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Ph.D Mechanical Engineering Job Hunting Experience

by oldcat, published: 2008-07-15 23:23 viewed: 1426 times
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Below are some job search/interview tips from a fresh Ph.D in mechanical engineering who doesn't have a lot of work experience.

1) OPT: The safest way is to apply CPT, then OPT and graduation. OPT may take more than 3 months, so try to apply far before the deadline, then u don't need to worry about mail lost and some other unfortunate issues.

2) Resume: use keywords, omit experiences that do not directly relate to the job. Be concise, but not at the cost of related experience. Several pages are fine if you do have lots of related stuff to include.

3) Phone Interview: wear formally, stand up during talking to help u talk professionally.

4) Onsite: "like everyone you meet". It is important not only to the interview, but to your life. This is the most valuable thing I learned in the job hunting process. Generally if you show you like others, others will like you as well. This works for many situations.

5) Presentation: I tailored my defense slides, added examples related to the company. Remember you must attract the audiences' attention in the first 3 minutes. My presentation was welcomed and I am very happy with it. The key is to tell a story of your research. It is your responsibility to form the story. All important things in your research should be included in the story.

6) Answer questions: not to argue, or challenge each other. But to communicate, to increase understanding, trust, and friendship. Be honest but with tactics; be frank but polite; be nice but with priciples; respect others but not to low down yourself.

7) Negotiation: do a search on salary and know the average of h1b salary. call HR and give reasons. I first mentioned I like the offer and make HR feel that very possibly I will take the offer. Then I try to give the reasons and see which one HR will take. Generally they will not take anything, but you can get a feeling which one will work the best, and insist on it. Let HR know that you are really serious on it. Repeat it several times till HR say they will reconsider your offer. I only got $200/month more, but i like the experience. The key is to insist on your reason till HR agrees to reconsider, but not to break the negotiation.
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