Tailor your Resume for YOU

resumetipspicBy Emily Ferraro

Embarking on a job search can often lead one through a lot of stress, uncertainty, and even sometimes doubt.  It’s important to remind yourself that you are just as important to an employer as they are to you. After all, there are two components to this process: the employer and YOU. More often than not, students are so eager to get a position that they forget what makes them unique and important compared to other applicants. Tailoring your resume isn’t just for the employer; it’s the first step in realizing your potential with a company. Of course, you need to appeal to an employer to get the job, but you must first appeal to yourself. Start by preparing your resume and cover letter with these tips in mind and be prepared to know your worth!

1. Ask yourself, “Why is it important to tailor my resume?”-

  • Imagine you are an employer receiving hundreds of applications for only one position. When you come across one that has a clear objective/statement that includes the position and company within your goals, you know right away that this resume is just for you. Scanning through the resume, you see that the resume highlights experiences and skills needed for the position in mind because they translate to the position description. Overall, you like to see that an applicant has taken the time to make his or her resume “made to order,” and this is the first step in impressing you.  This is the scenario you want to create when an employer finds your resume. It shows that you comprehend the position and the company’s vision while showing your ability to communicate your skills – a lot like a preview of what’s to come in an interview.
  • Staying true to the position description and highlighting your transferable skills help you understand the position. This is important because you should comprehend as much as you can about what this position requires and what you can bring to the role. It also prevents you from including fibs or extra material that doesn’t pertain. The rule is always quality over quantity. Looking impressive means that you present the real skills, show your true potential, and understand why you are important.

2. Use these methods when tailoring-

  • Most common tactic used when tailoring documents is incorporating keywords or buzzwords. I challenge you to think deeper, don’t just copy paste the words from the position but think about how you can present those key words in the bullet points of your past experiences.
  • Use transferable skills and action verbs! Employers scanning your resume want to see two things: 1. “What did you do?” 2. “How did you do it?” – sweet and simple. Jazz it up with action verbs to set up the skillset you are trying to demonstrate.
  • Get rid of redundancy. Like I mentioned before, quality reigns over quantity. Try not to list everything you have done on your resume and instead incorporate what is most pertinent to this position.

-Tip: Keep a master resume that includes all of your experiences, projects and involvement. Then pick and choose what you want to keep/omit based on what the requirements and skills are for the position. Save the new one as the resume for the specific position in which you are applying by including the company name in the file name (ex: Last name_NASAresume).

  •  Always prove your bullets with supporting examples. A lawyer making their case would never walk into a courtroom without supporting evidence to back their claim. . Think of your bullet points as the supporting evidence; always state your skill but provide a specific example of how you developed that skill. (For example, “Developed research skills by gathering data received from satellite, analyzing for patterns, and formulating the information into organized spreadsheet documents.”)

But you’re not quite done there. Just as important as it is to have a tailored resume, your cover letter will give you an additional edge, and having accomplished your resume means you’re on the right track towards creating a strong cover letter.

  • Even when an employer states that a cover letter is not necessary, I would always recommend writing one. This is the first place to show your ability to go above and beyond what is required of you.
  • When an employer looks over the submitted applications, the candidates with cover letters have put their applications into another category that shows their drive, ability to communicate transferable skills, and an extra ambitious attitude for the position.

Here are some additional tips for tailoring a cover letter:

  • Pick 2-3 specific experiences from your resume that you wish to elaborate on.
  • Organize your paragraphs to show your key skills. In one paragraph, highlight a needed skillset from the position and support it with evidence from your resume. In the next paragraph, highlight a different skillset also needed for the position and demonstrate how you have accomplished those skills.
  • Use the models and examples on our website for more insight on what a cover letter should possess for your specific degree program.

Emily Ferraro is new to the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and serves as the Program Manager for undergraduate Aerospace Engineering students. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies as well as her Master of Education in Curriculum & Instruction specializing in College Student Affairs at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL. Emily enjoys working with students to help them achieve their personal and professional career goals and specializes in topics such as personal branding and resume writing.


Faculty Spotlight: Gregory Zahornacky

Greg ZGreg Zahornacky is an Assistant Professor in the College of Aviation and teaches the Aeronautical Science Capstone Course, Operational Applications in Aeronautical Science and additionally, Electronic Flight Management Systems and Crew Resource Management. Greg is also on the development team of the new Airline Operations Center that is being constructed on the second floor of the College of Aviation. Greg has been in commercial radio broadcasting for over 20 years and has his own show Monday through Friday from 5:00 pm until 7:00 pm on WIKD-FM 102.5 in Daytona Beach.

