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Currently, it's not that easy to find a job. I have 2 degrees (Electrical Engineering and Business Administration). Because it does not seem like I will find a job doing anything I studied for, I'm willing to take any job that comes up. So far I've applied to anything from helping out in a store to working in a factory.

In a letter you can simply write something like "I would love to work for your company". But how do you motivate this in an interview? If they ask me, why do you want to work here?, what do i say?

I can't say "just for the money". Obviously. I can't say "I want to start a career as a kitchen help (or whatever). That's simply a lie and I'm sure they see through it right away looking at my resume.

I can't say "I just want this job until I can find something that fits my education better." This just sounds negative, and gives the idea that I will walk away once I find something better (which is of course partially true.)

I believe recruiters or interviewers know or should know why I'm there, looking at my resume and the current economy. But what answer do they want?

  • You are presumably applying for more than one job. What motivates you to work at company X rather than the other jbos you are applying for? If it helps, just assume for this exercise that they all pay equally well so that the question of money is not a motivating factor. – Brandin Mar 21 '15 at 19:40
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    Remember - there is nothing wrong with tailoring your resume to fit the position you want. It's not lying to exclude work history/education details that you feel are not relevant to the position. You can leave off an advanced degree in computer science and put on the part-time job you had in college washing dishes. That's more relevant to the kitchen help job. – Rob P. Mar 22 '15 at 20:04
  • well - when you look at a job, aren't you going to ask yourself "why do I want this job?" - the answers should be the same... – HorusKol Mar 23 '15 at 1:35
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    But, having now obtained degrees in Electrical Engineering and Business Administration, why are you having trouble finding work in related fields? Unless you live out on the polar ice cap, I'd say that there are plenty of business admin and engineering roles in almost any part of the world. – HorusKol Mar 23 '15 at 1:37
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    @Elmer - it is not going to get easier. In fact, the more time graduating that you spend working in an unrelated role, it will get harder. – HorusKol Mar 23 '15 at 3:36
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One of the realities of the American workplace is that you are expected to behave like you are happy working there even if the actual job is crap. It's a social norm. If you can't even fake it in the interview, then you definitely won't be able to during the job. The hiring manager is looking to see that you understand this and can have a positive attitude. Of course they know not everyone is going to be thrilled being hired help. That's not the point.

You need to find at least one thing that interests you about that company or job. It just has to be enough that you can sell it. For example you could say something like "I've always wanted to learn how a restaurant is run and this is a great opportunity for me to do that." Or "I like working with my hands." or "I want to learn how factories operate." or "Your company makes cool widgets." etc.

If you can't find a single reason you probably shouldn't be applying to that place. It will be better for you personally as well if you can see your next job as having something positive besides just clocking in and out.

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    "the American workplace" - where does it say that in the question or the OP's profile? – user8036 Mar 24 '15 at 15:38
  • Even though this post reference America, the advice is pretty universal. Unless the OP is working in a sweat shop, employees are expected to give a facade of happiness with their job while at work. – sevensevens Mar 24 '15 at 19:24
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You are applying for jobs that demand less - shall we say, a lot less - than the education you have. Should a prospective employer be concerned that you won't bail out on them once you land a job that's commensurate with your educational level and whose pay more closely matches the pay of those new hires that are in your field of study i.e. EE?

"i would love to work for your company" is not original - a jaundiced prospective employer would surmise that you said the same thing to the 49 employers you wrote before you wrote to him. And he also gets that pick-up line from many of the 200 candidates who apply for the position you are applying for. Nor, given your level of education, is your line coming across as overwhelmingly credible. You need to take head-on the issue of the disjoint between your education level and the skill level of the job you are qualifying for. Unless you make an argument to your prospective employer for why you want the job, and you make it credible and compelling in terms of your prospective employer's self-interest, your attempt to reach out is most probably toast. What should you say? Figure it out - After all, applying for this kind of job was your idea.

I could apply for a job at McD but given my background, my candidacy for the job would simply not be credible to a McD franchise owner. Employers want to know if you are going to perform well and whether you are going to stick around. Sure, the level of employee turnover in a shoe store is sky high - It is pretty rare for me to visit a shoe store and see the same faces four weeks later. However, you are asking a prospective employer to consider you, even as the prospective employer knows with almost clock work certainty that you are going to bail out on them. That's a tough sell.

I expect that in the last Great Recession, there were a ton of well educated individuals who were desperate for ANY job, given their financial situation. They never had a chance for the low skilled jobs because they could not make the argument that they were going to stick around with any kind of credibility.

Your chances of a successful candidacy are probably much better with jobs that are more demanding and that more closely match your educational level.

  • Thanks for the help. I know that. But in the current economy its hard to land a job that's more demanding without specific experience. And since i don't really have any experience those jobs are hard to land for me. These days there is always someone with equal education but more experience it seems. And i really a need a job to fill the gap until i have a serious job at my own level. – Elmer Mar 22 '15 at 14:56
  • Your chances of success are probably much better depending upn whether you are a recent graduate as a supervisor at say Duane Reade than as say a cashier there. But unless, you take care of your prospective employers' objections to hiring you, you won't have a chance. – Vietnhi Phuvan Mar 22 '15 at 15:05
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What you are doing is bad all around for your career. It is delaying you getting a better job because you are wasting time on jobs that you have a lower chance of getting than ones in your field. And if you got one, then that weill make your chances of getting a job in your field even lower because the longer you work at somethign else, the less relevant yoru degree is.

What you need to do is stop applying for those types of jobs and concentrate on professional jobs or jobs at companies where you have a path forward to a professional position where you can say that you wanted to get your foot in the door but want to move up to a junior engineer when you have the chance.

You also need to widen your scope of what professional jobs you want. You have two degrees and there should be something for one of them. Rememeber that with your qualifications there are many government jobs or jobs with government contractors that hire at entry level. You can look at project management type jobs, you can look at any entry level management job, but even there you are better off looking for ones in companies that do technical things rather than retail store manager. My first job out of school was for a local government planning council and I did grant applications for engineeriing projects. Your qualifications are perfect for such a thing and small town govenments need people like that and they don't pay well so they expect to get entry level, but better to start with a poorly paying professional job than as a waiter or food service person.

You need to look outside your geographic area. You need to look at industries that have the types of jobs you want and apply to any entry level jobs at those in the hopes that you can prove yourself as a good employee and move up to waht you are trained for. You should be considering jobs in alternative energy which is a field that is growing. Heck look at your local power company to see if there are any jobs. You need to be making professional contacts through volunteer work and tapping into the unadvertised market.

All in all you should expect to apply for several hundred professional positions before landing the first one (I graduated in a bad year economically and that is what I had to do), but you should concentrate your time only on the professional ones. Your time is better spent cold calling companies that have no advertised postions but are in an industry that has jobs like the one you want and making networking contacts than applying to work at McDonalds.

Right now companies are looking at entry level hiring because a new class is getting ready to graduate. Go to your university placement office and see if they can give you leads. They will help even after you have graduated.

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Of the thousands of companies, why are you picking the jobs you do? What skills do you have that would make it a good fit?

i would love to work for your company

This can get examined in terms of, "What would you do for us? Why would you like to do that? What would make it good for you?" as there are more than a few questions that can appear where the key here is to be able to show why this would be a good fit of being able to use your skills to improve the company on some level. Otherwise, are you wanting to answer, "Uh, you want people and I'm a person so it works, right?" which likely is going to sound ridiculous.

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