Internships, networking and a well-written résumé.
The advice possibly isn’t too surprising, but alumni and staffers at the University of Washington, Bothell, say those are among the key things needed to help land that challenging, well-paying job you’ve been looking for even in a rough economy.
The UW-Bothell helped host the university’s 10th annual Career Discovery Week Jan. 26-30.
With more than 50 corporate sponsors, Career Week was held at all the UW campuses, but the Bothell version featured some 21 seminars, panel discussions and networking events.
Topics ranged from the impact of Master of Business Administration degrees to student involvement.
During an alumni business panel, UW-Bothell graduates all said they took different paths to their current positions with big-name local companies such as Microsoft and Boeing.
Now a procurement specialist with Boeing, Philip Noll said he had been jumping from one job to the next, working retail and security before deciding to get serious about his future. He spent a few years at a community college, then transferred to UW-Bothell.
Noll’s first piece of advice for anyone, young or old, going to school? Get to know the folks in the school’s career-services office.
“I utilized them a ton,” he said.
Noll stated the UW-Bothell career office specifically helped him with his resume, which he thought going in was pretty well-done.
“(They) politely told me it was (unsatisfactory),” he said.
The office also helped him gain an internship at Boeing, one that led directly to his current job, which he said involves working with some of the best engineers in the world.
Noll also advised students and other job seekers to learn to work in a team environment and pad that resume with outside and extracurricular activities.
“Don’t be afraid to knock on someone’s door,” said Eliece Colbert, a recent UW-Bothell grad now working for a local real-estate firm. She advised listeners that they might be surprised how many CEOs are willing to talk to students and job seekers. Colbert said she went on informal, informational interviews, one of which led to her current position.
For an arts-and-sciences discussion, Seattle Police Capt. Neil Low, perhaps not surprisingly, talked about the importance of writing skills.
Low is the author of a new mystery novel, “Thick as Thieves,” but said mastering the written word is an important skill for many positions. Like others, Low also mentioned getting involved outside of work and school. During interviews, he said job seekers can’t just talk about what they do 9 to 5.
“We like to see what your life experiences are,” added alumnus Ernest Kandilige, who has a background in human resources, but now works as a learning specialist for a major manufacturer.
In addition to Noll, virtually all of the panelists talked about how internships can open doors. At least one current student pointed out many attending UW-Bothell also work full time and can’t afford to quit these day jobs in favor of an unpaid internship.
For his part, Kandilige was sympathetic and said work and life experience can substitute, adding going to school and working full time is not easy and demonstrates discipline and commitment.
For her part, alumni panelist Andrea Blanken said she very reluctantly gave up a paying job at a museum for an internship and said it was one of the best decisions she ever made.
Blanken is now corporate relations manager for the Pacific Science Center.