What motivated you to pursue a career in aviation, and when did you know that you were interested in that field? Who encouraged you to chase your dreams?

When I was the young age of 7, my father asked me if I wanted to go for an airplane ride at a local airport outside of Pittsburgh, where I grew up. My answer to him was a resounding “NO!” I was afraid to go up in “that thing” and refused to go. Fast forward 7 years, and my father decided he wanted to take an introductory flight to potentially attain his pilot’s license with a neighbor who was a flight instructor. He asked me if I wanted to go with him, and this time I said, “sure, why not?” Once we were airborne and flew for about 20 minutes and landed, I had made my decision; I wanted to fly airplanes! The aviation “bug” had bit me…HARD! From that point in my life at age 14, I had a defined direction and felt overwhelmingly compelled to pursue it. I thank my father and mother for their support, because without their encouragement (and money!), I could not have achieved my goal of being a professional airline pilot.

If you could go back to your college days, what would you do differently? Why?

If I could turn the hands of time back 38 years to when I was an undergraduate, I would’ve most certainly APPLIED myself more so! At the time I started my undergraduate program, all I wanted to do was fly, and I did not care so much about the academic portion of aviation! In the mid 1970’s the Aeronautics degree program that I was in did not have the classes that Embry-Riddle has today. I was never exposed to courses at that time such as Crew Resource Management (CRM) and Electronic Flight Management Systems, mainly because CRM did not exist and all of the flying that I did was in “round dial” aircraft. Today’s technologically advanced aircraft have “glass cockpits” which give pilots more pictorial situational awareness. The reason I would’ve been more studious is because I could’ve learned so much more from the professors I had at that time. They brought with them a wealth of knowledge, and I, foolishly, never allowed myself to partake of that precious resource.

What is the biggest highlight of your career so far?

I have been so very fortunate to have MANY highlights in my career(s)! In my aviation career, it was the day that the airline pinned on my Captains wings after passing my check ride on the McDonnell-Douglas MD-80. Directly related to that event was when I was able to take my parents and my wife with me on a trip with the airline, with me as the Captain of the jet that they were riding on! In my radio career, it was when I finally achieved my very own radio show after years of being part-time.  In my new career as faculty member of Embry-Riddle, it was the day that I got the phone call asking me to come in and interview for the position of Assistant Professor and the subsequent offer of employment. There have been many other highlights in each of the careers that I have had the honor of doing, and those would range from flying Hollywood celebrities, to flying charters with professional sports teams such as the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals. In my radio career, it would be meeting some of the biggest names in the recording industry from REO Speedwagon to Aaron Tippin. In my current career as an Assistant Professor, the highlight would have to be the students. I have met so many fine young men and women. They remind me of myself at their age, because you can see the wants and desires in their eyes to be airline, corporate or military pilots. I have been able to watch their progression from graduation to airline pilot status in just a few short years. The gratification of knowing that I may have had some small part in their success is a feeling unlike any other. I am proud of every single one of our graduates; they are focused and resolute in their career paths.

What are your plans for the future?

My plans for the future would be to continually educate myself and stay in touch with the airline industry as a whole. Through the power of networking, I have been able to stay in touch with many of my colleagues that are still flying for a living. By keeping in touch with them, I am able to see and understand what the airlines are doing in terms of their economic trends and the type of aircraft they are flying. This allows me to deliver the most recent and up to date information to my students so that when they leave Embry-Riddle to pursue their passions they are familiar with those trends. Other than that, I have found a home with Embry-Riddle. The colleagues that I work with are all consummate professionals, and I enjoy working with them on a daily basis.

Be Consistently Consistent

by Kristy Amburgey

0218_land-interview-resume_390x2201-e1271259619853Here is a resume quick tip. One way to make your document look professional and appeal to a broad audience is to be consistent. Consistency shows an employer that you pay attention to details and that you have solid writing skills. As you select formatting and then finalize the resume, go back to ensure that you use the same format throughout the resume. You want to be consistently consistent when composing and proofreading your resume.

Many areas of the resume should be examined for consistency, including the date formatting, spacing, alignment, section headings, bold/italics/underline usage, and more. Other more detailed areas to review include the state abbreviations/spelling out of the state names, periods at the end of the bulleted points, dash marks [en dash (–) and em dash (—)], verb tenses, etc. which you should closely examine before sending your resume to anyone.

