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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry if this isn't the place to post but I needed to vent somewhere...and BCA is pretty much my go to place whenever I turn on the computer.

I'm sure I'm not the only one but I've been having a really hard time looking for a job since I graduated back in May. I graduated from UBC with a bachelors in chemical and biological engineering. A little history in my field. About 2-3 years ago, every graduate from chemical engineering was pretty much guaranteed a job in the oil sands in Alberta but with the recession happening, massive layoffs occurred and very little hiring is happening. Any sort of hiring is pretty much given to post secondary co-op students with high GPA, any kids with parents having established connections, or new grads that have 3 years of past co-op experience from when they were in school. Sadly, I am none of that. I was not able to get into the co-op program due to not having high enough grades and I was told by the co-op office to just not apply because "it would be a waste of time and you would not be accepted". I admit, I wasn't that great of a student starting off university, but near the end, I was more involved (having joined a student engineering team, won a few competitions, did an optional undergrad thesis, and actually got a temporary summer position working for the department), and improved overall as a student. I am also applying what I learned to several personal projects too, I'm building my own CNC machine, designing homemade DIY reactors, and trying to gain extra knowledge through whatever books I can get my hands on. But all that doesn't seem to be enough because I don't have any industry experience and my grades cannot compete with the academically gifted.

Roll forward to 2015, UBC engineering has a major change in management, a lot of upper management was fired due to difference in opinion when the new dean was inducted and the co-op program changed their admission policy to now include all students regardless of their background in "an effort to help their students enter industry". I'm starting to regret going to UBC, why? I had a full scholarship to SFU but chose UBC instead (even though they didn't offer me any scholarships) because I trusted in the history and integrity of the institution and they made a pretty nice pitch as well saying that when you graduate you will be a highly sought out UBC grad. However, SFU co-op had already had the accept all student policy in place from the start and was evident when I visited certain companies and would always find SFU students outnumbering UBC. It kind of frustrated me that anyone with a sense was able to see that a recession was happening years ago and the university with all their economic advisers did not take any precaution to update their co-op program to help students find positions in industry.

I find myself applying for jobs online, sending followup letters for the majority of the day, attending job fairs, and talking to company reps with no company ever sending a note back. It all seems like a waste of time to me, when I get no response...on top of that, I get donation requests from the university as well. It's just perplexing how, regardless of what I do and the amount of effort I put in, I get news left and right that current 2nd and 3rd year students that I mentored while on my engineering student team are getting 5 or 6 job offers on their first try while I sit here...
 

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is there any unpaid intern/volunteer work for your industry? Sometimes that's the only way to get your foot in the door first.
Networking- get to know some successful people in the field. Call up some directors/management people/employees that is working for a company that you want to get into. Interview them. Kind of, kind of hint to them that you're interested in working for them (you're not necessarily hinting/begging for an interview. Just show that you have sincere interest)
Network- get in contact with new grads and see what kinda offers their getting.
Network- talk to your past professors about job openings that they're aware of.

Just gotta get out there to meet people and sell yourself and what you have to offer.

Best of luck!
 

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It is hard finding a job that's related to your field... I had a major in animal biology for my BSc from UBC... I am now a Banker (Financial Service Manager) at BMO...go figure... and before that I was a realtor and also worked 1.5 years at cibc as a Financial Rep there too.
 

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Spent 9 years at UBC getting a double bachelor's in Aquaculture & Agricultural Business, then a Master's in Aquacultural Engineering. Worked in my field for 4 years in Powell River. Moved back to Metro Vancouver, got married and have been working as an academic tutor for the last 14 years. Sometimes things just work out different from what you had planned.

I agree that if you can, try to network, even ask the students you mentor if they can help you get some leads (especially if they have several job offers already). I know its hard being unemployed. I'm usually okay for the first couple of weeks but after a month of not working, I'm crawling the walls. I try to be productive and use my time to build stuff around the house during down times. Develop a life skill that may or may not be applicable to a future job, such as woodworking.
 

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Great advice from all above. Other things to consider: job searching across the country and in the US. My first job after getting my BBA at SFU was in Northern California. Incredible experience... You're young, no family - don't limit your search area. You can always come home.
 

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Great advice from all above. Other things to consider: job searching across the country and in the US. My first job after getting my BBA at SFU was in Northern California. Incredible experience... You're young, no family - don't limit your search area. You can always come home.
Great comment. For someone looking to break into the job market this is extremely bad timing for you to try to find something in western Canada. Try back east, US and abroad and gain that valuable experience and build that CV. Coming back later is always an option if that's your desire. When younger it's great to have a chance to travel and see new things on the company's dime.

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
 

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Great advice from all above. Other things to consider: job searching across the country and in the US. My first job after getting my BBA at SFU was in Northern California. Incredible experience... You're young, no family - don't limit your search area. You can always come home.
My friend moved to Utah for a stretch of time (said there were only a few people he really enjoyed hanging out with, however) but those 6 months were enough leverage to get the upper hand again, even with the economy bouncing around again (and worse) he's still doing better, just because he moved and was able to negotiate finance benefits for the move.

There's not going to be petro related jobs in Utah, I'd think, but you get the idea. My engineer friend move to Texas years ago, he's been living there ever since (one of the few "brown guys" (East-Indian\Punjabi speaking Sihk's, that I saw in Texas). If you're willing to travel (not necessarily back and forth and bunch, or locate yourself in one area, you can get a job, it's just the immediate sacrifice if not longer-term sacrifice.
 

