Career Success Stories
Career Success Stories: a series where we highlight career paths of University of Utah students and alumni. In these stories we share challenges and triumphs of our students to empower members of our community as they embark on their own journeys.
Alia binti Mohd Zaki
By Kayla Turbyfill
Our first spotlight for our Career Success Stories Series is Alia Zaki!
Alia is a very resourceful, adaptable, and tenacious Malaysian woman who recently graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Alia is currently employed in an IT Engineering position at Micron Technology. She is excited to share her experience and advice for job searching and how she was able to find her best fit during a global pandemic as an international student and worker.
The First Steps in the Journey to Find a Best Fit:
Alia’s journey to find her most recent position at Micron began with visits with organizations on The University of Utah campus. These organizations are designed to support and empower students as they set foot into a world of opportunities beyond and within their collegiate experiences. She frequently met with an advisor in the office of International Student & Scholar Services (ISS) to make sure she was on the right track as an international student and worker setting out into the career world. She also met with a Career Coach at the Career & Professional Development Center (CPDC) to develop her professional documents and explore her options as a Mechanical Engineering major. She expressed that,
“The first step is the most important one as it is the hardest to take.
I chose to take an informed one, which meant identifying the rules
and the hows to navigate the job search process.”
After finding the support she was looking for and discovering the best “hows” for her, she set off into the job search process to find her fit. She found a wealth of paths that could fit her degree, goals, and passions and discovered that some of those options didn’t match the “typical” career path of a Mechanical Engineer. By opening up her options, she found IT Engineering.
A Challenge Along the Way:
Alia soon found that job searching during a global pandemic was a challenging task, but one she was up for. She continued making appointments with Career Coaches at the CPDC even after she graduated to improve her chances of success. She utilized many tips and tricks to improve her application process, too, including mock interviews with friends and dressing confidently for interviews, even over the phone. Furthermore, Alia resolved to revising her application materials, tailoring them to the specific job each time, and switched up her process for applying when she wasn’t seeing the results she wanted.
“Don’t keep at the same strategy expecting different results.
Find out what you can improve in your job application process.”
Alia learned to be resilient and persistent in her applications. She found that preparation, dressing in something that made her feel confidence, and relying on support from others improved her chances. And her hard work and patience paid off.
One Takeaway from Working with the CPDC?
Alia spent a lot of time working with the staff at the CPDC and summed up that,
“The most important advice I can give you, however,
is finding an expert at the start of your process.”
Finding a knowledgeable mentor or contact in or around your field can make a difference. The experts Alia found include staff at the CPDC and faculty in her program. Alia encourages students to use the resources available to them at the U, especially international students, and would recommend the CPCD saying, “the best resource I know of [at the U] is the Career & Professional Development Center.” Gaining the tools to polish her professional documents, practice interviewing, and having conversations to discover her true interests were important steps in Alia finding her best fit opportunity and growing as a professional. Additionally, the support Alia found in our community played a role in her success today, and she would like to thank Dr. Mark Minor and soon-to-be Dr. Jon Aston from the Robotic Systems Lab in the ME department.
Alia's initiative and resourcefulness ultimately led her along her journey to her current position at Micron. Alia has been a pleasure to work with and an inspiration to see as she pursued her interests and strove for excellence. She is a great example to fellow alum and students of the U.