responsable for hiring care to critique my resume?
Link Posted: 5/18/2003 7:22:35 AM EDT
btt
Link Posted: 5/18/2003 9:02:08 AM EDT
This is going to be harsh, but I think you need a wake-up call. First off, you are not an engineer, and your education doesn't indicate that you are capable of performing as one. Your work history is fuzzy and gives no indication that you have gained the skill to practice engineering, beyond drafting - tell us precisely what you were doing before the layoff. With an associates degree, you have pretty much learned enough of the lingo to communicate with an engineering staff. If you are draftsman, look for a drafting job - there is no shame in practicing this honorable craft. If you are a mechanical engineer, jobs at Boeing-St. Louis will be plentiful for the foreseeable future (if the executives don't screw it up). We need strength engineers (C's in Statics are weak for this work), structural designers (uber draftsmen, IMHO), and systems designers (hydraulics, environmental controls, fuel, you name it). But you need a BS to get in the door.
Link Posted: 5/18/2003 9:04:49 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/18/2003 9:10:09 AM EDT by pogo]
Having hard dirty work on a resume is a plus. Don't think of other work as lost time. Try to find work in a related feild, like working in a chem lab or for a surveying company, or construction. Our General Manager (in a gold mine) has contempt for any engineer who won't get his hands dirty. To his way of thinking, an engineer is a better educated grunt miner with more skills - planning, computers, you name it. EDIT: During my first successful realjob hunt, I stepped into the interveiw between jobs - I was working two fulltime jobs - covered with dirt, sawdust, a bit of paint. Getting the job was pretty automatic even though I fell asleep in the lobby after the big interview.
Link Posted: 5/18/2003 10:33:21 AM EDT
No, I'm not trying to land an engineers job. I know I don't have the education for that. The BS is my goal for the future. The company I spoke of seriously wanted me to take their engineers place while he was away. His job didn't really require any true engineering, the basic product was one they had built for years, he just drew up steps and brackets and such to suit their customers. I don't really want the liability that an engineer is saddled with either. I would be more than happy to be a draftsman, technician, etc, as part of the engineering support staff. Jobs I have had in the past: Most recently I worked for a company that built gas monitoring stations. I helped set up the buildings, and build and install interior fixtures to mount the instruments. Many of the buildings were one off so we had to design as we built sometimes. I only worked at this job a few months before being laid off. Before that I sold car parts, I was as far up the chain as I could go without being management. I was good at that, but that isn't saying much. The pay sucked, no opportunity to advance farther. For a while I worked two jobs I would work where we built the buildings from 6 or 8 until noon, then I would sell parts till 10 at night. I did that for about a month, before decided to quit selling parts and go with the higher paying job. Before that I was a material handler in a plant. I was OSHA certified to operate a tow motor, and drove a dump truck in the plant. I have also worked for myself since I was about 15. I used to keep a few calves when I was younger. I paid for college raising tobacco. I had one hell of a time getting the education I do have, the last semester I worked 55 hours a week selling parts, went to class full time, and got a crop of tobacco to market. I often had to chose wether to sleep or do my homework at night. I don't know how I pulled it off but I did. I have been known to do a little fabrication and machinery repair for others from time to time. I have a scrap book of projects I have built like a frame for a jeep from square tubing, wagon mounted cattle feeders as well as some trucks I did custom work on and some guns I customized. I have had other people work for me when I had farm work to do. I have done amateur gunsmithing (glass bed,trigger work,lap rings, customize stocks, and I do a killer camo paint job)on my own stuff and for friends that I am pretty proud of but I am reluctant reveal my firearm hobby to a potential employer. You guys might like to see some work I have done.
Link Posted: 5/18/2003 11:13:07 AM EDT
Damn! That is good stuff. Put it on your cover letter keeping in mind what job they want to hire you for, and what you may move into.
Link Posted: 5/18/2003 7:52:04 PM EDT
Thanks for the replies guys, I just wanted some fresh ideas, which you had. I should hear from a couple of prospects this week, we'll see how it goes.
