Rising senior civil engineering major, no internship. Any hope for me?

<p>So I'm a rising senior CivE major at the University of Maryland. I applied to several internships this past spring but didn't get anything. I think it was my lack of intern experience and depth into the program (I changed my major 3 times). This past year (junior year) was my first year as a civil major. In sophomore year I was EE, in freshman year I was ChemE second semester, and BioE first semester. Last summer I even dabbled in political science because I thought of leaving engineering all together. Because I was so confused about my major, I spent my summers taking summer classes instead of looking for internships. Well now this summer I have nothing. I might be having a research "job" with a grad student over the summer but I don't think that's a good substitute for an internship. I went to the college's career services, they looked over my resume and said it was fine. </p>

<p>So what do I do? Am I screwed? Will I never get a job? Am I going to be homeless? Please, someone give me some direction on what to do next. Thanks.</p>

<p>Some facts about me:
GPA: 3.21
Concentration: Structures/Geotech
Graduation date: Dec. 2011</p>

<p>Go out and find a job. No one is going to go to you and make an offer, you have to go to them. </p>

<p>I googled Engineering jobs. Here's a start: [url=<a href="http://www.engineerjobs.com/jobs/civil-engineering/%5DCivil"&gt;http://www.engineerjobs.com/jobs/civil-engineering/]Civil&lt;/a> Engineering Jobs // Engineer Jobs.com<a href="Given,%20it%20might%20be%20too%20early%20if%20you're%20a%20year%20and%20a%20half%20away%20from%20graduating">/url</a></p>

<p>The idea that no internship with an engineering degree means no job is silly. </p>

<p>Even so, maybe you can get a internship next summer (summer '11). Is there any reason why you won't be able to?</p>

<p>A bunch of my CS/SoftEng buddies got great jobs after BS without intern experience. Happens every day. Might be different for CivEng though.</p>

<p>Well definitely next summer I'm going to try to pursue an internship. I was event thinking of doing a co-op during a semester as well. And you make it seem like I'm just waiting for a job to come to me. I have applied to places, called them, emailed them for applications updates but I still didn't get any internship. Also, don't you need previous work experience during college in order to get any job after graduation? That's what I heard.</p>

<p>I can tell you on the Michigan Engineering recruitment website there are plenty of job postings for entry level positions which don't list "previous intern or co-op experience" in the qualifications.</p>

<p>No, not all jobs require previous experience. Not even all good jobs. I doubt CivEng is an exception.</p>

<p>
[quote]
So what do I do? Am I screwed? Will I never get a job?

[/quote]

I know I'll probably be jumped on for telling the truth, but yes, you're probably screwed, and you will almost certainly not get a job related to civil engineering. You might be able to get a job in something totally unrelated (WalMart cashier, truck driver, waiter, etc), but when the economy finally turns around, engineering companies would rather hire new grads than hire old ones who've not done anything related to their field for a couple of years.</p>

<p>Now before you beat yourself up, think about this. Suppose you got a 3.7-3.9 GPA, were involved with extracurricular engineering activities, didn't change your major three times, and got a few months of internship experience. Guess what? Your chances of getting that civil engineering job would at best be a tiny bit better than your chances now. I know three of those "model student" classmates who've graduated last year, and NONE of them have jobs related to civil engineering. Their internships did not lead to a full time job, as those companies had hiring freezes that remain in effect today.</p>

<p>If you want to visualize this, get the "B" volume of an encyclopedia. If you're a good student, pick an article with a lot of information on it. Something like basketball, Britain, or biology. If you're not a good student, pick an obscure article with very little information, like the bsnes emulator. Now there are two articles: the model student has the article on basketball, while you have the article on the bsnes emulator. Next, ask someone to pick a random page in that encyclopedia. If that page has info on basketball, the model student gets the job. If that page has info on the bsnes emulator, you get the job. As you may have guessed, the most likely outcome is that neither of you will get the job.</p>

<p>The depressing part of all this? If you graduated back in the housing bubble days, you could have gotten many job offers even if you were a total slacker. A friend of a friend graduated in 2006 with a B.S. in civil engineering and spent more time on beer pong than on studying or doing homework. During his summer vacations, he chose to watch movies and play video games instead of getting an internship. What was the result of this? Two job offers from homebuilders four months before graduation.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Am I going to be homeless?

