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WTF can't I get a job (or at least an interview?)

ms244

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So here's the deal. I went to graduate school for my phd in the last year, decided it wasn't for me and left in August. I've been sending out job applications since May, so far I have gotten exactly 3 calls back.



My primary background is in lab research, I do have a couple of 'normal' jobs but they were both for about 6 months. My main background is in nanomaterials synthesis, all experimental work. Building experiments, machines and the like.

I currently have a master's degree in mech engineering.

I signed up for all (of the few engineering) job interviews on campus coming up. I have probably sent out 500 job applications in the last few months, the only ones I've gotten back are the generic, thanks for applying, now go some where else emails.

Everyone keeps telling me how engineers are in such high demand, but I can't get a call back.

What am I doing wrong?
 

taxgenius

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Does your school have a career center (or equivalent)? If yes, have them proofread your resume.
 

dpw

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hard to say at a distance but have hired a lot of people and i look for someone who is looking for me

might try foscusing on a couple of people in your field or orgaizations you want to work for and tailor your resume, cover letter and interview to match your qulaifactions to their exact needs. and see if you can't network you way in, much better than going cold.

both while hiring and years ago when looking for a job, i have found this targeted appraoch much more effective than sending out 1,00's of resumes.

good luck!!
 

LA Guy

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Hate to tell you this, but jobs are hard to come by. It is a buyers market out there. All the advice so far has been sound.

Do extensive research on every firm you apply to. Target specific niches that you think that your experience and education make you particularly qualified for that job. Make sure that your cover letter shows that you have done your research.

Reach out to old advisors and colleagues for a hand up. Assemble an impressive array of letters of recommendation. People have lots on their mind, not just your job, so be prepared to write templates of those letters yourself, emphasizing areas in which that particular reference would know your strengths.

Above all, make sure that your resume does not have a single technical flaw in it. Not a single spelling or grammatical mistake. I know several senior people (my father included) who will discard a resume if they see a single mistake because it is a sign of sloppy work to come. Oh, and it needs to be concise and simple. It should be compelling. Play with the structure until it is.

My brother, who has a similar background to yours, just landed an Engineering job after about 6 months of trying (he worked in a deli in the meantime.) He had a few interviews before landing this job. I think that he spent every waking moment of his life while not working working on his resume, tracking down contacts, and banging on doors, sometimes literally.
 

gnatty8

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Damn, do you have visible and/or controversial tattoos or something?

What area are you in? I find it hard to believe someone with an engineering degree, regardless of the focus, would find it that hard to find a job. If you are located in East Moscow, Iowa, I might tell you you may need to move.
 

globetrotter

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the main thing is to present why you can provide value in the job that they have, or in the group of jobs that they might have. that sounds simple, but most of us prefer to present the skills and experiences about us that we find most important - what can you do for a company? why should they hire you? think about it from that perspective.

also, if you can put together a couple of hundred bucks, you may want to think about having your resume/cover letter written proffetionally
 

grimslade

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...by someone who spells better than GT.
 

dusty

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Have you looked for government jobs? The defense industry hires loads of engineers -- are you close to a military installation? Usajobs.gov.
 

ms244

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I went to career services and the lady there said she will look over my resume and get back to me in a few days. No tattoos, no weird scars, just the face that might scare them
Mostly right now I'm looking for entry level jobs but at a bigger company, I don't want to get stuck in some hole in the wall in the middle of nowhere (kinda where I am at now). Preferably something in the oil and gas industry. I've been looking on USA jobs.com as well, but without much success.
 

ms244

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I got 4 years of solid hands on research plus some 'commercial' work in the biomedical field. Its not like a complete empty slate.

Apparently, the may graduating undergrad ME class here has an average starting salary of ~$55k.
FWIW
 

gnatty8

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Originally Posted by ms244
I went to career services and the lady there said she will look over my resume and get back to me in a few days.

No tattoos, no weird scars, just the face that might scare them


Mostly right now I'm looking for entry level jobs but at a bigger company, I don't want to get stuck in some hole in the wall in the middle of nowhere (kinda where I am at now). Preferably something in the oil and gas industry.

I've been looking on USA jobs.com as well, but without much success.


Are there no specialized websites for jobs in the oil and gas industry?
 

ms244

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You can apply directly to many companies through their websites.

I have about 20 rejection email from chevron FWIW
 

rnoldh

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When I was at Rice U. I knew Richard Smalley who was a pioneering and legendary Nanotechnology prof. Alas, he died and I'm not a science type guy.

But I knew one of his favorite proteges. If I can find his #, I will PM you with it. Smalley was truly an amazing man who died before his time.
 

Tck13

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Originally Posted by LA Guy
Hate to tell you this, but jobs are hard to come by. It is a buyers market out there.


+1

I've been searching for a couple of years in a different field. I've since looked into other fields (which I should be OVERqualified for) and I'm finding that even those fields are incredibly competitive right now.
 

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