ME (not looking to convert to ID)- Seeking job advice in NYC

Hey guys,

As the title implies, I am a Mechanical Engineer looking for assistance finding a job in the New York City area. Unlike many of the previous ME’s posts, I am not looking to convert to an Industrial Design career path.

My long term girlfriend and now fiancee was recently accepted to NYU’s Social Work Graduate Program. In order to support her life long dream, I agreed to do everything in my power to get us to NYC and support her while she goes back to school. That being said, I am having an extremely hard time getting companies to notice me in New York.

As a little background on myself:
I am the quintessential Mechanical Engineer (half stubborn, quality-minded German, half ingenuity, stubborn Southern) . I grew up in a family of 6 kids where I constantly needed to take apart, modify, and rebuild everything electrical and mechanical (lawn mower, cars, computers, toys, appliances, tv’s, furnaces, plumbing, etc. ). You name it, I’ve probably rebuilt it or can tell you how to make it better. In order to pay for college, I held numerous internships, co-ops, and full time jobs in everything from consumer products, utilities, to small and large scale manufacturing. In 2008 I graduated from Michigan State University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and promptly moved down to Ohio and started work with Honda. For the last 3 years I have been designing everything from floor mats, to roof rack, to body kits for the Honda and Acura vehicles. I also design build and operate test fixtures, jigs, and prototypes from scratch in order to test my design’s durability and help convey concepts. (sorry I can’t divulge much more due to confidentiality agreements).

My strengths lie in designing for function over form (the more boring route according to my Design buddies). I am very good at taking grandeur designs from being just concepts to actual manufacturerable, long lasting, reliable products. You can read my resume and see some of what I’m best at here:

I can guarantee that I am the hardest working, most dedicated individual any of you will every meet. My hunger for technology and innovation keeps me from getting more than 4 hours of sleep a night. I love what I do and am very good at it.

Having realized that the ME opportunities are limited at best in manufacture-lacking NY area, I have turned to consultancy firms. I have since researched every last design firm in Core 77’s directory and have come to the conclusion that not only would they be my dream jobs, I would be the absolute best fit possible for any one of them. I see myself to the ying to an Industrial Designer’s yang. I not only can figure out a way to make their concepts work, I can optimize manufacturing (basically be the wet blanket of the operation).

Short of stalking people, I don’t know what else I can do to convince someone to just give me a shot.

What else can I do to get some recognition from some of these companies (most notably Pensa, Inch, Quirky, and A2)? Classes start in the fall and I’m doing everything I can think of. There’s just no way I can consider moving there and leaving a great job with nothing lined up.

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


For some reason I submit responses but nothing goes through. I’ve tired sending about 5 replies but nothing…???

First, Coroflot does have engineering jobs. I just looked and saw one at a place called inch in Brooklyn posted June 20. That one is still fresh.

Also, probably 95% of ID consultancies offer engineering. They aren’t ignorant of your capabilities, if they don’t respond, they either don’t have the need or found a “better” fit. Don’t take it personally.

But, if you see an NY firm advertising for an IDer, it can’t hurt to submit your resume. Be clear you are not an IDer but can offer engineering skills in the product development process. You may get lucky. They may want an engineer in addition to an IDer. Be sure to tell of your experience with IDers in the development process.

Also, check out PDMA.

I can guarantee that I am the hardest working, most dedicated individual any of you will every meet… I would be the absolute best fit possible for any one of them

I might get shot for this, but I think some humility might go a long way.

I understand that you and your family/friends/(ex)co-workers might think you’re the cat’s pyjamas but employers look for more than just skills and experience. They want someone who is enjoyable to work with and has a good sense of humor.

Not saying you’re not as good as you say you are, but if you just keep it cool and show people your skills instead of talking them up you might do a bit better. If you advertise yourself as “the hardest working, most dedicated individual any of us will every meet” you might not be able to cash the cheque if you know what I mean.

As I said, just my 2 cents. I’m also from Australia and as a culture we are hard on “tall poppies” over here, so blast away if you think I’m wrong.

I saw that job posting and I already contacted Inch. I will look into PDMA.

I understand what you’re saying and I appreciate the criticism. It was probably a mistake saying it in the fashion that I did and I assure you that nothing as abrupt make’s it in my actual applications/cover letters. It’s difficult for me to convey just how hard I do work and how much passion I have for what I do. In no way was I trying to come across as a hard-ass or “tall poppy” (as in the plant?).

