So you've graduated with your Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering and are now looking for your first job. Most job descriptions you come across are looking for job experience. The problem is that you don't have any job experience. You're kicking yourself for not taking a semester off to do a co-op which would have put some experience on your resume. Things are not looking so good for you. You envision your future five years from now. You see that you are still living with your parents and working at a McDonald's. Don't worry, I have been in your shoes and I have landed that first all important job that gets you started on your career. I will teach you what you need to do so that your current vision of the future doesn't become a reality.
Through my experience of graduating and landing my first entry level mechanical engineering job, I've learned there are three ways to get around the experience obstacle.
First the hardest. You can go back to school and get your master's degree in either mechanical, aerospace, or business. A master's degree will set you apart from the rest of the applicants that are applying for entry level mechanical jobs. A lot of companies will also overlook the fact that you don't have any experience because of this. This is a great option if you want to stay in school a little while longer. It also gives you an opportunity to make network connections with professors and others in your field while getting a graduate degree.
Secondly, you can take a job as a mechanical engineering designer. You'll have to know drafting standards such as ANSI Y14.5 and a CAD program such as Solidworks to land a job like this. It will be pretty easy to find a designer job, if you are proficient in ANSI Y14.5 and Solidworks and possess a mechanical engineering degree. Your pay will be significantly less, but you'll be gaining experience. If you don't know anything about drafting standards, then go to your local community college and enroll in a drafting class and also a Solidworks course offered by solidworks resellers. Once you have those skills, I suggest connecting with some recruitment firms such as Aerotek. They are hired by companies to search for candidates to fill positions. Once you land a designer position with a company, work hard and they will reward you by promoting you to a mechanical engineer. If this doesn't happen, at the very least you will have some great experience that will make your resume standout.
Thirdly, just be very persistent in your job hunt. Here's a list of action items:
- Check the job boards, such as Monster, Indeed, Careerbuilder, and Craigslist every day and apply to every mechanical engineering job that is posted with experience needed of five years or less.
- Submit your resume to these sites so that it is searchable for recruiters of companies.
- Go to company websites that you are interested in and submit your resume to their resume database.
- Go on as many interviews as you can to get practice at doing interviews. During interviews make sure to ask a lot of questions about the company and what they do there. This will show passion and interest.
- Go to career fairs and hand out resumes to all the companies attending.
- Look up local companies in your area that you are interested in. Call them to find out who the hiring managers are and ask to speak to them. Say that you are really interested in working for them and would like for them to take a look at your resume.
- If you aren't having any luck on the phone, show up in person and drop your resume off with the receptionist.
If you apply these techniques, I'm sure you'll land that all important first entry level mechanical engineering job. Whatever you do, don't give up!