to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, mechanical engineers hold about
238,700 jobs in the
Mechanical engineers are capable of working in a wide variety of industry
sectors, and new technologies will create industries that don't exist
today. Your opportunities are determined by education, your interests and
attitudes, and the contacts that you make. According to an ASME
Career Path Survey, about half of mechanical engineers were employed in the
original equipment industries. The next largest industry sector was
non-manufacturing employers, followed by process industries.
Remember that there are two parties in an employment relationship. When
preparing for any job search, write down what you expect from an employer
and a job. This may not be easy the first time, when you can't fall back
on experience. Setting money aside for a moment, here are five questions
that working engineers see as important:
- Can I expect a
variety of assignments, and will those assignments provide
`hands-on' experience in interesting, worthwhile areas? Will these
projects prepare me for bigger and better things?
- How much actual
responsibility will I have for the projects assigned to me? What
kind of team will I be assigned to, and what will be my role?
- Will I get a
chance to broaden my experience by working in different areas of
the company? Does the company have rotational assignments?
- Were the people
who I met during my interview energetic and enthusiastic about
their jobs? Was there anything about employee morale that didn't
- Is there
support for continuing education, through in-house training,
graduate studies, or other professional education programs?
About 60% of
mechanical engineering graduates say that they find jobs through their
campus placement office, while some conduct their own job search,
particularly where specialized interests are involved. You may be
interested in a company that doesn't do much campus recruiting, and some
companies have simply cut back on campus interviews -- you have to reach
out to them. Contacts can be very important in finding opportunities and
getting interviews, so try to build contacts through faculty, co-op jobs
and internships, alumni, and professional association student groups. A job search is like
marketing a new product, where you first determine who your customers
(potential employers) are and what they need. You may have to shape the
product (you) to meet customer requirements. Finally, you devise a
marketing message and focus on the most appropriate customers, or in this
case, employers. Think of the things that most interest you, target
companies that do those things, be persistent, and follow through on
leads. Presenting yourself effectively is a big part of getting hired. Try to
anticipate what the employer's needs are, and what information you should
provide to address those needs.
The following is a partial
list of employers of mechanical engineers:
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by
ASME and the US Department of Labor,
Bureau of Labor Statistics.