Generally speaking I am a very laid back, relaxed individual. I’m just struggling with the concept that despite my best efforts, I haven’t been able to make any ground. All I’m looking for is a chance to prove myself.

Thanks again,

Inch is one of the companies that I am most interested in. My application has already been sent in.

No, you will not get shot… I understand what you are saying and appreciate the criticism.

I made a mistake in the way that I said what I did. The frustration is setting in knowing that no matter how I try, nothing I’ve done is working. Letting experience speak for itself has failed me since the very day I started applying for jobs. My applications and cover letters in no way share the same level of abruptness.

Generally speaking I am a very laid back, relaxed person. All I’m looking for is a shot to prove myself.

Thanks again for the criticism,

I might get shot for this, but I think some humility might go a long way.

I second Azrehan’s sentiment (though I am not sure that the OP is from Australia).

Your post here reads less like advice seeking and more like a job inquiry. You include a cover letter and a lot of info, I would only need if I would consider hiring an engineer. As I understand it, Core77 is not really for that. Coroflot is the appropriate marketplace.

Alright, this may get bombarded with responses by me… If so, I’m sorry.
I’ve tried responding a couple of time but nothing seems to actually make it onto the page. Not sure if its the bad connection here or the delay on admin review is just really long.

I appreciate the responses and please keep them coming.

I didn’t mean to sound so obtuse or cocky. I’m from the midwest (land of the engineers) where I have missed out on many opportunities because I wasn’t verbal enough about my skillsets and experiences. Apparently I’ve started to step up and vocalize a bit more in the past few years.

Generally speaking I am a very laid back easy going person. I just have a tendency to turn on the boosters when I need to get something done.

The intent of my original post was to ask for advice on how I needed to present myself, what I need to have prepared, etc. to get noticed. The normal, ‘I’m an engineer, here’s my credentials’ isn’t working. I tried to put together a protfolio but being that my parts tend to be be for future vehicles and the auto industry is EXTREMELY competitive, I can’t share anything.

Thanks again everyone.

I meant because I’m from Australia, I’m used to a culture of humility. No one really walks around here proclaiming to be the best at anything. If they do, they don’t usually get very far because no one wants to work with someone who sings their own praises every day.

I think it may be part of German culture. We had a German exchange student in my first year of uni who basically verbally humped his own leg every day. He couldn’t understand why all the girls in the class didn’t want to throw themselves at him. Arrogance doesn’t go down well here. I’m sure not all Germans are like that though, so don’t want to paint them all with the same brush.

I remember him. I thought he was OK, but the arrogance may have been less his ethnicity and more that he came from a fairly wealthy background, and he had lots of Mummy and Daddys’ money to fund his adventures.

To the OP- show, don’t tell. I’m not qualified to judge the quality of your claims, but I’d suggest a good start would be search the Coroflot portfolios and find stuff that impresses you, then try to work out what they do that you aren’t, and take it from there.

It takes big balls to state things like “I can guarantee that I am the hardest working, most dedicated individual any of you will every meet” or “You name it, I’ve probably rebuilt it or can tell you how to make it better.” By all means sell yourself, but be able to back it up. Don’t do this:


Just wanted to say I saw everything you guys posted. I understand and appreciate all the comments. For some reason, none of my replies were getting through. I tried about a dozen times…

In no way was I trying to be as arrogant or cocky as I apparently came across. I have never said anything like that in an application and have tried to let me experiences and skills speak for themselves. The frustration of knowing nothing I’ve done for 4 months has gotten me anywhere.

I’m generally a very laid back person (apparently not as much as you aussies tho :slight_smile: ).

Hopefully I cleared up any confusion.

Are there any thoughts as to what I can do to make me stick out in the crowd of resumes. You can check out my coroflot profile for the typical coverletter and resume I submit to companies (of course each is unique and specific for the company).

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again,

Hi Hannes,

Got your message, appreciated. I don’t know why the original post disappeared- apologies if I offended anyone.

Coroflot is sensational because you can see the level of what’s out there. I’d suggest search stuff that impresses you (put yourself in an employers shoes and ask yourself ‘what would I hire?’) and work out what they do that you aren’t, then aim at that level.

The written word conveys a lot less than the spoken word, so don’t worry about being seen as cocky- you aren’t cocky if you can back up what you say with what you do.

It’s a buyer’s market for employers right now. For every opening they are getting at least a dozen people just like you. If you don’t have the exact experience they are looking for, you will be out. So in general, a consultancy will want a person with consulting experience. If you don’t have it, you’re out. Harsh, but that is the reality.

