8 yrs since graduation with no experience; job opportunities?

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John in Portales, New Mexico

48 months ago

I graduated from college in 2003 with a B.S. in Engineering with Civil Specialty. Upon graduation I commissioned into the USAF in an aviation capacity that required a long term commitment. That commitment will be up in a little over a year and I've started to weigh my options. I want to move on to something else as my job, although amazing, no longer challenges me and I feel that ~10yrs of service is sufficient to repay the debt I felt I owed when I commissioned.

I'm not sure I want a desk job yet, but one of my options is to utilize my degree and get into the engineering field. Upon graduation from college I took and passed the EIT but if I were to try to take the exam again at this point I would fail catastrophically. I've forgotten most of the high level math that I learned through school. I still remember all the basic science/physics principles that apply, but detailed, by hand, engineering analysis would escape me.

I graduated from a prestigious institution with a 3.29 that put me in the top 5% of the graduating class and will have 10yrs of work experience with supervisory/managerial positions included, but I honestly can't offer much to an employer in terms of applicable technical skill at the moment. The only marketable takeaway that I will have is a Top Secret - SCI security clearance but beyond functioning as a indication of character I don't know how prevalent the need for a security clearance is in the Civil Eng. field.

Would I be competitive for an entry level job with a 10yr gap in engineering related experience?

If not, what should I pursue to make myself competitive? I've considered getting a Masters via the G.I. bill to show that my knowledge has been refreshed prior to applying for work in the field. However, if I could find employment with my current status I'd prefer to do that first and make sure I'll be satisfied in the engineering field for a few years before I pursue a Masters.

Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.

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tada in Seattle, Washington

48 months ago

Your experience in the air force is very valuable especially concerning your specialty in aerospace engineering. You might have much better chance landing a decent job than many other veterans trying to enter in the civilian workforce. However, from my observation there is some major discrimination against veterans in the civilian sector due to politics and war. To tell you the truth, many civilians don't view us with much regard unless you live in one of those conservative areas. Even for federal jobs, we are not much of ticket. They will give you 5 point veteran's points toward your rating though. It sucks that we veterans ended up holding the bag in this stagnant economy. The unemployment rate for veterans is soaring (it's about 25%). Most of the stuff you've done in the military often times is not applicable in the civilian workforce. If you end up having trouble finding a decent job, use your GI bill to get an MBA. Also do your rest of 12 in the reserve and get your retirement later.

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