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mech eng help
My DS is doing a masters in mech eng, he is in his 3Rd yr on track to get a 1St. He has been looking to do a yr in industry but has been turned down for every placement he's applied for. No explanations. It's really really tough. I thought we had a shortage of engineers, needed new talent. I'm worried he's going to get demoralised. Any advice would be gratefully received. Thanks
Hi Op. Sorry your DS has been unlucky so far. Has your DS searched on gradcracker for any more vacancies? Has his university helped with supplying any contacts or advice? My DD will be in this position in a couple of years and I know she was warned at the open day that getting a placement can be difficult.
DS1 didn't do a year in industry, and like most of his friends he went straight into his 4th year. But he had a fantastic Graduate engineering job set up by the time of his graduation. In fact I think all of his friends had jobs by the time they graduated in July, and the course director was urging any that were still considering what to do next, to come and see him after the ceremony as he was struggling to fill paid PhD roles.
DS2 (in comparison) knew he really wanted a year in industry with a particular employer (that works closely with his University) and basically took a week out to prepare for the interview. The standard of applications was really high, and luckily his strategy worked out and he was offered a years work experience. But it was tough, and again most of his friends went straight into their 4th year instead.
That's good to hear Error! Did your DS do relevant work experience or placements over the summer (or just do normal bar/shop work)?
No relevant experience whatsoever! Just casual work over the summer. 😄
That's even better to hear Error. Well done to your DS.
I think it can be hugely competitive to get a place with large well known employers who have the pick of students. Look at smaller companies and be prepared to be flexible. I think if universities advertise degrees with a year in industry then they should make sure the students can actually access that. Also lots of MEng courses don't do a year in industry and it doesn't hold the students back. They just do the straight 4 years. Many don't go into Engineering jobs though - well paid city jobs beckon!
Has he been to his careers service and made use of everything they offer in terms of CV preparation, letter writing, interview practice? Often students can make small changes in all these things that increase their success in applications dramatically. It is a tough time in some engineering sectors, especially oil and gas, so he should look widely. I had someone in to interview for placements this week (I'm an engineering academic) from a medium sized company. He was looking for someone with reasonable but not necessarily stellar results, interesting hobbies and a part time job. Sometimes the academic stars find it harder than the enthusiastic sloggers to get placements. In my department I have a good idea what most of our regular placement companies are looking for, so I can give some advice to the students.
Theworldgonemad. What unIversity is he at? Have they not helped at all?
Thank you for all your messages, it really helps to hear everyone's experiences/views.
I'm not sure how much help he has received from the Uni but that could be down to DS. I have tried to get him to talk to his lecturer's /tutor but to no avail and I'm not sure why. He does think his tutor won't be able to do anything because he's not in engineering.
I shall show him this thread when he's home in a couple of days
Just seconding the advice above to get him to his careers service. There will be a team specifically to help with CVs and probably at least one person dedicated to placements. I work in this area and unfortunately even the brightest students are prone to making poor applications, even if they have the ability to do the job. Good luck to your DS.
When your DS gets home for the holidays, sit down with him and check his CV. DS1, despite getting A*s in his English GCSEs and pulling together a HUGE group project consisting of 100s of pages, had a rubbish CV initially.
Over Easter we reworked his CV, encouraged him to see how his projects, student formula race car etc could all be used to strengthen his application, and how to really read the question on the application and base his answer on his experience as team leader, technical adviser, school prefect or whatever. He hadn't understood how to think creatively about what he had done and how it could be used in the application.
From that exercise (which took most of a day to tease the information from him and send off one decent application), DS then completed 4 more applications, got 5 interviews, 2 job offers and withdrew from the 5th pre-interview as he knew one of the offers was absolutely right for him.
Once the interviews start rolling in, get your DS to check out interview techniques pre interview too!
Sorry, that's an essay on its own!!
Is the year out mandatory? Or can he just do his 4th year at the university? Would he prefer this?
I certainly agree a cv that is snappy and to the point (not more than 1 sheet of A4) will get him further. The university must know where students have been before but he may want a placement near home so looking at smaller companies near you might be a start. My DHs relatively small office in a Northern town takes young people from the local university (Civil not Mechanical) but they are never inundated with requests because they are small and not a major player in that area. However they do employ graduates and prospects are huge for the right people. So many young people only look at large companies and forget the smaller ones where you can really use any latent entrepreneurial skills!
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