Resume vs. CV

I went to a great workshop this fall at my university that I’ll summarize here, as I thought other graduate students might be interested in this information as well. The Powerpoint presentation is available online if anyone would like to read more.


  Resume CV
Purpose Skills and abilities History, education, accomplishments
Type of positions Private sector, government, nonprofit Academia, federal government (PhD level)
Content Multiple documents tailored to specific positions Full list of qualifications
Structure Arranged chronologically and/or functionally, action verbs are key Organized by titles and accomplishments
Length 1-2 pages As long as needed

Tips for a Successful WE14

It is once again time for the annual conference. Honestly, it is one of my favorite conferences. I love getting to reconnect with friends from my undergrad section (Boiler Up!) and meeting people in-person with whom I’ve only corresponded via email or phone. There are so many inspiring people, too! Every year I come back to school re-energized and ready to keep going! But with so many sessions, and such a HUGE career fair, it can be quite daunting. Here are some tips and tricks from a seasoned SWE Conference veteran.

Also, remember the grad student related sessions listed in an earlier Blog post and don’t forget to RSVP to our first ever Grad Student Networking Reception!


Before Conference:

Career Fair –

  • Make sure to look at the list of exhibitors at the career fair and identify which companies you most wish to visit. Many of the bigger name companies will have long lines, and you’ll often wait for 20-30 minutes just to talk to a recruiter, so plan accordingly!
  • Print plenty of 1 page resumes, but also have printed some longer resumes with more detail in case of interview or recruiters want the extra information. As graduate students, we tend to have a lot more experience that recruiters like to see and read.
  • Make sure to bring a USB with resumes on it. Often at the conference there will be a business center where you can print off more resumes should you need them.
  • Make sure to pack a padfolio or folder to store your resumes with paper and a pen for writing notes.

Sessions –

  • Make sure to download the app or read through the sessions online and determine which sessions most interest you. You don’t have to completely decide which sessions you want to attend. What I typically do is identify which ones interest me, and see what I feel like at that time during the conference — or, if an interview comes up, or I need to go back to the career fair for any reason then my schedule is more flexible.
  • The app is useful because you can specifically save sessions you’re interested in, and have the list at your fingertips. The conference books get quite bulky after awhile, and you’ll most likely not want to haul your laptop around all day.


At the Conference:

Career Fair –

  • I suggest going to the companies you’re really interested in on the opening night. They’ll often start scheduling interviews right away.
  • Be ready to stand in lines! Also, make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes. The career fair is HUGE! Your feet will be very sore by the end of the day.
  • Have a bag ready for all the free swag items.
  • Bring a padfolio or folder to keep paper and your resumes in. You won’t want to have all your resumes out in front of a recruiter. Instead, while you are in line or before you get in line, take out a resume and have it ready.
  • Have your 20-30 second elevator pitch practiced. E.g. My name is Katharine and I’m an Aerospace Engineering PhD Candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. I’m interested in XYZ positions…
  • Be prepared for recruiters to ask you questions about your research and life as a graduate student. In my experience, talking to recruiters and interviewing as a PhD candidate is completely different than as a Bachelor’s candidate.
  • Make sure to go to the Hospitality Suites. This is a great way to get to know the recruiters on a more personal level — and potentially get interviews. Plus…free food!

Sessions –

  • That app will come in handy when you realize how big the conference is! Having the sessions you’re interested in stored on your phone will help you feel organized and not overwhelmed.
  • It’s common for people to sit through half a session and leave, or come into the session halfway through. While not necessarily proper etiquette, people are trying to make the most of the sessions and go to everything they can.
  • You’re not going to be able to make it to everything! It’s ok…really. Many sessions pop up at the region conferences, or at the next year’s conference.


After the conference:

  • Make sure to follow up with any contacts you made. Even a simple, “It was nice to meet you, thanks for your time!”
  • Fill out the surveys for helping to make sessions and conference better next year!
  • Reflect on how awesome of an experience it was!


What to wear:

  • Conference sessions tend to be fairly laid-back, but if you’re planning on attending the career fair throughout the day, it is best to dress up. While a full suit is not necessary, suit separates are definitely appropriate.
  • Dressy flats are a wonderful alternative to heels, especially with all the walking and standing you’ll do!
  • My advice is always to wear your hair back, or at least out of your eyes, so that you’re not messing with it while talking to recruiters.
  • Bring a nice bag for carrying your personal items around. Most years the conference give-away is such a bag, but there’s no guarantee. You don’t want to be trying to get a job and have a torn-up old bag around your shoulder.