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Seriously, if there's nothing here for you in your field, relocating to get your career jump-started is a very viable second option. I had to move north up the coast to Powell River to work in aquaculture and even though I'm no longer working in my field, I made a lot of really great friends up there and gained a lot of invaluable experiences and life skills while doing so. Living on my own, away from family and friends, forced me to live outside my comfort zone, develop new relationships, expand my cooking and home-making skills, and gave me some great stories to tell on my trips home (i.e. bear encounters, sinking the boat during a winter storm, working as a substitute teacher in PR). Well worth the sacrifice of moving away for a few years.
 

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I've worked in the oilfield but in production/servicing. There are other places in the world where they can produce with better margins than here, and there are places around the world where energy isn't suffering as much. They would be overseas though. You might want to ask yourself why others are getting 5-6 job offers and you aren't. Are they all just subsidised co-op offers? Did you do a full 3 semesters in co-op and if so, where? I wasn't clear on that from your initial post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hey guys, thanks for the tips. I'm all for relocating however, I can't seem to get a reply from any company I apply to. I have always maintained that I was flexible in where I work knowing that experience is what I value over locality. Only problem is that with the economy in such a terrible position, I'm being overlooked in favor of more qualified individuals. Lots of people looking for jobs but not many to go around.

I have heard lots of people saying that the states is the way to go but I don't know how to break into that sector. Lots of job descriptions say they want locals, or for a simple entry level job they want 3-5 years of experience. Anyways, I always just ignore those and apply anyway but I never get a reply, even if I send in a followup email, nothing...

I have applied to the Canada jobs link provided by onefishtwofish. I'm hoping I'll have better luck there, I basically checked off every box under the location panel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've worked in the oilfield but in production/servicing. There are other places in the world where they can produce with better margins than here, and there are places around the world where energy isn't suffering as much. They would be overseas though. You might want to ask yourself why others are getting 5-6 job offers and you aren't. Are they all just subsidised co-op offers? Did you do a full 3 semesters in co-op and if so, where? I wasn't clear on that from your initial post.
I remember applying for the same positions, where the same company posts the same job in multiple places but never specified co-op only, it was for a post secondary student, I thought fair game for students. Then I get note from co-op students that the same position was posted on their co-op boards which kind of annoys me as I suspect that automatically, a subsidized co-op student would be chosen over me, even though I have the advantage knowledge-wise and experience somewhat. In my mind, I'm thinking why bother post the job on a public media for everyone to see if you go back on your "equal opportunity" clause and take the lowest paying co-op candidate instead. I felt like these companies were just wasting my time when they knew they were just going to hire the cheapest employee they can get.

I didn't do any co-op while at school. I wasn't admitted into the co-op program due to low grades, despite my protest. While I was at UBC, the co-op policy was that you could only enter the co-op program in 2nd year, if you didn't make it, there is no 3rd or 4th year application process. After I graduated, UBC changed their co-op policy to follow SFU's policy and now admit's anyone in any year regardless of grades.
 

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Hey guys, thanks for the tips. I'm all for relocating however, I can't seem to get a reply from any company I apply to. I have always maintained that I was flexible in where I work knowing that experience is what I value over locality. Only problem is that with the economy in such a terrible position, I'm being overlooked in favor of more qualified individuals. Lots of people looking for jobs but not many to go around.

I have heard lots of people saying that the states is the way to go but I don't know how to break into that sector. Lots of job descriptions say they want locals, or for a simple entry level job they want 3-5 years of experience. Anyways, I always just ignore those and apply anyway but I never get a reply, even if I send in a followup email, nothing...

I have applied to the Canada jobs link provided by onefishtwofish. I'm hoping I'll have better luck there, I basically checked off every box under the location panel.
Maybe you have tried this already, but instead of (or in addition to) only e-mailing the company or campus representatives, try searching for people in LinkedIn in those companies, and try to ask for an informational interview. Tell them you're really interested in X role in Y company, and that you would appreciate if they could spare 15 minutes of their time for you to ask them some questions. It won't work all the time, but you may get some success. At the end of the conversation, try to always ask them if there's anyone else in the company they can refer you to to talk with. Depending on how well the conversation goes, maybe you can ask them to refer you to someone directly in a recruiting/hiring role. Point would be to (1) show your dedication by reaching out to specific individuals, (2) have your name recognized by as many people as possible so that they may be in a position to vouch for you, and (3) build knowledge of the company itself which will differentiate yourself from other candidates in any step of the recruitment. If you can mention that you talked with A and B person in a cover letter, or if the application form asks if you have any employee referral (try to find this out early, so you can ask if you can use them at the end of your informational interview), it'll give you that extra mile.

Best of luck!

EDIT: Even if a company has no current listing, try contacting people in it. It'll help you when there is an opening in the future.
 

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Yep... sounds like you're boned. Happens a lot these days. I graduated a few years back (B.Sc in Earth and Environmental Science from UBC). I had lots of decent co-op experience, had a go at networking, sent out as many applications as I could find postings for (including remote jobs, etc). Nada. It's all about timing dude. At this point you're competing with all the guys with 5 or 10 years experience who just got laid off and are willing to take a big pay cut to get back in (Co-op students, on the other hand, have a shot since they're a good pool of cheap, temporary labour for small amounts of project work). This is probably not your year.

Good news is that your degree is just a piece of paper. It doesn't actually mean much (most job skills are learned on the job) beyond the fact that you worked on something for 4 years. There are other fields that are just looking for a warm body; and they like it when that warm body has a degree (degree inflation and all that). Try some of those jobs. Doesn't pay as well (initially); but at least they'll actually look at your resume. Ideally look for something that's semi-tangentially related to your degree (which will help you hop back into 'your' field if it does pick up again).

If I sound slightly bitter about it... well I kinda am. I've got a semi-skilled labour job that pays about 2/3's of what I'm 'supposed' to be making. I work with anthropology, biology, engineering, agriculture, business and history majors. On the plus side, I do kinda like it and there's room for a fancy-piece-of-paper-holder to move up quickly.
 
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