Link Posted: 5/19/2003 12:34:11 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/19/2003 12:39:22 AM EDT by tjmz]
As a fellow student who understands what you are going through, let me give you a few pointers. I have never had a problem finding employment, and have received every job I went out for. I have found that the interview process is the most important thing out there. I have a lot of friends who went to Caltech, as you know that is an extremely good school with extremely high caliber students, yet many of those students find themselves unemployed, and unemployable. This is because they have very weak social skills, along with a very timid personality that makes it impossible for them to convey their capability to their prospective employer. Interview skills are KEY!!! First, you need to understand that this interview process is a two way street. If you are interviewing for a job, it is because they need someone to fill a position just as badly as you want to fill it, and you would not have been asked in if they did not already think you had the basic skills to perform the job. Everyone that interviews for that position will have roughly the same abilities, so it all comes down to the personal interaction. Before going to the interview, research the company you are interviewing for. Find out what products they are creating, what they have already done, what they plan or want to branch out into. Then do other research on various technologies that apply in some way to those products. It is optimal to know exactly what project you will be working on, but if not, you should still have a general idea as to what they produce. Write down a bunch of questions, and try to answer them. You should have at least 5 questions that you cannot answer, and will need to ask your interviewer. This will show your prospective employer that you care enough for the company to have researched them, and that you are actively interested in the job. My father is an engineer and he would rather hire someone out of school with a 3.0 who genuinely is excited about their projects than a 4.0 who is just looking for a job. Mindset is VERY important. Absolutely walk into the interview KNOWING that you are NOT going in as a desperate supplicant, but as a qualified skilled worker with something THEY NEED to have. Keep your head held high, maintain eye contact with everyone you meet. Sometimes employers will ask the people you met prior to and after the interview what their gut reaction was to you, you want them to remember you as confident and cordial. Even if you are new to the field, sometimes especially if you are new, this attitude is necessary. They know what your level is, but if you are there, they want you anyway, so don't worry about your lack of experience. Some employers find this preferable, that way they can train you to their way of doing things without having to train out "bad" habits from a previous job. Walk in dressed and propped appropriately for the occasion. I interviewed for an intership at the Salk Institute, which is a very prestigious research institute, so I dressed in a conservative suit, and brought a professional black leather folder that held a classy Cross pen, a nice pad of paper, copies of my resume and references printed on good quality paper, and a list of printed questions to ask my interviewer. I was a sophmore in college, barely getting into Biochemistry, but I walked in and told them in no uncertain terms that I was a hard worker who loved this field, was excited about its prospects, related some ideas that I had and wanted to try out, and let them know that whatever I didn't know, I would be more than happy to learn whatever was necessary to get the job done. They offered me the job right there and then. On the other hand, when I went to a job interview at JPL, I learned that the climate was much more casual, so I wore a nice sweater, a good pair of jeans, and a nice pair of shoes. I brought my leather folder, but I replaced the Cross pen with a mechanical pencil, and of course the resume, references, questions and research, and awesome, self-esteem filled attitude. I had a wonderful time working for them, it was by far the most wonderful experience of my life. I still do some side work for them when I have the time, I'm currently recovering from a back injury, but will be back to work soon. Ultimately, it's all about attitude. Remember......they need you as much as you need them, perhaps more. Let them know that you really want to get back to school and get a BS, they like to hear that you have higher aspirations then being a tech. Good luck, and if you would like, I'd be more than happy to help you get through this situation, just throw me a line!
Link Posted: 5/19/2003 1:25:00 AM EDT
If you are serious about finding a job, get this book: What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles. Available everywhere. It is THE definitive guide to finding the right job for you. Buy the book, do the exercises, follow the plan, you WILL get a job. -Z
Link Posted: 5/19/2003 10:21:04 AM EDT
That book sounds interesting. I read the synopsis they give at Barnes and Noble, there was good info just in that. It gives some stats on how many people find work using different ways of finding an employer. I know what you mean about researching who your interviewing with. Even a couple of minutes on the net you can learn a lot about the company. I have even called the company and just asked them for a more detailed job description and some background on the company itself. Its hard to have confidence when you have been beat down so long. There have been jobs that I should have been a shoe in for that I never got a second glance, others were a little over my head but I seemed to impress the interviewer on a few things. One job I interviewed for was a production manager for one of three shifts at a machine shop. They told me they really liked what they saw in me. Things went well until he told me they needed someone to write CNC programs as well. I told him that while I had not learned any CNC programing in school,I would be more than willing to take a course to learn it. The interviewer liked to idea, but he was told to hire someone who could do the job at hire. He offered to hang on to my resume in case something else came up. Too bad, I think I would have liked that job and it paid well. I would like to see some of the resumes of those that I am competing against for jobs in this area. Heres an idea for a dirty trick: Place an add in the local paper for a job in the field you are looking in. Don't give a company name, just an address. Ads are often written that way. Then you would get to see what caliber of people you are up against, and adjust your own resume and interview tactics to trump the other guys. Its probably illegal though.
Link Posted: 5/19/2003 10:26:49 AM EDT
Its tough out there bro. I have a BS in Business Admin with a major in Information systems. There isnt shit out there now in my field. I am selling cars. You should check it out. If you are a good at it, you can make 3k-10k a month. Its easy work and pays well. I am at work for about 50hrs a week and of those 50hrs I am actually working about 15 hours. The rest of the time is spent sitting around bullshitting.
Link Posted: 5/19/2003 10:33:49 AM EDT
Go West young man! Really, consider leaving WV for greener pastures elsewhere. Lockheed in Fort Worth is hiring and Texas has great gun laws.
Link Posted: 5/19/2003 11:36:04 AM EDT
Yep, though about moving but I have responsibilities here and I don't think I can make it happen financially. I was talking to a company in NC about a job a few months ago but that didn't pan out. West Virginia's economy is bleak even when things are going good. The taxes are high, and they tax everything. I think part of the reason is most of the southern part of the state is on welfare. I thought about going into sales again. I have a friend that is an auto salesman, he says they are having trouble making their sales. He sells new, there may be a better used market in this economy. I even considered going into business myself. The tought of opening a new business in these times and in this area scares me. I know I can run a business right, my idea for a business seems like a strong operation, but other than that everything else has you swimming against the current to much. I looked into getting a business loan, but I was told I would have to make up more of the investment out of my own pocket. So I would have to work for a while somewhere to build some funds to even think about that route. Want to see something funny? - Go down to your local state job service. If its anything like ours is so frustrating its comical.
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