Networking is key to a successful career. If allows you to climb the corporate ladder, find new jobs, and navigate your career. College is an excellent time to start networking, since established engineers can help you find internships and jobs while providing career guidance. SWE is a great way to expand your network. With tens of thousands of members though, where do you start?
Your peers are a valuable resource. Go to SWE socials, volunteer events, and showcases to meet other students who share your goals and interests. Upperclassmen can tell you how they got internships and how to survive classes, which is invaluable.
SWE also gives you access to local engineering professionals. Host a joint event or volunteer alongside them. Many professional SWE sections enjoy working with local collegiate sections, so contact your local section. Invite professionals to your sections events, especially professional development events like resume workshops. And don’t forget conferences! I’ve met professionals from around the country at conferences. Don’t be afraid to sit with new people at lunches, especially those sponsored by a company. They are there to meet the engineers of tomorrow!
Once you meet someone, don’t let them slip away. Connect with them on LinkedIn or- write them a thank you email. If you see them at another conference, be sure to day hi!
How do you network?
As we enter the last quarter of the school year, it comes time to elect new SWE leaders, both for sections and regions. The question now is how to keep your section going strong with the programs from this year as leaders graduate or move to different roles.
There are a few ways to help with a smooth leadership transition, and it varies by between sections and years. In deciding how to handle the change, your section needs to think about how many leaders are leaving, how many new faces will be on leadership, and whether your section is looking to expand or stay similar. Here are some ideas to help make this year’s transition a smooth one:
- Hold a CLCC event. The Collegiate Leadership Coaches offer multiple helpful sessions for transitions, such as Building Teams, Leadership, Strategic and Tactical Planning, and SWE Officer Training. Read about the modules here, and contact our Region B CLCC lead, Susie Kirkland, at email@example.com.
- Have your current leaders write a packet about what they do and some helpful hints about how to best handle the job
- Hold a planning party! Get all of the current and future leadership together and create a plan for next year. Layout which events you want to do, what kind of improvements you want to do, and then break up into pairs (new and current president, new and current treasurer, ect) to go over the ins and outs of the coming year.
These are only a few ways your section can handle transitions.
How does your section handle transitions? What has worked for you in the past?
At the end of this month, we will be having a great weekend in San Luis Obisbo at this year’s Region B Conference! Region conferences are an exciting time for everyone and are packed full of energy. You can meet collegiates and professionals from Southern California, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Southern Nevada. There’s a career fair, sessions and amazing speakers. And don’t forget the Region Collegiate Meeting, where we will go over all of the region business, introduce the RCT candidates, and give out region awards for points!
- A career fair with regional companies (so far, 17 companies)
- A NEW resume workshop on Friday before the networking social. We will have plenty of professional engineers to review your resumes and help you perfect them for the career fair. Be sure to take advantage of this awesome opportunity!
- Three keynotes over the meals, and awards with dinner. Awards will be announced and winners emailed out in the next week.
- 6 session, with 4-5 speaker rooms per session, with topics wide and far.
Check out the Region B website for the detailed schedules.
There is still time to apply for the Region History award, which is a scrapbook page on section history.
We have recently added more rooms at the conference hotel for $199. However, the planning committee is looking into working with other nearby hotels to offer better rates.
While the deadline for region awards has passed, now if the time to start thinking about applying for national awards. SWE offers individual, section, and region awards. You can read all of the award descriptions and exact details at swe.org/awards. These will be handed out at WE15. Some award winners will be announced early (and published in SWE magazine), but others are kept secret until Celebrate SWE!
Individual awards are due March 31st. There are 18 total individual awards, and collegiates are eligible for the Collegiate Members awards, of which up to 10 are awarded nationally. Collegiates can also nominate their counselor and faculty adviser for awards.
You can read the details of the Collegiate awards in this file, but here are the basics of the individual award:
- Complete the online application off the SWE website
- A 1250 word formal statement
- A photo and short biography
- 2-3 letters of support
- A verification of academic standing
Individual members can also submit technical posters for competition.
Entire sections can also win awards, for overall excellence or for specific programs. These are due July 1st.
In what catagories can sections win?
- Outstanding Collegiate Section/Outstanding New Collegiate Section – Due May 31
- Outreach Programs/Events
- Professional Development Programs/Events
You can download the award packets separately for each catagory on the website above, when they are posted for the current financial year (FY15).
Tips and Tricks
- Start early. That gives you lots of time to work on your packet and get lots of input.
- Read ALL of the requirements. That way you won’t be scrambling for a last minute letter of recommendation.
- Since the section award instruction aren’t out yet, keep events fresh by writing summaries of them and holding on to survey results, pictures, and other notes.