Don’t forget:

  • Your phone charger! If you’re using the conference app, you’ll most likely drain your battery at some point throughout the day. Don’t forget to bring a wall charger, or if you have one, a portable charger.
  • Resumes!
  • If you wear nylons — don’t forget extra pairs! (also clear nail polish helps stop runs)


I hope those tips and tricks help reduce some of the uncertainty or overwhelming aspects of conference. Good luck, and I hope to see you at the grad student events!

We Need Your Help to Recognize Graduate Student Participation in SWE

We would like to recognize all the great ways in which graduate students participate in SWE during the Grad Student reception at WE14. Could you please take a moment to complete this form ( about how you participate in SWE as a graduate student. Also please post a picture (or more!) of graduate students doing SWE things in the comments of the Facebook post about this on the Grad SWE Community Group:  If you don’t have access to Facebook you can email to with the subject line “SWE Graduate Community” and it’ll go to a Picasa/Google+ album.  Thank you so much!

Graduate Students as Collegiate Members

Graduate Students as Collegiate Members

When many people think about how graduate students can be involved in SWE, they think of collegiate sections. Although graduate students can be professional members (as I discussed in August) the collegiate section is a great place for graduate students to get involved. Especially if a graduate student has never been involved in SWE before, the collegiate section may be her first experience with SWE, it is very important the all collegiate sections know that including graduate students should be one of their goals.

Let’s take this step by step.

Step 1: Making Contact with Graduate Students

Good News! Graduate students are a lot like undergraduate students; they like free food, they are interested in STEM and they are very busy.   Unfortunately they may also be very different. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Graduate students can feel disconnected from the campus culture, especially if they didn’t get their undergraduate degree at the same university. Many graduate students aren’t interested in the fun college traditions associated with your university. Don’t be surprised if you plan a fun event to watch the football game and no graduate students show up.
  • Graduate students often work “business hours”. If they are a RA or TA they may have to be on campus from 8:00 AM -5:00 PM (or much, much later) so when they are done, they want to go home! Some graduate students are parents so they aren’t going to stay late and eat pizza with you instead of making dinner for their children. Many groups have found that having lunch events attracts more graduate students.
  • Graduate students may not need help building a resume or dressing for an interview. They may have had a resume for 10+ years and have done hundreds of interviews.

So what do graduate students want? The best way to attract graduate students is to provide programming and services that they find valuable. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Many new women graduate students want to meet other women engineering graduate students. Women in graduate school in STEM are an even smaller minority than women in undergraduate programs. Simply by including the sentence “Graduate Students Welcome!” in your event announcements you will be making sure that graduate students know that you have thought about including them and they may assume that you already have some other graduate students attending. See if you can get one graduate student to be the “go-to” graduate student who will seek out the other graduate students and make friends.
  • Professional development. Graduate students might be interested in tips for writing NSF proposals, getting a postdoc position, preparing a tenure package, or negotiating salary and benefits. These topics may not appeal to undergraduate students but some may also be interested.
  • If you have a corporate recruiter coming to present, please make sure that they are prepared to answer questions about available positions for MS and PhD level candidates. Also, make sure that they are ready to answer the question “Do you sponsor employees for green cards?” Many graduate students are international students so if you only host companies that do not sponsor employees you are excluding them from that event.

f you are a graduate student and you are interested in SWE I would suggest these position with your section’s leadership.  The section may be very interested in having graduate student involvement but not know how to go about it.

Step 2: Getting Graduate Students Involved in Leadership

This is an easy step. Graduate students can be their own committee, the Graduate Committee, or act as Graduate Liaisons (if there isn’t quite enough participation for a whole committee) within the collegiate SWE section. The people in these positions would help plan events to be sure the needs of graduate students are being addressed. They may even plan some specific graduate targeted events.

Step 3: Graduate Group Structure

Many graduate groups work perfectly well as completely integrated parts of their collegiate section. However, if there is great graduate student involvement and the Graduate Committee is holding a lot of events then sometimes it feels like the graduate group is a separate group where undergraduates don’t attend the graduate events and graduate students don’t attend the regular events. Now what?