The great thing about all of these details is that you get to choose the formatting. Once you select a style, though, run with it. You want to be consistently consistent with the style, format and details of your resume.

Kristy Amburgey is the Associate Director of Career Services – Daytona Beach campus and currently manages marketing and employer relations for the department. She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for over 10 years.

Employer Advice Spotlight: Better to be Overdressed than Underdressed

By Joshua Pringle

Joshua Pringle is the Director of Marketing at CO2Meter, a leader in Carbon Dioxide metering, sensing, and detection. CO2Meter designs, manufactures and distributes industry leading devices to consumers and companies in diverse business segments. Mr. Pringle has put together a series of articles providing advice, from a company’s perspective, on interviewing. This post is the last one for the spring term.

InterviewDiversityThe reason something becomes a cliché is because it actually has truth to it. So when I say, “First impressions are everything,” I really do mean it. Especially when interviewing for an internship or job. When the interviewer opens the door to greet you for the first time, how you are dressed SCREAMS at them and sets the tone for the conversation you are about to have.

A few notes about dress requirements: Business Attire means a suit and tie (sport coat minimum), Business Casual means dressed nicely but no tie (sorry ladies), and in business circles, Casual means a polo or button shirt or blouse and nice dress pants and dress shoes (not flip flops and Hawaiian shirts).

Here are some important keys to your dress for the future.

1) Everyone, buy a business suit. A suit says “professional” unlike anything else. Men’s Warehouse, Jos. A. Bank, and Brooks Brothers all offer great suits at great prices for the gentlemen.
2) When wearing a tie, keep it tied. Do not wear a tie or your shirt undone. You are interviewing for a job/internship not modeling for GQ.
3) Leave excess jewelry/accessories at home. Think minimal. The cleaner your look, the better. Don’t wear a watch, so you aren’t tempted to check the time. While you are in the interview, there is not a single thing on the planet more important for that time period. Stay focused!
4) Don’t make the interview day the first time you are wearing your new suit. Try it on a few days ahead of time. The idea here is to get comfortable in it because nothing says “I’m nervous” more than someone who is clearly uncomfortable in their clothes.
5) Don’t ruin your outfit with dirty or poorly matched socks and shoes.
6) NO perfume or cologne. What if your interviewer had an ex-husband who wore Polo? Subconsciously she is going to be predisposed to not liking you.

But the best tip I can give you is this: it is far better to be overdressed than underdressed! You can always take off your tie to meet a situation, but unless you keep a spare tie in your car, it’s difficult to add a tie to your outfit. Be the best dressed person in the room. You will be noticed and thought of highly.

Unfortunately part of the interview process, and even the business process overall, is selling yourself. Most people are uncomfortable talking about themselves, what they’ve accomplished, or even what they want to do. Dressing professionally helps ease that “sales” process because, when you are dressed professionally, you are already viewed as a quality candidate.

What Do You Want To Do?

By Kristy Amburgey

what-do-you-want-to-be-when-you-grow-upI am sure we have all been asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I have heard seasoned professionals, somewhat joking, ask themselves this same question.

Before starting a job search and before making any career changes, you, even as a seasoned professional, need to ask one very important question: what do you want to do?

Stepping into these ventures, like a new job or taking classes, takes time, money and effort on your part. To ensure you invest wisely in a new endeavor, carefully evaluate what it is you want to do and achieve.

Only when you honestly answer this question and devote the time it takes to obtain your goals can you start to work on creating a satisfying professional life.

Although you may not set professional satisfaction and happiness as top priorities in your life, you need to understand the difference between a successful career search and a successful job search. For a successful career search, you understand the types of responsibilities and goals you want to achieve in your work life, and you find a job that meets those goals. A successful job search means that you were offered a job and accepted it on terms upon which both you and the company agreed. Having a job does bring a certain amount of satisfaction like having an income, which can result in immediate happiness. But do your current short-term successes leave you feeling professionally wanting more? This questioning of your current situation may mean that you need to take a step back and evaluate what you truly want to do in your life and take the bold stand to do it.

Now, that common childhood question, “What do you want to do?” is a way that you can gauge your professional goals. If you are doing what gives you professional fulfillment, you hopefully have your answer to the question. If you envision yourself finding satisfaction and happiness in another situation, you want to find a better professional fit.

Kristy Amburgey is the Associate Director of Career Services – Daytona Beach campus and currently manages marketing and employer relations for the department. She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for over 10 years.

