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How easy was it for you to find a job interview with a mechanical engineering degree after college?

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Desiree’s Answer

I'm not an engineer, but you can research this on-line. Look for "in demand" or "high demand" engineering jobs to get a sense about how much those roles are needed. Logically, the more "in demand" a job, the easier it is to get an interview (presuming you have solid qualifications!).

Consider sites like these:
https://www.towerfast.com/press-room/the-most-in-demand-engineering-jobs-in-2020
https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/best-engineering-field-for-the-future

Desiree recommends the following next steps:

Research on-line "in demand" or "high demand" engineering jobs
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Bill’s Answer

Sam, it was very easy for me to find a job in my engineering field (electrical, not mechanical, but the approach I will describe will work for any degree) because I started interviewing while still in college. I simply leveraged the "career center" (some may have fancier names) opportunities presented to me there.

I had interviews with companies visiting campus to seek prospective employees, even if they did not seem to be a perfect match. Before graduation, I gained three solid offers from well-known companies using this approach.

Why this is a high-odds-of-success approach:

1. If a company is visiting campus for interviews, it means:
a. They have real needs they want to fill in the next few weeks/months. It is expensive for them to send "reps" on the road (yes, even if local, because those interviewers are pulled away from their regular work.) The needs they seek to fill are often of special interest to the company to fill quickly.
b. They have a good opinion of how well you school prepares its students for the work they need done, frequently from good experiences with previous graduates. And these graduates may still work there. AND, if you know them or get to know them based on your common alma mater, they may give you extra inside leverage to get you in. (Yes, it is ok to ask who from your school already works there, but save it for the end of the interview.)

2. If a college sponsors interviews on site, that means:
a. They are very interested in your success in getting a job at graduation - it makes their graduate employment statistics look good.
b. They have enough regard for the incoming company to at least suppose it will be a good match, so that you, as an alumnus, are likely to cast a favorable light on the school and donate money when you become richer from the humble career start they made available to you.

3. But if you are already a graduate, what can you do? One college I worked for bestowed a lifetime membership in their career search/change center on any graduate in any field that was taught there at any time. Does your school do that? If so, walk in as if you own the place and make your needs known. If not, go back anyway as an alum and ask for an "informational" interview on how they may still help you or give you leads. (Best to show up in person so you get enough attention and personal connections to get worthwhile results from your efforts.)

Bill recommends the following next steps:

The next steps are outlined in my answer. The best time to start is now, regardless of how any "expert" evaluates employment rates or projections, "10 best jobs of the future" or any other restrictive limitations. For now, you need only one job, only you know exactly what you want, so go out and enjoy the quest.
Thank you comment icon Thank You! This is very useful information for later job searches. Sam
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Sam’s Answer

It was not really difficult to get a job after college. I had done several internships and Co-Op positions in manufacturing while in college , so I was fortunate enough to have companies already familiar with me a my work ethic. I also interviewed with several companies that came to the university during the spring of my senior year. I had several offers, so it was a matter of choosing which one best fit the career path I had in mind at the time. Also, many of your larger companies offer entry-level training programs for engineers where you can do short term rotational assignments that can give you a better idea of what type of position fits your skillset. It also introduces you to different avenues of engineering or manufacturing in a short period of time. Hope this helps!

Sam Barner
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Shawn’s Answer

Because you are from Grundy County, I am going to assume you will or are attending my alma mater, Iowa State. At Iowa State, I found the Engineering Career Placement center to be invaluable. Make friends with the staff in the center and avail yourself of all their advice and activities. You will be surprised at the extra efforts the staff will make on your behalf.

If you are attending another university, the same advice applies.

Getting a start on your career depends totally on the efforts made by you and true friends.
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Brad’s Answer

This is a very tough question to answer and depends on the circumstances at the time that you graduated. When I graduated there was a recession and there were engineers that had been out of work for several years that were willing to work for entry level wages. So I started with looking at large, established companies but could not compete with experienced engineers willing to work for less than what they really were worth. So I wound up working for a very small company. And looking back I would not change it at all. The small company environment allowed me to work in many different departments and really learn how the organizations within a company work and interact. When I left and went to larger companies they still has most of the same functions as the small company and I just had to adapt to larger organizations with the same functions. I think working for a small company right out of college was the best thing that happened to my career.
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Dennis’s Answer

Hi Sam, I think Bill and Sam both had good answers. I am now retired, so my experience is years away from whatever the current practice is, especially with the Covid protocols. In my day, companies sent recruiters to the major engineering schools. And, there were lots of engineering jobs available. I actually got two job offers (in different departments) of one enterprise.
But, it seems the world always needs good engineers, so don't give up. If your school has a jobs placement department, make use of it. Also, talk to your professors and the department head. They have contacts with people in industry, and might have a lead to a good opportunity.
If your school does not have on-campus interviews, you will have to find the companies that interest you and then contact their personnel department and provide your resume'. You will need to do some research - what companies manufacture or do that interests you. Learn as much about these companies and their products or services as you can. If you get an interview, you want to demonstrate that you know something about what you want to do. And, you have thought about how your skills can be useful to the candidate company. It's a two-way street.
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