Alumni Job Search Tips for a Successful 2016

Posted by Caitlin Joyce on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 at 2:09 PM PST

Dan Kelley-Petersen, ’02, ’15, is a double alumnus of Seattle University, a counselor and career advisor.  We sat down with Dan to get some job search tips that every alum should know to get 2016 started off on the right foot.

Dan worked in the Seattle University Center for Career Services from 2011-2015 and graduated from the College of Education’s Community Counseling program this past year. Recently, he started his own private practice called dkp counseling, PLLC. Dan’s practice is built around mental health and wellness with a specialization in career, grief, anxiety and depression.

We asked Dan how his time at Seattle University prepared him for his current role. “My experience working in the Center for Career Services was integral in my formation as a professional. The staff works tirelessly to bring support and career education for all Seattle University students. The program of study I chose formed me through an intense study of theory and history with many opportunities to practice and experience the impact of my work and Seattle University has instilled in me a desire to continue to seek the deeper places in all ways of thinking, acting, and reflecting,” he shared. 

Dan’s approach to career advising is focused around the individual and what makes him or her unique. “I am rewarded by helping others identify what is special about them so they can offer it to others through their work and relationships. I believe when we can let out what makes us shine, we can be successful in any endeavor we pursue.”

So what advice does Dan have for our alumni job seekers out there? Check out his answers to your career questions. 

What is the one piece of career advice all job seekers should know?

“All alumni should know the value of activating your own network when you are ready to find new employment. The people you know and the relationships you already have will go a long way in getting you an interview and a new opportunity. You are not alone in a job search.”

What can alumni do to rise above the competition and make recruiters take notice?

“Be authentic and make sure that you have done your research about the job and organization you want. It makes a difference when you know what work you are hopeful to do and the way in which the organization wants you to do it.”

What is a common misconception job searchers have?

“People often underestimate the power of a cover letter. Many open positions do not require a cover letter, but it can never hurt you to take the time to submit an additional document in your application that directly connects you with the job you want to have.”

How important is a strong LinkedIn profile?

“LinkedIn continues to be an important part of any job search to re-connect with previous co-workers and supervisors, as well as to do research on others in your field. It is another tool in the job search toolkit, and more and more, a successful job search depends somewhat on who you are connected to through LinkedIn and in your personal relationships.”

What’s the biggest mistake you see people making in the job search process?

“So much of the job search process is about communication and following up. I often see people stop communicating once a resume and cover letter have been submitted. Don’t leave your job search stalling at that point. Call and follow up on your application. It shows the hiring manager that you are invested in the process. Connect with alumni who work in the organization and check in with them about additional opportunities if the first one doesn’t work out.”

Dan says that it’s important for alumni to leverage Seattle University and its alumni network. “These are people who share an experience with you and are often willing to support you. We are connected in every industry throughout the country and the world. Together we are SU strong. Seattle University has a lot of great benefits for alumni job seekers and I hope alumni leverage the Alumni Association for their needs”

You can learn more about Dan and dkp counseling, PLLC online

To learn more about the Seattle University Alumni Association’s professional development offerings, visit the alumni website.