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Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?
3

Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

(OP)
Hey everyone,

fast forward about 3 months from my older threads I finally graduated with a BSME from the University of Alaska Anchorage (ABET accredited). Small school but great engineering program. For now my plan is to take the FE exam on June 29. I want to work in LA but dont know if i should start applying now or wait till after I take the FE exam?

a bit more about me is I'm 26 years old turning 27 in September and I have only a summers worth of internship experience that is mostly civil/construction engineering based. So not much experience coming out of college but better than nothing I guess.

Could anybody give me some advice on what you would do at my age to get a job and get going in the Mechanical engineering industry? I keep hearing how hard it is to get a job out of college so I dont know what to do except to mindlessly apply to any engineering opening I find.

thanks for any input

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

(OP)
I applied about to 30 different places and no word back from any of em. Here In Alaska it is really tough to find a job in the ME field because this state is mainly funded on Oil and gas and when that is down companies begin to lay others off. BP and conoco laid off a lot of engineers here recently.

The career center/recruiting events were bullshit. They straight out say they are looking for civils and not mechanical majors. Must be too many of em. They don't have much to offer honestly.

Makes me think college was a mistake, I thought engineering majors find jobs much quicker than other fields? I guess not in 2016 lol

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

I thought higher education was about studying in new places, then taking your qualifications even further afield. I don't know many engineers who never left home.

Steve

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

(OP)
I understand what you guys are saying , I lived in Seattle for all my teen years and moved to alaska at 21. I just graduated now with a BSME and have been looking at jobs in LA. I dont like the rain in Seattle so I dont really want to move back there.

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

When you say you "...have only a summers worth of internship experience…" does that mean ONLY a single Summer? And if so, what did you do the other "summers"?

John R. Baker, P.E.
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

Why LA? Hate yourself that much?

Lots of ME product designers needed in SF and Silicon Valley.

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

(OP)
My internship was only for ONE summer. The following summer It was really tough and many students including myself couldn't find any work. Now This summer I have already graduated and working towards getting my FE exam out of the way.


@TheTick

whats wrong with LA? SF would be awesome but cost of living is so high out there

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

What do you want to do? It is hard to achieve anything without goals. I have tried the method of "applying to 30 different jobs", but getting a job is not a lottery system. Pumping out 30 generic applications with a cookie cutter resume is like deer hunting with a butterfly net. You should find an attainable job that you're excited about, then reconstruct your resume for that particular job. You need to apply your engineering skills to the art of getting a job.

It took me 8 hours to create a decent resume. Sending this generic (but well made) resume has never led me to a promising inquiry.

For all successes that I have had on the job hunt, I put much more effort in. It took me about 4 hours to reconstruct my resume for the job that I have now. I was very explicit in how I offered exactly what this position did, and my enthusiasm for the position. My cover letter lent itself well to prompting the next step, which was a phone call.

Getting your degree was not a bad idea. How you handle it can be. I see some people who get their degree and think that makes them employable, or that they are "done". Everybody has a degree. You need self-education and/or experience to get a job of the caliber you want. You can get that before or after you graduate, but not before you hang your hat.

"Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

I agree with Panther on that. ME is such a broad field to be working to start, look at the scope of classes you took for your degree. The next step in my mind is figure out what classes you loved or since you're starting excelled in. Look for a position that utilizes those skills. After which, look into companies who specialize or at the very least have a couple of senior engineers, and gear your resume for their open roles. For the best results on that try to use the technical buzzwords. Also don't be afraid to reach out to staffing companies such as meador, burnett specialties, michael paige, etc. (Not sure about the spelling on all those but Google will fix that.)

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

(OP)
@Panther140 ,

I like the idea of reformatting a resume for certain jobs. Would you know of any resources where I can build a solid template from and reformat it from there accordingly?

To answer your other questions I want to work in the energy field or renewable energy area. But thats the thing some people tell me I need to get any job I can find since I have no full time experience. but then I get responses of people saying you need to pinpoint what area you want to work in.
Not sure who to follow.

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

There are a couple of entry level positions at NREL if you are willing to move to Colorado for them: NREL Jobs. You can look around at the other national labs as well and see what they have openings for. Don't be surprised if the hiring process is less than speedy though, it is the government.

Experience is always helpful but what people are generally looking for in an entry level position is what a former manager of mine described as "good clay", meaning that you had a good knowledge base, problem solving attitude, and were capable of being formed into the engineer that we will need down the road.

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

varun213 - I graduated with no relevant summer internships and took a few months to find my first job - worked some temp jobs while I searched. (I had applied to a few places while at school & to some summer placements but none panned out).

I basically found a copy of the membership directory of the relevant industry association at the local library and applied to every vaguely interesting company listed.

This was just before the internet got really big so involved a bunch of envelopes, stamps and access to either my sisters typewriter or then girlfriends PC.