To borrow from the Allman Brothers, the only thing you can do is keep on keeping on. If you stop, then you definately won’t get that job in NYC.

Hi Hannes-

Sorry since you are such a new user, the system got your replies hung up for approval. I merged your other topic with this to keep everything together.

Back to the discussion.

I think it may be part of German culture.

I am half German, half Swedish. I didn’t move outside of Germany till my twenties and can definitely second that there is a certain demeanor deeply rooted in German culture where status seems to trump all.
I have a hard time with this myself and it is one of the reasons I have not considered moving back to Germany after years spent in Sweden, the UK as well as the US.
I always feel rather uncomfortable in when I am in Germany for business as I experience people to be abrasive and rather aggressive.
Of course, that I my personal experience, we are all different.

Especially the Swedes have a very nice way of showing confidence. It is a calm but strong image where humility is rather viewed as a strength and virtue than a weakness. It makes for good cover letters.

In regards to the OP, I think when it comes to a job search and the interview process, there is no point in overselling. Whoever is making the decision to hire at a respectable place can very quickly see through the big talk. It is their job and the prosperity of the company depends on it.
It might help to niche yourself which makes you more interesting in a certain type of project or with specific clients. Out of my own experience, this can help to get a foot in the door for freelance or consulting work, which then later might very well branch out into a fulltime position as the employer sees value in the established relationship.

If you have a specific asset to your arsenal, just an email or a cold call might be quite effective. Even if the firm does not have a position right that moment, they will keep you in mind for next time a project pops up where your skills could be useful.
I had design firms tell me that they actually took on a specific client because they knew somebody who could help them with the project, in that case me. If I wouldn’t have had scheduled a meetings months prior with them to tell them about my special skillset, they wouldn’t have taken on the client and I wouldn’t have had a job. Win-Win.

Extremely insightful bepster.

The job market on the East coast is something I still don’t fully understand. Here in the midwest it seems everything is about what you’ve done and how vocal you are about it. There are so many civil, electrical, and mechanical engineers that everything is a battle. I was starting to feel that it was much of the same out on the East Coast but its not.

I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that NY seems to be more about the upfront conceptualizing and less about ‘is it functional’.

Is it acceptable out there to call up the companies and ask to speak with HR reps? That’s a big NO-NO here and is sure to lose you any chance you might have had.

Is it acceptable out there to call up the companies and ask to speak with HR reps? That’s a big NO-NO here and is sure to lose you any chance you might have had.

I would discourage the phone call. By “cold call” I was rather referring to approach a company without them putting out a job listing.
Got lost in translation, sorry.
A phone call is quite personal and puts whoever you have on the other end on the spot. Also, there is not much information given to whoever you call.

I have had success with three different approaches, the personal email, networking through events and shows and then being refered by somebody else who is in a higher postion. The last one is of course the best one but if there are no contacts yet established, the other two might work just as well.
An email is very handy as you want to make it as easy as possible for the employer/recruiter to see if you might be a good fit. Important is that the email is not too long and concise, quickly outlining what it is that you can bring to them.
I would cut the whole “working hard” mumbojumbo. It is a given, of course you will work hard. Your resume and visual material will reflect this.
Just tell and show them why you are great, not that you are great.

If you don’t hear back, I would not follow up. They have seen it, they have read it. If they ignore it, they are not interested right now but maybe get back later. There is a fine line between a harmless inquiry and spam.

All is of course based on my personal experiences and some here might very well disagree. But this has worked well for me.

Funny… I’m an IDer in Los Angeles and I’ve been contacted twice in the last couple of months by companies seeking an Industrial Engineer, including one today. I’m not sure what these companies are seeing in my resume and portfolio that makes them think I’m an engineer or suitable for their needs… Baffling.

What’s really baffling is why this “project” discussion is embedded in the “Design Employment” forum.

It isn’t so baffling really. You’re receiving inquiries from Headhunters looking for Industrial Engineers because their computers are kicking out lists of names with “all” keywords, and there is no clear distinction between the two, to them.

Actually, they haven’t been headhunters at all. They’ve been HR people in small companies. Being quite familiar with one of the two companies which had already contacted me twice (same HR person) and interviewed me once in the past I think it’s particularly odd. In house design is a big part of what that company does… Custom designed and manufactured high-end office furniture systems and environments. They have Industrial designers and likely at least one engineer on staff.