About the Backpack to Briefcase Series

PLEASE NOTE:

Sessions for Fall 2021 are currently planned to be held virtually via Zoom, but the schedule may change to in-person format. The session schedule below will be updated as information changes. Make sure to note the location of each session when you register to attend.

Registration for each event opens one week prior to the event date.

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.

 

2021 Session Guide:


Tips and Tricks for the Virtual Experience

Thursday, September 2
via Zoom
5:30pm - 6:30pm

Keely Ashman, Assistant Director of CEE Alumni & Corporate Relations, along with Engineering Career Services' Lauren Stites, will talk about tips and tools for standing out in a virtual setting, preparing for virtual job fairs, and what platforms will be used by CEE and ECS for upcoming job fairs.


Recruiters: What They Want to Hear

Thursday, September 9
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. Recruiters will discuss the things they look for during their brief time with each prospective employee during job fairs. Presentation will be in panel format: representatives from different companies will answer prepared questions, and students will have the opportunity to ask their own.  


CEE’s Resume Review Night

Tuesday, September 14
via Zoom
5:30pm - 8:00pm

Bring your résumé to this review night and find out if it's ready for action. The session will start with Dana Mehlman, CEE Alumni Association Board member and Chair of Student Support Committee, giving a presentation about ways to craft a winning résumé and cover letter. Afterwards, you will be able to meet one-on-one with alumni who will look over your résumé and offer suggestions for revision. This event is a great way to prepare yourself for the CEE fall job fair and the Engineering Expo.

REGISTER
Registration opens one week prior to session. 


Powering Through the Interview

Thursday, September 30
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.


Negotiating Salary and Job Benefits

Thursday, October 7
via Zoom 
5:30pm - 6:30pm

Paula Pienton, CEE Alumni Association 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. Stay for a meet and greet with Paula after the discussion.

REGISTER
Registration opens one week prior to session.


What to Expect in the Workplace

Thursday, October 14
via Zoom 
5:30pm - 6:30pm

Making the transition from school to a professional workplace can be intimidating. Come learn how to adapt to the workplace as an intern or new hire. This 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. Panelist will share advice on how to match your personality with workplace expectations and how to position oneself for career advancement.

REGISTER
Registration opens one week prior to session.


International Career Search Success

Thursday, October 21
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. The team at Mott MacDonald is knowledgeable in the art of sponsoring F1 Visa employees, and will help you navigate the tricky waters to a successful job search. Learn tips and tricks during a short presentation by CEE alumni and current CEEAA Board Member, Michael Vitale, followed by a panel discussion with Mott MacDonald’s CEE International alumni. 

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 28
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.