First, A University can’t have two SWE sections. The section is chartered to serve all students at the school. If the graduate students want to be part of SWE (and we want them to!), they will have to maintain a strong (and even subordinate) connection to the collegiate section. Ideally, there will be no need for any autonomy for graduate students.

However, graduate students may be able to be a separate university recognized organization. They can go through the process to be recognized as a graduate specific organization in the eyes of the university only. This may be helpful to get graduate student specific funding from within the university. They would still have to file the section report with the SWE collegiate section and all SWE correspondence would be through the official collegiate section.

A more active and autonomous graduate group may be beneficial to both undergraduate and graduate SWE members. When discussing graduate autonomy these are some points that both undergraduate and graduate students should keep in mind.

  • Graduate involvement is a priority for SWE right now so graduate specific events are very important.
  • Section leadership (elected and appointed positions) can and should be a mix of all student degree levels – 1st year thru postdoc
  • Graduate students and undergraduates often have different needs (as referenced above) when it comes to professional development so a semi-autonomous group may mean that both groups are better served.
  • There may also be some funding sources that a graduate group could use that an organization that is not specifically for graduate students may not be able to use and likewise, some funding cannot be used for graduate students.

A Note on Conflict:

More than one blossoming graduate group has encountered some conflict with their collegiate section leadership. This is often due to misunderstandings of what the grad group really wants. When dealing with collegiate section leadership please be sure to emphasize the following:

  • A lack of graduate specific programming is not going to result in more graduate participation in other types of programming- it will result in less graduate student involvement.
  • A Grad SWE group will always be a subordinate part of the University SWE Section.
  • Grad SWE may be able to provide mentors for an undergraduate mentorship program.
  • A “Should I go to Grad School?” presentation can be planned every year.
  • Grad students may be able to act as University “chaperones” for some off campus events.
  • Grad SWE members may be able to find their own separate funding and therefore not have to be budgeted for by the SWE section.

The decision to create a semi-autonomous graduate group should be made jointly by the collegiate section and graduate leaders and advisors. It shouldn’t be seen as a break, but as a “re-branding” to attract greater participation.

There is no one structure for a Grad SWE group within collegiate sections so I would encourage graduate students to figure it what works for them as part of the collegiate section leadership.

First Graduate Student Networking Reception

We are excited to announce the our first Graduate Student Networking Reception! The event will be hosted by Owens Corning and held on Friday October 24 from 5pm – 7pm in room LACC 405.

The event consists of a brief talk from an Owens Corning representative, highlights on the great work happening in the SWE graduate student community, and of course plenty of drinks and refreshments to fuel the great conversations with your fellow grad students.

Owens Corning Corporation is the world’s largest manufacturer of fiberglass and related products. Teresa Wagner is currently the Leader of Product Stewardship at Owens Corning, and she will discuss her career path and detail helpful hints for graduate students as we transition into industry. Owens Corning is actively looking for new hires. If you are interested, please send your resume to Joseph Eide at by Wednesday October 22nd. Joseph will be arranging interviews at WE14. Please indicate your specific engineering discipline on your resume. In addition to Teresa’s talk, there will a chance to speak one on one with both Teresa and Joseph during the reception to learn more. For additional information about Owens Corning, check out their website and for locations check out

So come and join us! The event is free to all attendees. Please RSVP here if you plan to attend.

It’s time to give ourselves a pat on the back for all our efforts over the past year!

Teresa Wagner Bio

profile picTeresa Wagner is the Leader of Product Stewardship at Owens Corning. She was named to this role in 2013, reporting to the OC Chief Sustainability Officer. This role encompasses leadership responsibility for insuring all new and significantly modified Owens Corning products are safe and environmentally sound to make, use and discard; and that the products perform as claimed. In addition to Product Stewardship, Teresa is responsible for Owens Corning’s Analytical Testing Services and Knowledge Resource Services.

Teresa joined Owens Corning in 1984 in the Glass Technology Department supporting the global Composites business. She has since held a variety of Science & Technology leadership roles in manufacturing support, process technology and product development. Prior to Product Stewardship, she focused on new glass fiber technologies and the proliferation of composites in the wind energy, consumer electronics and ballistics markets.

Teresa is a graduate of the Ohio State University with an MS degree in Ceramic Engineering. Teresa lives in Granville, Ohio, with her husband, Don and her “aspiring-to-be-an-engineer” daughter, Jenna.

