Hot Topics

March Hot Topic: Transitioning from Collegiate to Professional

Ok, so yes, it is APRIL and I am finally now posting March’s Hot Topic.  I was having a lot of trouble coming up with an idea for this topic, because I have yet to go through this transition from collegiate to professional.  However, two of my good friends that I have met in SWE have gone through this transition in the past few years, and I feel that their advice is some of the best that I can offer – especially because they were faced with a difficult job market to transition into.  Below are messages from Amy Jo Bowdridge, the Region B Region Collegiate Senator, and from Martha Addison, the current Collegiate on the SWE Board of Directors.  Their comments were taken from the Region B blog.

Dear Collegiates,

I have recently gone from collegiate to couch bum to professional. Although I have to say I loved the couch period, it was also super scary not knowing if I was going to find a job anytime soon.

Make sure to use your contacts, SWE is about networking. Also use your contacts through school. The job I was just hired for was based on a recommendation from a professor I had. These contacts you have made will have no problem passing on a resume or telling you who to talk to. Just remember to thank them properly after!

If you’re in that middle stage, don’t just sit around thinking that people are going to find you. Keep applying everyday! EVERYDAY! And for more then just one job a day. I know it gets boring and annoying but it’ll only give you more options later. Also start applying now, while you’re still in school, avoid the couch time and have that job lined up when you graduate.

My last piece of advice is for when you get the interview. Create a portfolio with abstracts of your projects and things you’ve been involved with. Put your resume on steroids. Take this to your interview and give them something more to pull questions from. It also shows your presentations skills and helps them remember you over the other people being interviewed. If anyone would like to view mine please email me, I would be happy to send it to you.

Good luck!

-Amy Jo Bowdidge
Region B Collegiate Senator

Dear Collegiates,

Like Amy Jo I recently went for college to career. Honestly, it is still going on. I feel torn a lot of time. I know and feel comfortable around collegiates but at the same time want to be viewed as a “professional”. Sometimes it feels like I am doing a split.

So first I will tell you a little about my transition. I graduated from the University of Alabama and moved to Los Angeles, California! Talk about a change! I leaned a lot on a SWE contact, Erin McGinnis, the current Director of Membership. In fact she was one of two people I knew in LA when I moved here. She was great about introducing me to coworkers and also friends. I can not imagine going through this without her. I encourage you to get to know people through out the US and in various career stages because you don’t know what the future holds. Trust me, I never thought I would live in Cali, let alone LA! YIKES!

Sometimes I wonder when I will no longer feel like I am in a transition. When I feel like this life I am living, one as a proffesional, will feel like my life. In the meantime, I am soaking up the moments and the experiences and often lean on my SWEsters for guidance on doing that.

Feel free to contact me about transitioning in SWE and in life, because it is truly an experience!

Martha Addison
Collegiate Board Representative FY10

If any collegiates or professionals have additional suggestions regarding transitions, please leave some comments!

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