Just so happened one of my letters landed on the desk of a technical director the very day they were about to put an add in the local classifieds and the rest, as they say, is history.

So while it would be better if you'd interned every summer, won every design contest for battle bots or what have you your school has and be some how connected to the head honcho of ACME Mechanical Engineering company it can be done.

Good luck.

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RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

Quote (varun213)

Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

Now it's time to figure out what exactly you want to do with your life.

What were you dreaming about (besides money) when applying to school?

How do you plan to make this world a better place by means of Mechanical Engineering?

Set a goal that is worth pursuing, the rest will come. Good luck!

"For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert"
Arthur C. Clarke Profiles of the future

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

There are jobs out there, but you will have to be flexible and be willing to move to another location initially. The good news is that Alaska is "a good place to be from". Maybe outsourcing your job search to an outfit that specializes in finding a first job is one option.

If you are flexible, then one good starting point is as a "field engineer" for a mfr of large capital equipment, such as turbines , boilers , compressors, etc. A lot of travel but you will get your foot in the door.

As far as a career goes, you will need to recognize that many structural changes are occurring in the economy, and if you want a 30 yr career, you will have to focus on emerging technologies and kiss goodbye to the older technologies now being phased out ( and which were the only things discussed in college) . New disruptive areas such as robotics, wind turbines, micro CHP, etc. would be the basis of new career.

"Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!"

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

Varun:
From your post, it looks like you will have to learn a lot in terms of "Real World Engineering". The first and most important question is, can you afford not working for the next few months or a year? In other words, Are you rich? Why do you want to work in LA? Can you work somewhere, where you can get your dream job "Mechanical Engineering Industry"? Again, You sound very green from you post but don't worry, there are many experience engineers here who can help you. There are many who will discourage you here because from the questions you are asking, it looks like you should go back and get your degree again.

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

(OP)
LOL get my degree again? what is that supposed to mean? We all know college doesn't teach you anything about the real world because their purpose is to teach you how to think and approach problem solving. So your advice on going back to school is probably the most illogical thing I heard. Sorry dont mean to sound discouraging

But yea I can afford to go back home and live with family. I either have the choice of just running the family business or keep searching engineering jobs and work for somebody for a shitty starting pay.

The only reason I want to work in the engineering field is because there is room for creative thinking and innovation.

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

LOL get my degree again? what is that supposed to mean?

This means, trash your degree and go back start your BSME from freshman and learn everything from scratch.

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

(OP)

Doesent make any sense. College doesn't teach you any real world experience. Great advice though

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

I guess my initial gut reaction to the topic question was "You went to a four year program and didn't know where you were going after?"

Seriously!

PPPP (Piss Poor Prior Planning)

With all due respect, and no offense intended, this question never should have come up.

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA)


RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

(OP)
Who says a college graduate has any say where he wants to go? There are tons of working engineers ahead of me. Kind of tough to just pick where I want to work. Can you see it from that perspective or should I elaborate more?

No offense intended, seems like people are looking at things from one side only.

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

Not sure why people are being so hard on you. I am a competent design engineer, but truly didn't understand what a day in the life of an engineer was like until probably three months into my current position, despite having an internship in college. Don't let the negative advice get to you.

I do think what people are keying in on, is the fact that you are a little bit of an older grad and don't seam to have the go-getter attitude. This situation is most likely the kick in the butt to attain that attitude. It is fine that you want to work in a specific location, but unless you are either a rockstar engineering grad, or an ambitious person that is going to figuratively knock on every door until you are hired, you may need to consider looking across the US for your first job. LA would be a difficult place to start unless your parents can subsidize your living expenses anyways.

My advice:
Research the area you are interested in, then research companies that service that industry. And I don't mean research the jobs, but pretend you are a company needing that service and find companies that advertise that service. Now that you know which companies service those areas, look on their websites for job listings, or their competitors. If no jobs are listed, search on LinkedIn for recruiters from those companies, send them a message to the effect that you are an ambitious young engineer looking to get your foot in the door. On that note, you need a solid resume, and a solid LinkedIn profile with a professional photo. Join groups affiliated with your university, or engineering organization in which you are interested in. NETWORK NETWORK and NETWORK. Treat this as a full-time job until you get some hits. When you begin to interview, likely by phone at first, express to them your flexibility and drive to do anything, and start anywhere.

I am in my fourth year out of school, and had the privilege to recruit, interview new grads and I am honestly appalled by the lack of effort they put in and their poor resumes. Take a fresh look at yours, is that your best effort? I would put more emphasis on career fairs, directly mailing/emailing/LinkedIn messaging people in positions to hire than just blindly applying to every job online. Many people apply to jobs online, you need to put in that extra effort.

Goodluck.

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

(OP)
Thanks @andriver,

Its tough to judge somebody based off one paragraph of just asking advice on how to better my chances of finding a job.

