Undergraduate Engineering Employment

Our students do not find employment easily.  The joke I make about this is that I seem to be the only one that is concerned about this and I include faculty and students in this assessment.  Well, that is I am the only one until the students are ready to graduate and can't find a job.

What is the simplest thing that you can do to find a job?  Join SWE or SHPE and go to the national meeting because everyone who is a member and goes to the national meeting gets a job offer regardless of whether or not one is a woman or Hispanic.   Since my students and I are mechanical engineerings, one would think that it would be ASME, SAE, SME or one of the other more technically related societies and you would be wrong.  However, go to any and all of the professional societies meeting.  Often students do not attend and the older members are delighted to see new blood (they are vampires and want to further their longevity by living vicariously through your stories that you should be prepared to regal them).

First if you are an underclassperson, you need to find an internship prior to senior year and graduation.  Here is how I explain it to students.  Take your identical twin with for the sake of argument, identical abilities.  You have to differentiate yourself from your twin so you can get the job and become the favorite in Dad's eyes.  You do this by various measures, GPA, selection of electives and relevant work experience.  Sometimes you can differentiate yourself simply by picking electives that relate to each other instead of the random assemblage of electives that many (most?) students take based upon the  faculty that give high grades and may not present a challenge.  If you can't find an internship, find a related job to your field of study and interest on campus.with a professor in your department.

As an engineering student, you will undoubtedly have to work on a team project before you graduate.  The project or course(s) will be the closest to working in industry that you will experience in college.  Your interaction with your teammates and your performance will be indicative of your performance in industry.  While you will not take the time to do so, you can learn more about life from paying attention to the other teams and team work than you will learn in college.  You won't do this because you will be too engrossed in your own trials and tribulations to heed this advice.
2014 Ronald A. L. Rorrer