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Graduating with B.S.C.E. after a decade

Question asked by Jesse Jack in #Coffee Room on Mar 15, 2013
Jesse Jack
Jesse Jack · Mar 15, 2013
Member of CrazyEngineers
I am looking for a little bit of advice. I'm taking the FE in April and graduating in May with a B.S. Civil Engineering, and I'm getting out there and looking for that first big boy job. I'm really excited and I'm trying to brush up my resume and pitch for potential employers.

One thing that I'm kind of self conscious about is the fact that it took me 10 years from the semester I took my first college class, to the time I will have received my Bachelor's degree. For the past several years I have been regretting some of my choices in life that have contributed to my lengthy time as an undergrad. For one thing, I have been indecisive, changing my major from Undeclared to Sociology to Welding/NDT to Welding Engineering to Civil Engineering, and transferring from one school to another and then back to the first. For another, I haven't always done well academically, and have repeated several courses. I'm not really proud of that.

On the other hand, I think there are some positives to this. By experimenting with different majors I gained a very broad education beyond the pure technical engineering aspects and I think that will help me become a better practicing engineer. I have also already had the experience of making mistakes, failing, and dealing with the consequences of bad decisions. In a way I'm glad to have learned to start acting like an adult -- even if I had to learn the hard way -- before I got out into the "real world". Finally, I'm proud that while many other students who were in the same boat with me at my low point dropped out or compromised their goals, I stuck with it and got myself out of the hole I dug.

So enough of my life story, my questions are as follows.

Do you think the issue of my lengthy academic career would come up in an interview, and if so, does my "positive spin" sound like a compelling response?

Also, how do I put my academic experience on a resume? Should I simply state my final school and degree where I am actually graduating, or should I break it out to include all of my different academic pursuits at different universities that didn't culminate in a degree?

Thanks! Posted in: #Coffee Room
Kaustubh Katdare
Kaustubh Katdare · Mar 15, 2013
CEO @ CrazyEngineers, TEDx Speaker, Guitarist
Jesse Jack - I think the experience and exposure to different majors you have outweighs the negatives. I'd not take them as negatives at all. In fact, I'd recommend using it as your USP in interviews. Interviewers would definitely love to hear a 'story' provided you justify the points that you think can go against you. Your pitch would definitely matter and can turn stuff in your favor provided you stop regretting about what happened in the past. Convince the interviewers that your past experience and exposure gives you an edge over others.

Second question is bit tricky. I'd recommend mentioning your tries than completely ignoring them because that makes it look like you stand by what you've done.

If I were recruiting, I'd definitely want to see a candidate who is frank and honest about his career path and options. I'll tag bioramani and gohm who I'm sure would have a word of advice for you.
gohm
gohm · Mar 16, 2013
Member of CrazyEngineers
Focus on illustrating to them the growth and what you have learned from the process, learning from something is not only important but it is a positive aspect. Be honest and upfront but as you stated, show how it provided a positive impact. On a resume only state your final school(s) and degree(s), however on an application list everything would be my humble suggestion.

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