Hillary U shares her career path with students


Hillary U ('10, Culture, Literature & the Arts; Society, Ethics & Human Behavior) is a Seattle-based business professional, specializing in strategic communications, nonprofit management and social media. Past experience includes work at PACCAR Inc. and the University of Washington.  Currently, Hillary is a Communications Specialist at Alaska Airlines, supporting the Airport Operations & Customer Service Division. She is also a founding member and the Executive Director of Bright New Day, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, committed to the individual and social change necessary to support women, who are or have been incarcerated, to live healthy and fulfilling lives. In addition to her professional work, Hillary is also very involved in her community, serving on the board of directors for Camp Fire Central Puget Sound and as the editor of the Wedgwood View, a neighborhood blog.

Photo of Hillary U with students
Hillary U (center) with students

Hillary met with students to share her career path and lessons learned along the way.  As a freshman, Hillary entered UW Bothell determined to be a journalist, but quickly found herself exploring a wide-array of writing and communication careers.

As a student, Hillary served as a tutor in the Writing and Communication Center and as a student assistant to the Public Relations team.  This professional experience, in addition to internships, helped expand her writing repertoire and professional options. For example, in her current role as a Communications Specialist at Alaska Airlines, Hillary supports 8,000+ employees and vendors with an array of communications plans focused on everything from emergency protocols to company-wide initiatives.

Hillary offered students potent, real-time advice, such as:

  • Seek out internships. They develop your skills base, expand your network, and may lead to employment.
  • Job searches require great effort and perseverance. Fully commit and be ruthless!
  • Interdisciplinary education is an asset. Employers are seeking a diverse workforce and employees who can think broadly.
  • Get the hiring manager’s attention by writing a “pain letter,” a cover letter that identifies the employer’s biggest problem and how you, if hired, plan to solve it.
  • Maximize your online presence. Use LinkedIn every day. Highlight your top skills and keep your profile general enough to attract wide opportunities.

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