Thanks for the advice, Emailing recruiters on Linked IN is something I haven't worked on yet. Ill definitely start doing that.

Appreciate it

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

I'll add to the comments to ease up on varun213. I didn't really have a clue either, first in my family to go to college, plan A of joining the Air Force fell thru, I didn't know any engineers to ask...

Yet, some how I managed to get a job without having internships or being a battle bot champ or.... and would like to think I'm now a marginally competent and useful Engineering employee.

varun, there is a company based in Carpenteria CA that is hiring like crazy (they keep poaching our employees - but that's another story) not sure what their needs are for new mechanical grads but you could give it a try. For that matter we have an open position in Santa Barbara for a 'temp' mechanical engineer - but the previous incumbent had their 'temp' term extended multiple times just so long as we had orders to pay him from. Not gonna claim it's Nirvana but might give you some experience. Due to confidentiality reasons I don't want to make that one too easy to find but maybe worth a try. http://www.indeed.com/q-Mechanical-Engineer-l-Sant...

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RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

(OP)
Thanks KENAT,

Thats all I was looking for is solid advice from working engineers that can lead me to areas where they may be openings. Instead I get bitter engineers throwing negativity at me for god knows why. I just applied for a position at Northrop Grumman at their Carpinteria location. The position is requiring zero years of experience which works in my favor. Hopefully I get a word back.

Alot of opportunities for newly grads like myself in that Santa Barbara area, i really appreciate you telling me about the openings in that area.

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

"Who says a college graduate has any say where he wants to go? There are tons of working engineers ahead of me. Kind of tough to just pick where I want to work. Can you see it from that perspective or should I elaborate more? "

That is a defeatist attitude, which won't even get you much sympathy here, possibly even less than that.. Getting a job is not solely about seniority; it's about selling a product (you) that solves a customer's (the employer) needs. We've hired a couple of new grads recently, despite getting clobbered the last few years by the economy and a general misalignment with current defense needs. So, despite there being "tons of engineers" ahead of them, they got the jobs, and not someone more senior.

The week I started at a semiconductor company in 1982, they gave a welcome party for all the new employees, which was followed by a layout of 50% of the new employees, followed by a series of layoffs that culminated 5 years later with the division having fewer than 30 people, down from about 300, before I started. I survived because I solved problems that more senior engineers couldn't.

Wine gets better over time; that's not necessarily true of engineers. You have a better than fair chance at getting any job that doesn't require gobs of experience, and a non-zero chance at jobs that do. It's all about convincing the buyer (your potential employer) that your product is way better than anyone else's.

As an engineer, you are going to be asked to do obscenely difficult things; you can either give up because "tons of engineers" couldn't solve them, or you can be the one that finally solves the problems. Your attitude bleeds into everything you do; it's like Locard's rule in forensic science, you leave traces or you have "tells" in everything you do or produce.

TTFN
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
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RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

The benefit of going to a co-op university is that you know, by experience, what kinds of jobs you might like, and at least some jobs that you will hate like the plague. And because they're short-term assignments by their nature, you get to sample different areas of practice at very low personal risk- much lower risk than taking a job in one area or another after graduation only to discover you intensely dislike that particular area of practice or industry...

Best of luck in your search.

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

You must have had some goal or "dream job" for your life to lead you to get your BSME, what was it? The mechanical engineering field is vast, and covers many industries and technologies. So you've picked a location that you want to work in, Los Angeles. Is that your stepping stone or final destination?

As alluded to elsewhere, do your research on companies that call Los Angeles home. I will always steer direction-less new grads towards a small or mid-size manufacturing company, solely for the experience that can be obtained. Smaller companies run the gamut of problems that need to be solved, usually by a small team or singular person. You'll have the opportunity to work closely with other departments and get a better understanding how they all work together to achieve the same end goal. It's my opinion that companies that actually "make and assemble things" offer more experiences for your future than companies that only "integrate piece-parts" together.

"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating."

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RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

Some jobs require someone cheap. No one wants to put a 20+ year guy on a grind task with his salary. I think you can probably find a job almost immediately if you are willing to take a job that requires some travel.

