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thenuttyneutron

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Young and new grad needs advice.
« on: Apr 10, 2005, 11:55 »
I recently graduated with a degree in Nuclear Engineering and have been looking for work.  I want to get my feet wet and get a career started.  I sent out about 64 letters 2 weeks ago to every power plant in the USA and addressed it to the HR department.  I have had very small success in getting responses and have had several letters come back to me undeliverable.  Am I approaching this all wrong? 

I made a big mistake by turning down an internship and lost a great opportunity to network while in school and regret this very much.  I was an ignorant young kid.  Can anyone give me any good advice on how to get exposure to the correct people?

My goals are to become a licensed operator and learn all I can about the nuclear power production industry.  I am willing to relocate and can move within 2 weeks, sooner if my current employer releases me before the 2 weeks are up.

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Re: Young and new grad needs advice.
« Reply #1 on: Apr 11, 2005, 12:34 »
Your attitude will make you successful in this industry if you can maintain it for the long term. HR departments do not hire; they weed out stuff going to the people that do hire. You need to get with your alumni department and get some real names of contacts in the industry that would be willing to help you out since you have the same school.

I would recommend looking for a position in Nuclear / Fuels Engineering, and tell them when you interview you are willing to license if needed by the department. The alternative is to find an OPS position that is hiring for a field operator. It takes a few years to get into a license class with either of those routes.

I know you technically qualify for direct hire into a license class, but those positions are very rare. Check each nuclear utility website for positions weekly as part of your search.

Good luck!
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thenuttyneutron

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Re: Young and new grad needs advice.
« Reply #2 on: Apr 11, 2005, 10:38 »
I will call up some of my old professors and see what they say.  I am very motivated and ready to start a career.  I am still doing what I was doing in high school before I earned my degree :'( .  I am prepared for long hours at bad times of the day and dealing with stress.  The last 6 years I worked 30+ hours a week trying to make ends meet while I was in school, I can keep doing it till I get my foot in the door and settled in to a new job.  I sometimes wonder if I would have been better off had taken more loans out rather than work so much.

I have wanted to work nuclear reactors since the age of 12 when I visited Commanche Peak on a Boy Scout Trip.  Later against the wishes of my parents I changed in to nuclear engineering from chemical engineering in my junior year.  It caused such a problem that my dad refused to talk to me for a year.

Just for all readers to know my goals:

I want to become a licensed reactor operator.  After getting enough experience I want to take on more responsibility and management type roles and become a Sr. operator.  I really believe nuclear power is going to blossom and become a very hot field.  I want to be a part of this nuclear renaissance.  Anyone reading this that knows anyone with a job please let me know.  I WILL relocate.

I have a degree in Nuclear Engineering from Texas A&M University with a minor in Math.  157 hours total.

I was very involved in extra curricular activities and held several leadership roles.  They include:

Fund raising officer for ANS.

Member if the Corps of Cadets 4 years and served as supply, IM and accountability officer.

I also worked about 30 hours a week, sometimes more, to pay for school as a licensed pharmacy technician.

I have maintained my license for 4 years now.

If a background check is performed you will see nothing except for a speeding ticket I received in New Mexico on my way to Philmont when I was 17.  My credit is excellent.
« Last Edit: Apr 11, 2005, 10:48 by thenuttyneutron »

Fermi2

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Re: Young and new grad needs advice.
« Reply #3 on: Apr 12, 2005, 03:05 »
To become a Reactor Operator you legally have to be qualified as a Non Licensed Operator at the facility for a certain length of time (Normally 3 years including training).
There's no way around this.

If you choose to go that route let me suggest looking for Auxiliary Operator Jobs. Use Monster.com

Odds are with no experience in the Navy or as a Utility Engineer that you'll find Instant SRO Positions few and far between, especially since INPO is pinging on putting proven successes in these positions.

Mike

thenuttyneutron

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Re: Young and new grad needs advice.
« Reply #4 on: Apr 12, 2005, 03:13 »
I do not have a problem working as a non-licensed operator.  I am just pointing out I desire to move up and take on more roles after I get training and experience.  We all have to start some where and I am just looking to get my foot in the door.  I want to make a career out of this.  When the generation 4 reactors start to be built I want to be in a position to train the next generation of operators and really be a part of this industry‚Äôs growth.

Quantum

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Re: Young and new grad needs advice.
« Reply #5 on: Apr 13, 2005, 03:31 »
It is hard to get hired with no experience. That is what college interviewing and career fairs are for. Your best bet is to inquire companies like Exelon or Dominion about any nuclear position openings availalble. Talk to the department supervisors, not HR people. Lately the nuke industry has been on a hiring spree for nuclear engineers, from what I have seen. Once you get your foot in the door it is not hard to laterally move from engineering to ops.

thenuttyneutron

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Re: Young and new grad needs advice.
« Reply #6 on: Jun 27, 2005, 02:42 »
Just an update.  I interviewed at Davis-Besse and passed the POSS there.  I took their job offer and am in the middle of the hiring process.  I don't know how well I did on the test but I think I nailed it.  I was confident on all the questions I answered and failed to finish the long math part by 4 questions and the graphs part by 8 questions.

I was not to worried about that test because I have raped every standardized test ever thrown at me, but I was worried about my grades.  I worked through school, about 30 hours a week and managed to get a low 2.xx gpa in Nuclear Engineering.  I am so glad they did not ask what my gpa was, they focused more on my extra-curricualar activiteies in school.  During the interview I stood up straight on the edge of my chair, smiled a lot, hammered my point acorss about wanting to learn everything about the industry and kept the answers to the interview questions short and sweet.  I so badly wanted a job and tried to not show that I was ultra desperate on the advice from my dad.

One thing that did puzzle me was the poor preperation of the other people there.  8 people took the test and interviewed.  Only one other person was in a nice suit and tie besides me.  Maybe I am wrong but I got this feeling of an "entitlement attitude" from some of the other people.  It was almost like they did not want the job adn that it was owed to them.

BuddyThePug

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Re: Young and new grad needs advice.
« Reply #7 on: Jun 27, 2005, 02:40 »
  During the interview I stood up straight on the edge of my chair, smiled a lot, hammered my point acorss about wanting to learn everything about the industry and kept the answers to the interview questions short and sweet.  I so badly wanted a job and tried to not show that I was ultra desperate on the advice from my dad.

One thing that did puzzle me was the poor preperation of the other people there.  8 people took the test and interviewed.  Only one other person was in a nice suit and tie besides me.  Maybe I am wrong but I got this feeling of an "entitlement attitude" from some of the other people.  It was almost like they did not want the job and that it was owed to them.

You hit on some key points. Interviewing is a lot like dating. Looking interested and attentive, with appropriate level of ey contact is great. Being desperate, staring at the interview panel like a hungry dog and waiting to hear "you're hired" like some cheesy TV show, will almost certainly ruin your interview. Your dad gave very good advice there.  Sitting on the edge of the chair gives good posture, which shows an interviewer your energy and alertness. Slouching is always a no-no. Overdressing for an interview may look a bit silly, but nowhere near the downside of underdressing. I always like to dress one paygrade higher than the job for which I'm applying; even though operators don't wear a suit and tie in the control room, a tie , good shirt and some sort of jacket would be a good idea. Dressing, speaking and behaving like a knowledgeable professional works to one's favor. Good luck and good hunting!

 


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