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Ask HN: Why my graduated friend (BS Electronics) can't find a job?
9 points by umrashrf 990 days ago | 9 comments
As mentioned one of my friend has graduated 6 months before and he still has no job. He says he's looking for jobs but can't find one. What would you suggest him to do?

Please, expand "can't find one". Does he just sends online curriculums and nobody answers? Does he fails the interviews? There are no job related? Does he wants to much money? All this things can have different solutions.


This is only my experience, but it may help. I have an MSEE and had a hard time finding work in 2008. I found 3 jobs since but all were mediocre. Back then I'd probably get a response rate under 5%. It might be 1/100 tries before I get the job. It's not my interview skills - once I get in person I'm more than 50/50.

I think there are two reasons electronics majors have a hard time finding work, which the software people here haven't experienced.

First of course is that there are much fewer electronics jobs. You can just look at craigslist or whatever. There might be 1 job for every 10-20 software posts.

(As an aside, I taught myself web development and recently applied to 6 or so companies. 3 responded, plus another I didn't apply to found me on LinkedIn. The market is that much different.)

Second is that advanced electronics is already highly specialized, yet prohibitively expensive to tinker with designing (integrated circuits, power supplies, etc). Nor would you have any personal use for them. That means you are useless when right out of school. That in turns means that companies have no incentive to hire, except from only the best schools.

The options thus are to either find a non-design job (tech support, marketing, applications), or find work at a company whose product is not so expensive and you can build something similar with an Arduino or whatever.

Or, try to get into a highly regarded graduate program.

Or, as some have pointed out, try your hand at software.


1. Tell him to get a LinkedIn and start networking like crazy. Go to networking events, Meetups (Meetup.com, there are hardware groups), startup events ,etc. Most are free. Also, use LinkedIn to find employees / founders of electronics / hardware startups and ask them out for coffee.

2. Buy this book - http://www.amazon.com/The-Education-Millionaires-Think-Portf...

3. Make a blog and start doing DIY hardware / electronics stuff / projects. Post those to Hacker News and other communities online, build an online brand. Also great to have those things on your resume in the 'Projects' sections. Play around with Arduino, Raspberry Pi's, etc and make some cool stuff.

4. Learn more software and emphasize your software skills on your resume. Tons of jobs for people with software experience / knowledge over those that are pure electronics.


In addition to looking for a job (ie constantly emailing resumes, going to networking events, and reaching out to everyone he knows), I would strongly suggest tp get involved in side qork projects. If he can code, these come rather easily, or he can just jump into hacking at some opwn source. People notice you and hire that way. What sort of work is he looking for and where?


I remember he mentioned once. I am looking for jobs in Dubai. He lives in Pakistan.


Another thing that hasn't been mentioned that used to great effect to become a programmer is take any job that's the least bit in the vein of what he wants to do for the tiniest sum of money. After 6 months of _some_ experience he can start looking for another job and iteratively work his way up.


When you walk into the office, your so called degree "BS Electronics" here, sits at home, what you carry is the things you learned while doing it, and you need to figure out, which company would want those skills. If you don't have that type of mentality, perhaps, it might be another 6 years, before one can find a job. A degree, is in no way a guarantee to get a job to keep it simple.


What DIY projects he can do which will generate meaning for some company so he can apply?


Here's what I told my two daughters to do (one is midway in college and the other in University, both were looking for employment):

Instead of having the mindset of: "I need a job, can you give me a job" change it to:

"I have these specific skills and this is how I can be an asset to your business".

See the difference? Your friend needs to tell these employers how his particular skill set can benefit their business. This requires knowing a bit about the business beforehand. Not a lot, but enough to show initiative and forethought.

No one is handing out jobs anymore. That era is over. Now people need to demonstrate value right out of the gate. Reframe the situation from one of not having and needing to one of 'I got something that can help you succeed'.

I'll end with this: the best advice I ever got was "make your boss look good". That is the golden rule. If your friend can make it evident he will make his next employer look good, he will be gainfully employed very quickly.

P.S. Since applying my advice, my daughters quickly got work and have never had employment problems since.


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