- Edit! Make sure your spelling and grammar aren’t the reason that you lose out on an award.
It’s winter break, and we sit at home, post-Christmas, ready for a break from family and find ourselves without homework or other engineering to do. So, what can you do to improve yourself over break and to further yourself as an engineer?
- Practice that foreign language you learned in high school. Apps like Duolingo provide great practice and vocabulary review. In our increasingly global world, another language can give you a leg up on the competition.
- Apply for internships. Many of the companies that didn’t have applications up in the fall release them in early January.
- Update and polish your resume or CV. Check out your school’s career service’s site for tips. Make sure to tweak your resume for each company you apply to, to show that you are a good candidate for the job.
- Never interviewed before? Take advantage of after Christmas sales to expand your professional wardrobe.
- Plan events for your SWE section. With your classmate’s free time over break, this provides enough time to hammer out ideas for outreach or professional development events.
- Prepare for next semester by relaxing. Take time to destress and enjoy your time off. Rejuvenate and be ready for a fresh start for spring or winter semester.
Have a great winter break!
Outreach is an important part of SWE. In SWE’s strategic goals, outreach can fall under both Professional Excellence and Advocacy. Through outreach, we develop girls as future engineers, and we advocate for them to gain the confidence and skills they need to become engineers.
There are many different forms of outreach, and outreach can be tailored to your section’s abilities and desires. Some outreach activities require only a few members and minimal supplies, while others are massive undertakings for scores of girls. Nevertheless, Outreach is important to SWE sections, and is a wonderful way to inspire girls to pursue science and technology!
- Work with the Girl Scouts in your area – visit a troop, hold a patch workshop
- Help out a Lego League team – these teams need an “expert” to help them design their idea for the competition. offer to teach SolidWorks, or to help them program something. They also have to build and program a robot and are always looking for more adults
- Visit a classroom
- Host some high school girls and bring them to college classes
- Have a leadership in STEM event for high school girls – show them how engineers are leaders
- Volunteer to judge a science fair
Got more ideas? Share them in the comments.
Tips to Outreach:
- Divide and conquer – involve as many members as you can in both planning and executing
- Hands-on – the best way to engage girls is a hands-on activity, something they can do and understand STEM
- Allow creativity – instead of a perfectly pre-designed activity, let girls design something and test it
- Competition – if you are making something that moves or accomplishes a goal (Rocket Cars, egg drops, towers, bridges), let the girls have a friendly competition. You don’t even need prizes, just have fun!
If you do any outreach, be sure to log them in SWEeter futures. We have a region goal of reaching 25000 grls this fiscal year. The sections with the most Outreach can win grants for their section to do even more Outreach! First place is $1500, second is $1000, and third is $500.
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This month’s hot topic is the buzz about annual conference: WE14!
What is annual conference? Annual conference is a society-wide SWE meeting. It includes a career fair, hundreds of talks and presentations, socials, dinners, and more. It’s a great chance to network, to find that job or internship you’ve been dreaming of, and to learn tons of new information, from outreach goals to technical tips.
This year, annual conference will be held in Los Angelos, October 22-23. WE14 will kick off with the iScream social, with a costume contest and Halloween treats. Thursday is chock full of sessions and awesome opportunities, include the collegiate welcome lunch, the region meetings, the opening ceremony, and the career fair kick-off. Friday continues with even more sessions, the career fair in full swing, and the collegiate leaders reception. Saturday marks the last day of the conference, with more sessions, the WE14 outreach event – Invent It, Build It, the collegiate leadership luncheon, the SME bowl, and Celebrate SWE, including the free post-dinner dance party!
Why should you go to WE14?
- The Career Fair – hundreds of companies looking to hire female engineers, for internships and jobs. There is also a career center on site, for resume tips and free printing.
- The hundreds of awesome sessions. These sessions are a great way to spark your interest and excitement about SWE. Learn tons about all aspects of engineering, from leadership seminars by industry leaders to interactive sessions with the CLCC, from SWE membership tips to technical talks on the newest engineering projects.
- The networking. With thousands of SWE members from all around the nation and world, you will meet hundreds of people who share your interest. It’s a great way to meet professionals and collegiates.
- The excellent keynotes. With every luncheon and reception having a keynote, the speakers inspire you to leadership, excellence, and embracing engineering
How do I go to WE14?
- You can get to LA by plane, train or automobile. Airport: LAX. Interstates: I5, I15 and I10. Trains: Amtrak.
- There any tons of hotels surrounding the conference center. WE14 even has special hotels designated for conference attendees here. Additionally, section presidents can stay in special housing. Sections received an email about this housing earlier this year.
- LA has an extensive metro and bus system. There are also multiple shuttle options that go to and from the airport, and LA also has taxi services.