Employer Advice Spotlight: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

By Joshua Pringle

Joshua Pringle is the Director of Marketing at CO2Meter, a leader in Carbon Dioxide metering, sensing, and detection. CO2Meter designs, manufactures and distributes industry leading devices to consumers and companies in diverse business segments. Mr. Pringle has put together a series of articles providing advice, from a company’s perspective, on interviewing. The series will be added throughout the spring semester.

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

Do you remember the old computer game and TV show that taught geography through a fun, traveling secret agent persona? The agents would travel the globe learning about their destinations and travel routes in order to capture Carmen. The problem was that this series was produced in the late 1980s and early 1990s before MapQuest and Google Maps. The agents would have no problem catching Carmen today. And think of playing this game if you had Google glasses!

So let me put this gently – in today’s world with iPhones, Google Maps, Wi-Fi access all over and a million apps to help you get to where you are going…DON’T BE LATE FOR AN INTERVIEW!

Nothing says “throw my resume in the wastebasket” to an interviewer quicker than you being late. Being late to the interview for any reason demonstrates what you are going to be like as an employee: late, irresponsible, demanding, and generally a terrible employee. Showing up late for your interview or anything else is just disrespectful. I don’t know about you, but I’d be sure I was actually early for an interview.

Here are a few tips for being on time to your interview.

1) Don’t just map the location out on Google Maps or another app. That is not enough. What if the GPS is wrong? What if the company recently moved? What if there is an accident and the road you want to take is closed? If the company is local, drive the route the day before to know exactly where to be.
2) Leave 30 minutes earlier than you think you should. It is far better to sit in the parking lot reviewing your notes and qualifications than it is to be rushed because you’re late.
3) When you are late, you rush and make mistakes making the situation worse. Imagine being 15 minutes late for your interview and running into the building to save time? Now you are late and sweaty. Not a good start.
4) “Early IS on time”. Think about it for a second. It also means that, “on time = late and late = forgotten”.
5) No matter how early you are, do not go into the building/office more than 10 minutes early. You seem too eager.
6) Bring some cold water for your trip and turn on the AC. When most people are nervous, they perspire. Use at least these two tricks to help reduce your anxiety.
7) Get gas the day before. Having to get gas will put you behind schedule. And nobody wants to smell like gas when they walk into a room.

If something happens and even with all your pre-planning you are going to be late, call well before your interview time to give the interviewer notice. Leave a clear, concise message.

Part of the world outside the university setting is timeliness. You are expected to be places and do things on time, if not in advance. Show that you are prepared for that leap by being at your scheduled location prior to the time you were given. I promise you the interviewer will be putting a “bonus point” in your column while others are getting dinged.

And by the way…I don’t think the agents ever found Carmen. Maybe you will see her on your way to your interview if you aren’t running too late!

The Philly Cheese Steak Principle, Part Deux

by Kristy Amburgey

The "What Are You Reading?" Principle

The “What Are You Reading?” Principle

Several years ago, I wrote about the Philly Cheese Steak Principle, which I defined as a way for people to use friendly, light-hearted conversations or interactions to grow their professional or personal network and connections.

After some reflection, I now see the need to update the name of this idea to the Ouagadougou Principle. Or the Standing-in-line-at-Disney-asking-about-someone’s-hometown Principle. Or the Sharing Space on a Flight Principle. Or the I-wore-a-business-suit-while-traveling-so-people-gave-out-business cards Principle. The list could go on infinitely as so many people have amazing stories of connecting with others through random, unexpected interactions.

This collection of principle titles and stories further proves that connecting with a person can be effective when it is based on a commonality or on a shared experience. That common ground could be a job, a school, a unique pair of shoes or waiting in a long line together. The only way that the [insert your own term] Principle will work is if you take the first step and say something. Often it takes some courage to make a comment or give an observational opinion, but it is so important to take advantage of any opportunities presented to you. In encouraging you to take any and all chances, it is smart to have some situational awareness (e.g. keep in mind the tone of the event or poking fun at a complete stranger who may not appreciate it) and be genuine about wanting to interact with the person.

Hence forward, I want to name this concept the Your Personal Story Principle. We all can use our everyday experiences to establish new relationships with those around us, based on even the most unusual ways to meet (I am talking to you, Funny T-shirt Principle person).

Kristy Amburgey is the Associate Director of Career Services – Daytona Beach campus and currently manages marketing and employer relations for the department. She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for over 10 years.