Owens Corning Logo

List of Owens Corning Opportunities

Development Program Opportunities

Furnace Development Program

Manufacturing Leadership Program

Science & Technology Development Program:

Examples of Full Time Opportunities (Experienced Professionals post-grad)

Manufacturing Engineer (Gastonia, NC):

Manufacturing Engineer (Wabash, IN):

Spring 2015 CO-OP

Summer 2015 CO-OP

Science & Technology Internship:

Are You Ready for WE14?

October is here. Meaning WE14 is just around the corner! The annual conference, from October 23-25, is a great opportunity to meet up with old friends and make new connections. Each year, the conference provides quality programming that addresses all aspects of an engineer. More specifically, there many sessions tailored to the life of a graduate student, from applying to grad school to starting your career. Below is a list of graduate student related sessions. Also, check out the other sessions at the conference, particularly the keynote speakers and the ICWES sessions, which provide a unique look into the current topics of interest of engineers and scientists in the international community.

Registration is still open! Check out the WE14 website for information about registration, attendees, and the conference schedule.

Session Name Day/Time Location
Graduate School Member Meeting and Networking Thursday October 23, 2014

11:00am – 12:00pm

LACC, Concourse
ICWES Poster Session Thursday October 23, 2014

10:00am – 4:00pm

LACC, 403
How an Advanced Degree Can Help You Reach Your Career Goals Thursday October 23, 2014

1:30pm – 3:10pm

LACC, 502A
Fostering an Inclusive Environment for Graduate Students in a Growing Department – Lightening Talk Thursday October 23, 2014

1:30pm – 3:10pm

LACC, 502A
Funding Your Graduate Education – Lightening Talk Thursday October 23, 2014

1:30pm – 3:10pm

LACC, 502A
Science, Technology, & Public Policy – How policy intersects with engineering and how to get involved – Lightening Talk Thursday October 23, 2014

1:30pm – 3:10pm

LACC, 502A
Career Planning with MyIDP – Lightening Talk Thursday October 23, 2014

1:30pm – 3:10pm

LACC, 502B
Tips on Finding and Being a Mentor in Graduate School Thursday October 23, 2014

4:00pm – 5:00pm

LACC, 511A
Networking in Academic Settings Thursday October 23, 2014

4:00pm – 5:00pm

LACC, 505
Collegiate Technical Poster Competition Thursday October 23, 2014

6:00pm – 8:00pm

LACC, Lobby
Fellowship Opportunities for Academic and Research Projects in Engineering outside in the US Friday October 24, 2014

1:30 – 2:30pm

LACC, 505
Graduate Rapid Fire Session 1 Friday October 24, 2014

2:45 – 3:45

LACC, 505
Engineers in Informal STEM Education: From Casual Contributions to Careers Friday October 24, 2014


LACC, 501C
Preparing Powerful Application Essays Friday October 24, 2014

4:00pm – 5:00pm

LACC, 504
Graduate Networking Reception – hosted by Owens Corning Friday October 24, 2014

5:00pm – 7pm

LACC, 405
Effective Writing for Graduate Funding Saturday October 25, 2014

10:00am – 11:00am

LACC, 514
Strategies for Obtaining Your First Academic Position Saturday October 25, 2014

10:00am – 11:15am

LACC, 504
Graduate Rapid Fire Session 2 Saturday October 25, 2014

10:00am – 11:15pm

LACC, 502
Tips for Teaching in STEM Saturday October 25, 2014

1:30pm – 2:30pm

LACC, 505
Building Support Networks in Graduate School and Beyond Saturday October 25, 2014

1:30pm – 2:30pm

LACC, 503
Industry and Academia – You can do both Saturday October 25, 2014

1:30pm – 2:30pm

LACC, 405
Government Careers with Graduate Engineering Degree Saturday October 25, 2014

1:30pm – 2:30pm

LACC, 513
Fundamentals of the Academic Job Search Saturday October 25, 2014

1:30pm – 2:30pm

LACC, 514

SWE Graduate Community Live Google Hangout

The Live Google Hangout starts tonight at 7:30 PM CDT!

We will begin with some introductions and then some general info about SWE and graduate student involvement. Then there will be plenty of time for YOUR questions. You are welcome to leave your questions here in the comments or in the comments on Youtube.