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

varun213,

When I graduated from university (BSc. Mechanical Engineering), I wanted to work in a field that dealt with the flow of oil/water emulsions. I loved fluid dynamics. I ultimately started off with an EPC firm that specialized in heavy oil recovery - the best field for that very thing. However, I didn't solve an emulsion flow problem since the day I was hired; 33 years later, I still haven't. I ended up doing a whole bunch of stuff that had nothing whatsoever to do with what I wanted to get into. Ironically, most of my time in my first two years was spent doing compaction tests with a nuclear densometer on irrigation canal embankment. After that, I spent about 10 years doing P&ID and systems design for Utilities and Offsites (CW / Stm / BFW / Cond / IA / UW / PW / FG / Flare, etc.). I learned CAESAR II when the latest release was V. 2.01 for DOS and to solve a 200 node system took 4 hours to code the data in and an hour to get the output from a Turbo XT with an 8087 math coprocessor after you pressed the RUN button. Interestingly, I was self-taught; my boss at the time told me to come into the office at night and steal the software and install it on my machine, since the stress guys were difficult to work with and I was just an innocent hard working dummy. Then I spent ten or so years as a project engineer running projects and coordinating the work of others, but not doing much of the hard core work myself. I migrated back into detailed mechanical engineering by forming and appointing myself as the lead of that department when it became clear that as projects grew in size to some magic TIC threshold the Project Engineer could no longer effectively execute the project without a Mechanical discipline. After 5-7 years of that, I got bored with it and transitioned into a role of a quasi-process engineer who, although I can't even *start up* HYSYS from the welcome screen, I basically serve as the check and balance between Process, Mechanical, Instrumentation and Controls.

I didn't plan any of it, and I didn't see any of it coming.

Nowadays, I find myself in a role where I might be doing stress analysis today, P&IDs tomorrow, sizing relief and control valves the next day, writing specifications the next day, and doing bid evaluations on compressors the next day - just before going into a HAZOP for a week after that. Never saw that coming either, and often by the weekend, I find myself coming home wondering what the heck happened? All I know is, when there is a problem, I'm usually involved with solving it - it doesn't really matter what the problem might be.

I have still never solved a single flow problem with oil-water emulsions. Or maybe I have. I don't know, I can't remember.

I agree with you, it's hard to figure out what to shoot for or hone in on at this stage in your career. What I can say is, just strive to be "the guy who solves problems". Pick and aim at a field of interest, certainly, but don't close your eyes to what else is out there.

When I graduated, my idea was to pick the work I wanted to do and then move to live where that work was. A good friend of mine, though, she said to pick where I wanted to live, and then go and find a job there. In retrospect, my opinion (and it won't be shared by many in these fora) is that my friend's plan was better than mine; I should have listened to her. Your posts suggest that you might be more "lifestyle" slanted than "work content" slanted - and that's perfectly fine. Again, whatever you do, just try to be involved with solving whatever problem comes your way.

I grew up just north of the border from Seattle...yes, the rain kinda sucks...but unlike where I'm at now, I never had to spend six months of the year shovelling rain.

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

I wouldn't get too hung up on "dream jobs." I dreamed of being an IC designer when I graduated, and 37 years later, still haven't designed one or even a significant part of one. You might consider reading Johnny Bunko: http://www.danpink.com/books/johnny-bunko/. The message there is "there is no plan." As many military strategists have opined, the first casualty in battle is the battle plan; I think that life plans are in a similar vein. Or, to paraphrase Sun Tzu, when the zombies are too strong, run away; attack where they are weak.

I think that you can become incredibly unhappy trying to pursue that "dream job," when you might just find that what you wind up doing is a way better dream job than you could have possibly imagined. Consider all the wannabe actors working at the Cheesecake Factory or Great American Food and Beverage Company; most of they are living hand to mouth, and maybe some of them are happy, but nowhere near all of them.

I certainly went out of my way to escape what appear to be a less than ideal job, but wound up getting sucked in nevertheless. 29 years after that event, I'm as happy as I could have imagined myself to be, despite not getting my "dream job."

TTFN
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert!
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RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

Everyone's got a plan until they get punched in the face

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

IRStuff: that part is dead right. Plans are fine- but it's more important to be alert, analyze the situation, and react. That requires, if you will, micro-planning but not macro-planning. Most if not all macro-plans come to naught, unless they're really diffuse plans that are more like goals or aspirations.

There are psychological tests that apparently demonstrate, to the extent that psychology can demonstrate anything meaningful, that manufactured happiness can be more durable than real happiness. Manufactured happiness is what happens when people imagine that what they ended up with was better than what they had hoped for, i.e. "sour grapes" per the Aesop fable. So apparently, and bizarrely, to be maximally happy it is important to both a) hope for stuff and b) not get what you hoped for. Regrettably c), manufacturing satisfaction with what you got in the end, is an evolved trait that some of us are better at than others.

https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are...

I have a quote from GB Shaw hanging next to my desk:

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

"Dream job" might have been a bad phrase, how about simply a life goal? You've got to aim for something in life, be it a power, fame, family, money, success, or happiness. We all rank those goals differently than the next person. I don't think anyone wakes up and says "I want to spend X money for X years for X degree" without having an inkling as to why.

"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating."

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RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

" I don't think anyone wakes up and says "I want to spend X money for X years for X degree" without having an inkling as to why."

You hung around with the right crowd in college. I'm STILL undeclared :p

"Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin

RE: Just graduated with a BSME last week. What now?

(OP)
thanks for your all your replies.

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