Transitioning from Collegiate to Professional

Now this is something that everyone gets to look forward to, whether it be at the end of this semester or in two years. And sometimes, it can be a scary thing if you don’t know what lies ahead of you.

There are only a few things I can mention with this transition since I have yet to experience it:

Stay involved with SWE. SWE is all about networking. It is a backbone of strength, a support system, an opportunity for leadership, and even a means to a job. For membership, I believe there’s an option for transitioning collegiate; so take advantage of it. Also, there is an online database for you to place your resume on and this should definitely be taken advantage of it.

The biggest thing I want people to remember is to use the resources you have. The people you have met, whether through SWE, another professional organization, or through your school, can give you connections you never knew you could have. All it comes down to in the end is not what you know but who you know. So, take advantage of the professional contacts you have gained over the years while applying for jobs.

I would definitely like to keep this as an ongoing discussion since I can’t really give advice from the other side. So, I am asking both collegiates and professionals to give input on this difficult yet necessary point in life.


3 thoughts on “Transitioning from Collegiate to Professional

  1. 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.

    I have to completely agree with Amanda, 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

  2. 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
    CBR FY10

  3. Martha and Amy Jo,

    Both of you offered EXCELLENT advice for collegiates! I have posted your comments on Region G’s Blog (giving both of you and the Region B Blog credit for your ideas, of course) because I would love to share your experiences with other collegiates that are in similar positions of job searching and moving far from home!

    I hope that both of you have been doing well! 🙂

    Karin Bodnar
    FY09, FY10 Region G RCCE
    FY11 Region G RCS

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