ASK a Logger: How To Get a Job

Tom Perry ’98 shares tips on navigating the current job market

Tom Perry ’98, a history major while attending Puget Sound, spent much of his professional life in positions related to hiring within the tech industry. Now, he’s is a professional career coach at Engaged Pursuit in Seattle, where he works with a variety of clients, including new graduates navigating life after college. 

Perry shared his perspective on the current job market and tips for navigating unexpected changes in a recent installment of Career and Employment Services’ ASK a Logger career Q&A video series. His advice for current students and recent grads included one tip all Loggers can benefit from, no matter where they are in their job search.

Tom Perry ’98
Professional career coach Tom Perry ’98 tells Loggers the one thing they need to boost their job search.

What’s one thing Loggers can do today to help their job search?

The one thing I would recommend is to spend an hour or two—it’s not a lot of time—really figuring out a plan.

No. 1: Get a sense of your community.

Who are the people that you can lean on that are going to help you on this journey? There are tons of folks, connected or not connected, who want to help. Really think broadly on that list. Think of all the connections you have within the university—classroom, nonclassroom, activities, Greek system, sports. Everything is part of that list. And know that the [list] is going to evolve and probably get bigger, which is exciting. Just seeing that [list] on paper is going to be a really important piece of that plan.

No. 2: What are your skills? 

Identify the stuff that you know that you’re good at that might be related to a particular role—or might not be. It might just be stuff that you enjoy. For example, when I was at the university, I was part of the newspaper, I was part of the campus orientation group, I was a Passages and Preludes leader, I was part of the Greek system. I took those experiences and tried to pull out stuff that I really enjoyed doing and knew that I was good at. For me, that was talking to people, solving problems, representing a greater organization, being part of a group or a community. I knew I wanted to be part of a team. I knew I could ask interesting questions based on my newspaper work. To see that in writing is very important. It’s not related to any specific job or company; it just really gets those strengths down on paper, so you have a good sense of where you could possibly plug in.

No. 3: Do your research.

Start to identify what kinds of things you could be doing if a job is next for you. That comes from you brainstorming and thinking about what position you might be interested in. It also could be a lot of research, going through job listings or looking at companies you find inspiring and organically figuring out what sort of roles are there, what sort of language they’re using.

I was [too] narrow in my search [after graduating], and I was discouraged in a lot of ways, because I was like, Wow, there are like two things I think I could be doing. I wish I would have spent some more time researching and looking at what the availabilities could be based on [my] strengths and the community that I [knew].

There’s a lot of value in spending a couple of hours on paper getting a sense of who you know, what you know you’re really good at—related to work or not—and what could be some possible options for you.

Want more?

Watch the full Q&A to hear more of Perry’s job-search advice, and check out additional alumni conversations on topics ranging from what it’s like to graduate during a recession to turning an internship into a full-time job on the ASK a Logger page.


By Kelsey Caulfield
Published July 20, 2020