About the Backpack to Briefcase Series

PLEASE NOTE:

The Fall 2020 Backpack to Briefcase sessions will be held virtually.
Registration is required for all sessions.

In September and October, CEE presents a series of informational seminars geared towards preparing students for their transition to a professional workplace. This annual event features topics ranging from résumé preparation to salary negotiations and is an excellent opportunity for students to begin working towards a successful career. 

Details on the individual sessions and registration links are provided in the Session Guide below. To attend, click on the "Register" link to sign up. Registration for each session opens one week prior to that event. Note that participation is limited to current CEE students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus.

If you are an alumnus or company interested in participating or sponsoring a session, please contact Keely Ashman at kashman@illinois.edu or (217) 244-6804.

 

2020 Session Guide:


Tools & Tips for the Virtual Experience

Thursday, September 3
via Zoom
5:30pm - 6:30pm

CEE Alumni & Corporate Relations Coordinator, Keely Ashman, along with Engineering Career Services Lauren Stites, will talk about tips and tools for this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic: how to stand out in a virtual setting, how to prepare for virtual job fairs, and what platforms will be used by CEE and ECS.

REGISTER
Registration opens one week prior to session.

Watch the Tools & Tips for the Virtual Experience presentation (September 3, 2020)


CEE’s Résumé Review Night

Thursday, September 10
via Zoom
6:00pm - 8:00pm

Is your résumé ready for action? Find out during CEE's Résumé Review Night! The session will start with Dana Mehlman, CEE Alumni Association Board 2nd Vice President and Secretary, giving a short presentation about ways to craft a winning résumé and cover letter. Afterwards, you will be able to join a breakout room to meet one-on-one with alumni who will look over your résumé and offer suggestions for revision. 

REGISTER
Registration opens one week prior to session. 


Recruiters: What They Want to Hear

Thursday, September 17
via Zoom
5:30pm

In a competitive market, knowing how to stand out in a crowd can make the difference between landing an internship/job or having your résumé end up in the discard pile. A panelist of company recruiters will answer questions about the way COVID-19 is changing the job search process for companies and students, and how this new virtual model will affect recruiter/student engagement. As students register, they can submit questions for the recruiters to answer during the event.  

REGISTER
Registration opens one week prior to session.


Powering Through the Interview

Thursday, October 1
via Zoom 
5:30pm - 6:30pm

Interviews can be unnerving. Join CEE Alumni Association Board member Justin Lewis for a discussion on how to put the nerves to bed. The presentation is designed to explore the interview from both points of view: the employer’s and the prospective employee’s. Develop question answering strategies and skills that will help you leave a great impression on the interview team. Be sure to come with questions of your own.

REGISTER
Registration opens one week prior to session.

Download the 2020 Powering Through the Interview presentation (October 1, 2020)


Negotiating Salary and Job Benefits

Thursday, October 8
via Zoom 
5:30pm - 6:30pm

Paula Pienton, VP for T.Y. Lin International and CEEAA President, will focus on an often-overlooked aspect of one’s career: workplace negotiation. Learn about common pitfalls of workplace negotiation, how men and women negotiate differently, and how you can translate communication skills into an increased salary and better benefits. 

REGISTER
Registration opens one week prior to session.

Download the 2020 Negotiating Salary and Job Benefits presentation (October 8, 2020)


What to Expect in the Workplace

Thursday, October 15
via Zoom 
5:30pm - 6:30pm

Making the transition from school to a professional workplace can be intimidating. In this seminar, learn how to adapt to the workplace as an intern or new hire. The panel discussion, led by CEE Alumni Association Board member Dan Whalen, brings together CEE alumni and Alumni Association board members working in a variety of private fields such as consulting, design, and construction, as well as public sector municipalities and governmental agencies, to discuss their own personal working environments and conditions. The panel will be answering questions regarding the way the new virtual model will change the way new employees will begin at companies and what CEE students can expect. As students register, they can submit questions for the alumni to answer during the event.

REGISTER
Registration opens one week prior to session.


International Career Search Success

Thursday, October 22
via Zoom 
5:30pm - 6:30pm

Searching for a job after graduation is a daunting task for all students. Added to an already stressful process, international students also have to be aware of visa policies, CPT/OPT options and legal obligations, all while selling themselves to a potential job opportunity. Come hear a brief presentation from a representative from ISSS about visa policies and CPT/OPT options. Then hear three CEE alumni talk about their international career search journeys and successes. 

For official university of Illinois OPT, CPT, STEM and H-IB information please visit the following ISSS sites:
   For CPT: http://isss.illinois.edu/students/employment/f1cpt.html
   For OPT information: http://isss.illinois.edu/students/employment/f1opt.html
   For STEM: http://isss.illinois.edu/students/employment/f1_optext.html

REGISTER
Registration opens one week prior to session.


Nurturing Your New Career

Thursday, October 29
via Zoom 
5:30pm - 6:30pm

You have a knockout resume that has been reviewed, critiqued and polished. You know what the recruiters want to hear. You made it through the interviewing process unscathed. You got a job offer and successfully negotiated an acceptable salary and benefits. You know what to expect when you start your new job. But do you know how to turn that new job into a meaningful lifetime career? In this final session of the Backpack to Briefcase Series, members of the CEE Alumni Association Young Engineers Division will talk about how to nurture and enhance your career to achieve ongoing success and happiness. We will explore the importance of ongoing networking, continuing education, involvement in trade associations, involvement in your community, and how to handle the stress of balancing your career with all of the other aspects of your life.

REGISTER
Registration opens one week prior to session.


 

Videos of the Fall 2019 sessions: 

 

Putting Together a Knockout Resume:

 

Recruiters – What They Want to Hear:

Resume Review Night:

 

Powering Through the Interview:

Evaluating and Negotiating a Job Offer:

 

What to Expect in the Workplace:

Recruiting: Percepetions vs. Reality:

 

Nurturing Your New and Exciting Career: