Joe:

Looking for a new job is always daunting. Since you graduated and have a couple of years experience I would suggest the following:

  1. Sign up with the TAMU Career Center services at http://careercenter.tamu.edu/. They have assistance available for both current and former students.

  2. Send me your name and email address (Lowery@tamu.edu) using the subject line "Add to jobs list server" and I will add you to our list server so you will get copies of any job offers that come to our attention.  The only problem with this is that when you get a job and want to stop the emails you have to again send me your email address to take you off.

  3. If you like, email me back and I will send you copies of past job email offers sent out to our students. I have no idea if they are located in your city or if they are in your field, so you would have to dig through them and see.  I will probably just forward the last 6 months to you.  If you reply to any of them, just say something like "Dr. Lowery at TAMU recently sent me an email regarding possible openings with your company. I realize that it is rather old, but he thought that since I was looking for such a position I should check to see if it might still be open."

  4. I will be glad to put you on Civilgrads.tamu.edu under "Earlier Graduates Wishing to Relocate". Since you probably no longer have a computer account through A&M, you will have to put your resume on a free site somewhere.  See http://lowery.tamu.edu/placement/CivilgradsListing.htm for instructions on this.  Please be sure to tell me when you get a job and want to be taken off of Civilgrads so it won't sit out there long after you are again working.

  5. Go to http://lowery.tamu.edu/generalceinfo and read everything in sight.

  6. Go ahead and file your resume with a bunch of the head hunters. They have your best interest at heart, since they don't get paid unless they get you a job. Normally you don't have to pay for these. Their fees are paid by the employer.  An exception is someone whose sole purpose is to send your resume to recruiters, such as ResumeXposure. They seem cheap enough, although I haven't heard of anyone who has used them so I don't know how effective they are. Their Better Business Bureau record is clean. Update - They are still in business after 12 years, which is pretty good.  2nd Update: Now they have an F rating, because they say they are BBB rated, but aren't.  However, they have no complaints lodged against them for the past 3 years.  Who knows?

  7. Go to yellowpages.superpages.com. Put civil engineer in the category, your state, and the city you want.  In Houston you will find 468 Civil Engineers and 69 in land development and planning.  Write a really nice generic letter (not a resume) stating that you recently graduated from Texas A&M, and after working for the past two years are now looking for other employment.  You have been educated in a wide range of civil engineering areas including etc. etc. etc., and feel competent to take responsible charge of practical engineering assignments.  "Although I have only two years of engineering experience other than that gained in my engineering classes and practical labs, I have learned to work hard, carefully follow instructions, and accomplish goals with a minimum of supervision.  If offered a position with your company I can assure you that I will make every effort to quickly become productive.  I appreciate your consideration." Something like that, but add more personal and specific information.  Add your photograph and list of references to your resume so the employer can call or email them immediately.  Do not put "available on request".  After you send the letter/resume to about 100 or so companies, move on to Arkansas.  Be careful not to hit the same company twice.  Put your telephone number and email address on the letter.  Put your parents telephone number on it, so someone will always be available to answer the phone while you're out looking.  Email me a copy of the final letter/resume to critique.

  8. Get a local telephone book and send the same information to anyone not listed above.

  9. Go to the library and get a telephone book for the city in which you wish to work, and send your information to those engineering firms.

  10. When you find a company who looks good and is willing to talk with you, write a letter of recommendation as specified here and I will be happy to send it to them. Or if you need a letter of recommendation to go with your resumes for all the firms, I will just address it to whom it may concern and send it to you.  Please realize that a lot of people take me up on this offer, so I will be unable to do any clean-up on it.  Making it respectable will have to be your job.  It should certainly be heavy on what you have learned during your last 2 years of employment and how you are able to accomplish things that they need done.

  11. One other suggestion - go to the City Engineering Department and ask them what is being built in the city.  Then ask them to look at the plans. Find out where companies of interest to you are working, then go to the job site and look around.  Walk around on the site and get chased off.  Tell whoever chases you off "Sorry, you are just doing some neat stuff here and I am really interested in this type of work."  Tell them who you are and introduce yourself.  Then go to the company and talk with someone about a job.  Tell them "Joe" chased you off the job site when you were looking around.  That shows interest in their work.
     
  12. As an aside, I used to hate FaceBook and LinkedIn and nonsense like that.  However, I am being told more and more that they can be very useful in networking and finding a job.  LinkedIn seems to be used more for networking, and they check Facebook to see if you are a drunk.  I guess you should consider joining them, but for heaven's sake, if you are already out there, clean them up.  The days of pictures on the beach drinking beer are certainly behind us.  Nothing but pictures of you swinging an ax on grandpa's ranch or working on a computer or volunteering for Habitat for Humanity or the Food Bank is acceptable.  If you are between jobs, I would highly recommend that along with interviewing you volunteer for such things and put them on your resume.

Let's start there.  Email me again when you have finished.  This assignment is no different than all the others you have successfully completed.  At first the assignment seemed daunting and you were totally lost.  Then you thought about it, tried working on it a little, and realized it's just one more rotten thing that has to be done to move your career forward.  Then you beat it into submission, and successfully completed it.  That's what you're doing again.  The average worker in the US changes jobs 8 times in their career.  Fortunately, as an engineer your average will be far less.  Nevertheless, like all your other assignments, this one is important and will require both time and effort.

The days of employers knocking down our doors to get at new graduates may well be behind us.  Now we knock theirs down instead.  I assure you that there is at least one company out there today who needs a really good engineer. I can also assure that company that there is one top engineering graduate looking for work. They just need to find each other.

Keep me posted.

Good luck,

L^3


More notes to another student:

I got your resume and it looks fine.  Minor suggestions are noted on the attached.  Add a photograph and post it on a web site and on http://civilgrads.tamu.edu.  We donít link to our jobs list because within a month the employers get more responses from non-aggies than from us, and complain.  Email me at Lowery@tamu.edu with your name and date of graduation and I will send you the address.   

Are you on http://civilgrads.tamu.edu?   If not see https://ceprofs.civil.tamu.edu/llowery/generalceinfo/index.htm     section 1.C 

As you know, your Facebook was actually quite clean, but all employers go through those with a white glove for any hints at all about you.  The slightest thing can have them move on to the next candidate.  Go through any and every social media site you have ever used and scrub them.  If you have friends listed and they have pictures of you in a speedo with your bikini-clad wife, get rid of it.  Find out how to make your site and acquaintances inaccessable to any and all but close friends if at all possible. 

You are always welcome to come up and talk with us at any time, but you seem to be doing all the right things.  Send me a few copies of any cover letters you have written. 

Who have you interviewed with that didnít hire you?  Do you have an email address for them?  Perhaps I can contact them and ask if they truly just arenít hiring.  How did what they do align with your strong points here?  I.e. were they environmental but you were structural?

See also https://ceprofs.civil.tamu.edu/llowery/recommend/index.htm if you want me to write you a letter of recommendation.  I still have several students frantically looking after over a year, but most are finally getting jobs.  As I said, thing are truly brutal right now.  If the government really cuts 10% across the board, you and I will both be looking for work.

Email me back with the above information and again in a month to let me know how you are doing.