I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
We need to speak more personally today. Because if you are a recent graduate entering the marine engineering workforce, finding a job is an intensely personal task. And with the market conditions for the offshore and maritime industry, it is also an extremely difficult task. I’m sorry, but you will need to get creative and search for uncommon job opportunities. Today we discuss how to find a job when no one is hiring.
First, we need to establish a few emotional facts.
When the main resources return no jobs, you must get creative and search for uncommon opportunities.
First the obvious. You may not know which job boards list marine engineering jobs. We are a small industry, easily missed if you don’t know where to look. Here are the main locations I search for maritime engineering jobs, with consistent success.
I definitely recommend sending your information to recruiters. Many companies cannot afford to advertise their job openings and spare the time screening resumes. So, they contract that task to a professional recruiter. These recruiters specialize in finding jobs, including many jobs that are not publicly listed. Recruiters are almost as numerous as consultants. One way to cast a wide net: focus on building an awesome LinkedIn profile. Almost all recruiters search on LinkedIn. Here are just a few recruiters that I worked with in the past.
The downside to recruiters: the hiring firm typically pays them based on your starting salary. Unfortunately, that means recruiters focus on more senior positions that can attract a higher commission for them. But if the recruiters show no interest, you can always market to the companies directly.
Many of the smaller companies cannot afford to advertise their openings on the job boards (the job boards charge a fair amount). So, those openings will only be listed on the company website, or through recruiters. Sometimes, the right person drops a resume before the company even advertises the job opening. Don’t get discouraged if they claim no job openings. The best way to investigate these firms is to check them out one at a time (a daunting task, I know). Send in your resume with a nice cover letter, and maybe you can be the right person who called at the right time.
But to submit a resume, you fist need to locate the companies. Unfortunately, there is no one location of where to find all these consultants. But one of the best lists I found is located on the website for GHS. Almost all marine consultants in the USA use GHS for hydrostatics software. Consequently, the software website has a fairly comprehensive list of companies. You can find the list on their website:
They have lists for Marine Engineers, Marine Surveyors, Naval Architects, and much more. This is a great place to start checking companies.
Several of the engineering software companies require support engineers. This is not your mass-produced Microsoft Office. Engineering software is advanced, expensive, and comes with extensive support contracts. The software firms need engineers to provide that support. From my experience, the companies that support advanced analysis like CFD and FEA do show a preference for PhD degrees. But don’t let that stop you from applying.
Many civil engineering firms do coastal engineering (breakwaters, mooring facilities, commercial piers, etc.). For these projects, they need an ocean engineer. Someone to help them understand the forces of marine hydrodynamics. There is some overlap between a naval architect and an ocean engineer. But these companies usually prefer the ocean engineer degree. I don’t have an extensive list of civil engineering companies. Here are a few that I can think of.
If all else fails, you may want to consider delaying entry into the workforce. More university time is probably not your favorite option, especially considering tuition. But consider this. The current depression for the marine and offshore industries is nothing new. There are decades of historical evidence to suggest this is just part of the normal business cycle for the marine industry. Which means that in one to two years, market demand will pick up and many of these companies will once again start hiring. Depend on it.
When the hiring starts again, how will you distinguish yourself from the competition? Your technical degree is impressive, but remember that everyone has similar degrees. But what about the human skills? Business management, finance, marketing. All these skills are part of the overall company structure, and even more essential when emerging from a depression. Consider coupling your engineering degree with another degree in one of these fields.
I know that job hunting seems difficult, and depressing. Truth is that you will have a difficult time ahead. But let me leave you with a positive thought. You already know how to handle challenges. You spent the last several years working through university. Whether you are first or last in the class, university required you to learn, grow, and face new problems. This is just another challenge, and you can rise to overcome it. You are a stronger person, armed with valuable skills and knowledge. Even without a job, you are now a professional and a member of the maritime community. Welcome.