Career services expanded to 2 years for alumni

Kim Wilson and Jesse KentBy Douglas Esser
After returning to college and earning an electrical engineering degree from the University of Washington Bothell last August, James Bassett sent out 50 applications throughout the United States. He garnered only two interviews in return.

Photo: Kim Wilson, left, conducts a mock interview with Jesse Kent, a health studies major graduating in June. (Marc Studer photo)

“It was a very frustrating, humbling experience,” Bassett says.

James BassettBonnie MonteleoneAfter one job prospect fell through in December, he contacted UW Bothell Alumni Services. Bassett, right, was pleased to discover that one-on-one career services for alumni have been expanded beyond a quarter after graduation to two years. Bassett received personal guidance from Kim Wilson, assistant director of career services, and Bonnie Monteleone, left, career counselor.

“We changed the resume to highly target each employer. Using some online tools to keyword match the resume to the job description, each resume was fine-tuned to optimize its chances.  Within a month, I had more interview requests than I could handle,” Bassett said.

In addition to the resume help, Bassett received tips writing cover letters and went through several rounds of mock interviews. The UW Bothell career professionals prepared Bassett for the behavioral portion of the interviews and suggested strategies for handing the technical portion. They also helped with salary negotiations.

In February, Bassett started work at a Seattle-area company that matched his engineering qualifications in audio electronics and passion as a casual musician. The 49-year-old Everett man has a new perspective on finding the right job.

“I don't think a single resume for any job works anymore. Job-hunting requires a targeted, almost scientific approach. Unless you've been successful at this approach in the past, I'd strongly encourage graduates to take advantage of the services offered by UW Bothell Career Services,” Bassett says.

Kim Wilson“James is a good example of somebody who thought the resume was working well and then realized it wasn’t,” says Wilson, the assistant director.

One-on-one services for alumni were expanded in January to two years to better serve graduates in a changing work world of evolving careers, she says.

“Within those first two years is a critical time of positioning and finding something that’s the right fit,“

Wilson says. “Now we were able to say, ‘Yes, come in as many times as you want. We’ll help you through what the process is. There’s no fee.’”

It’s a valuable benefit for alumni. Personal career counseling from a private professional typically costs about $150 an hour. All alumni – even after two years – have access to UW Bothell’s online job listings, career tips and development events such as workshops and career fairs.

Kim Wilson, Zakira AliThe UW Bothell Career Services office is also being careful to preserve time to serve current students. In the month of January, the four career counselors and 5 student peer advisers had a total of 258 appointments for 165 clients. And of those, 21 appointments were for alumni, Wilson says.
Career services give students and alumni confidence to succeed.

Photo: Kim Wilson advises Zakira Ali, above right, one of UW Bothell’s first bachelor of education students who is considering graduate school and other options after she graduates in June. (Marc Studer photo)

“What I truly hope in our commitment to student success is that we are helping to create a very engaged workforce where students aren’t just coming out and finding the first job, but they’re finding something fulfilling that also matches up with their values and life goals. That’s where I think we make a difference,” Wilson says.