[/quote]

Hey, you can always live with your parents...</p>

<p>In case anyone accuses me of making up bogus anecdotes, read this:</p>

<p>Landing</a> a job like getting into Harvard - CNN.com</p>

<p>"The odds of any one of these 30 million securing one of the 2.4 million full-time jobs available is 8 percent, the same as the admissions rate of the Ivy League gold standard, Harvard University."</p>

<p>NegativeSlope's comments, at first might seem harse or demeaning. Unfortunately, what he said is very true. Particularly about the part about, and I will just copy and paste: When the economy finally turns around, engineering companies would rather hire new grads than hire old ones who've not done anything related to their field for a couple of years. </p>

<p>A lot of us, whom just graduate with a MSCE in structural are having a rough time finding jobs. From a well-known state university, 3.5+ GPA, interned AND have prior work experiences are still unable to land jobs. Civil have been hard, unfortunately.</p>

<p>Even before, I thought that by having your PE (at least for civil/structural) that you are pretty much secure with a job in civil/structural. Unfortunately, at least for this individual, that shows otherwise. Although I hope that this is just one of those case. I have, however heard of (both rumors and confirmed case) civil companies letting go of PE project managers. This is a surprise to me, because, I would think that would be the last individuals to be let go. </p>

<p>How</a> to Improve Myself to Get Ahead in My Work - Fredo....</p>

<p>So what if I decide to hold off another year? Like graduate in 2012 instead of 2011? My school offers a minor in project management. Should I do that to extend my time at school? The economy should turn around in 2012, right? </p>

<p>And besides, I have already decided to graduate in December 2011 at the earliest, that's 18 months away. The economy HAS to get better by then, right?</p>

<p>"The economy HAS to get better by then, right? "
- If you can prove that, then we need to get together and start buying some stocks or something. Better yet, if you believe that, I have a bridge I'd be willing to sell you for real cheap.</p>

<p>The research will help you more than you think. At the very least you'll have some experience to talk about in the interview.</p>

<p>
[quote]
So what if I decide to hold off another year? Like graduate in 2012 instead of 2011?

[/quote]

It depends. Staying in school longer leads to more debt and little to no income, while getting a job during a recession can negatively impact pay throughout your whole career. From:</p>

<p>College</a> Graduates to See Low Wages for Years - WSJ.com</p>

<p>"those who land jobs will likely suffer lower wages for a decade or more compared to those lucky enough to graduate in better times, studies show."</p>

<p>"for each percentage-point increase in the unemployment rate, those with the misfortune to graduate during the recession earned 7% to 8% less in their first year out than comparable workers who graduated in better times. The effect persisted over many years, with recession-era grads earning 4% to 5% less by their 12th year out of college, and 2% less by their 18th year out."</p>

<p>"For a typical worker, that would mean earning $100,000 less over the 18-year period."</p>

<p>
[quote]
And besides, I have already decided to graduate in December 2011 at the earliest, that's 18 months away. The economy HAS to get better by then, right?

[/quote]

Who knows? We could get into a double dip recession. In that case, only the class of 2013 and later will have decent prospects of finding jobs.</p>

<p>Thanks guys. Now i know my hopes and dreams are destroyed. Better go find a box to live in.</p>

<p>Go to grad school. If you aim low enough (i.e. very low-ranked universities), you might even land a TA position and get to go to grad school for free. Then drop out of the PhD program right after the MS degree is attained. Tada, you're now class of 2013.</p>

<p>"Thanks guys. Now i know my hopes and dreams are destroyed. Better go find a box to live in."</p>

<p>No, we hope that was not what we conveyed. We just wanted, or at least I only wanted to let you know that. So that you are better prepare for when you are looking for work, know that you are facing a tougher time. And if you are not able to find a job, that it is not your fault, just that you are caught in a bad timing.</p>

<p>"Thanks guys. Now i know my hopes and dreams are destroyed. Better go find a box to live in."
- That's the spirit.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Thanks guys. Now i know my hopes and dreams are destroyed. Better go find a box to live in.

[/quote]

You're not the only unlucky one. If it makes you feel better, the class of 2009 and 2010 are worse off than you. Here are the stats for last year's class. From: Got</a> Work? - ABC News</p>

<p>"According to a survey from National Association of Colleges and Employers ... just 19.7 percent of 2009 graduates who applied for a job actually have one."</p>

<p>19.7% employment!?! To put it another way, that's an unemployment rate that exceeds 80%.</p>

<p>Here are the figures for civil engineers from a relatively good school: <a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/1064897736-post16.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/1064897736-post16.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>"Fall 2006 - 92.0%
...
Fall 2009 - 30.6%"</p>

<p>Note the steep dropoff after fall '07. To put it another way, lets say that there's a half mile race. Andy's competitors are five year old kids, blind amputees, and women who are nine months pregnant. It's almost impossible for him to lose that race even if he's out of shape and falls down. Also, the prize for winning is $100,000, and the 2nd and 3rd place finishers will still get a lot of money. On the other hand, Zach's competitors are all professional athletes who've qualified for the Olympics. Even if he trains hard and runs the best race of his life, he'll likely end up dead last or second last at best. Only the winner will get a prize, and it's only $50,000.</p>

<p>You can see how that analogy fits to your situation. Winning the race is like getting a job. The prize is your salary. Your decisions in school are comparable to how hard you train for that race. The most important factor, however, is the year you graduate. That determines who your competitors are and what the prize will be. Andy, the slacker, graduated during an economic boom and achieved success. Zach, the hard worker, graduated during a severe recession and experienced disappointment.</p>

<p>Sorry folks, life isn't fair.</p>

<p>Being in the right place at the right time has always been a factor, but it's the one you can't really control so I'm not sure why you obsess over it so much.</p>