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Tim Wilson

Dr. WilsonDr. Tim Wilson is the chair person of the Electrical, Computer, Software, & Systems Engineering (ECSSE) Department at the Daytona Beach campus, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

1. Can you tell us about your background and what motivated you to come to Embry-Riddle?

I grew up in rural middle Tennessee. My home town, Centerville, Tennessee, is the only incorporated town in all of Hickman County. When I was growing up, Centerville had a population of 2500 people; Hickman County, 12,500. I was able to get into MIT but didn’t succeed the first time, so I dropped out and tried to make a living as a performing musician for a few years. I supported myself in a number of interesting jobs, including typesetting and delivering radioactive pharmaceutical. No, I don’t glow in the dark. Seeing people younger than me who had graduated college and were now my boss motivated me to get my rear back into school, and MIT was gracious enough to let me back in for a second chance.

While I had pretty much been a physics major in the first go-around; when I went back, I wanted to study electrical engineering (EE) because I had been playing synthesizers (and other keyboards) as a musician. I was successful beyond my imaginings on that second time around and got straight ‘A’s except one ‘B’ in a complex variables math class. Plus, I got to work at MIT’s Experimental Music Studio doing undergraduate research (via their UROP, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, the equivalent of our Ignite! program). I ended up going to graduate school, working at the Research Lab for Electronics in the Speech Recognition Group for my master’s degree, and then in the Auditory Research Group for my doctorate. For the master’s degree, I modeled how the firings of the auditory nerve work, and for my doctorate, I investigated a model of the mammalian inner ear to try to understand whether prior observations of the change in stiffness along the inner ear’s length could account for the frequency selectivity of our hearing.

I got a position at the University of Memphis after finishing my doctorate in 1994, stayed there for 6.5 years, and was looking to move starting fall 2000. I ended up at ERAU serendipitously. My mom lived in Daytona Beach and was in poor health, so we wanted to relocate closer to her. I looked online (this was spring 2000, so online position listings were still somewhat new) at an IEEE (Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers) jobs site, and there was a listing for someone to teach electrical engineering courses for the BS in Computer Engineering program. That one year visiting appointment turned into a tenure-track position, followed by tenure, then promotion to full professor eventually.

I served as Vice-Speaker of the Daytona Beach Faculty in academic year 2006-2007 and then was elected Speaker for the two-year term in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. I was appointed chair of the newly formed Department of Electrical, Computer, Software, and Systems Engineering starting in January 2010. The department was formed by merging the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering with the Department of Computer and Software Engineering.

In addition to my ERAU duties, I serve on the Board of Directors of the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals, the DiscoverE (formerly known as the National Engineers Week Foundation) Diversity Council, and the American Society for Engineering Education‘s Diversity Committee. Seeing that engineering education and employment reflect the diversity in American society is a passion of mine.

2. As the Department Chair, can you tell us some of the highlights of the Electrical, Computer, Software, & Systems Engineering (ECSSE) Department?

Sometimes people wonder what all the areas of our department have in common — we have undergraduate degrees in computer engineering, electrical engineering, software engineering, and computer science — but it’s really pretty straightforward: they all deal with common technologies that are by-and-large invisible. You can’t see the electrons moving in wires; the transistors in modern computing devices are incredibly tiny; we communicate over invisible radio frequencies. A computer program may be visible text, but it often translates into incredibly fast electrical signals representing the ones and zeros of binary logic, and large software programs, like large systems of any type, have an organizational and implementational framework that’s pretty much just an organized collection of concepts. So whether we’re dealing with the basic units of electricity or the structure of complex systems, we’re still dealing with stuff that’s largely invisible. All those are quite distinct from the structures that make up an aircraft or spacecraft or the motions of those through the atmosphere or space, but the aircraft and the spacecraft both depend on the invisible electronics, radio, software, and systems engineering to get up and get back down safely.

But even though the engineering domains deal with “invisible” stuff, we pride ourselves on giving students hands-on opportunities from the get-go. We want our programs to take students to better and better approximations to engineering as it’s practiced in industry, so we move from simple team-based projects in EGR 101 through coursework involving individual and team projects, until the two-semester multidisciplinary capstone course.

We like to think that we graduate engineers, not graduates with engineering degrees. One of our Industry Advisory Board members once told me that he liked hiring our graduates because they were used to working like engineers when they graduated. That made me really proud.

3. What skills/strengths make our graduates stand out in the work force?

First, they get a top-notch technical education. Second, on top of that, they get the knowledge and experience of real-world engineering. There aren’t many undergraduate programs in the USA, including the top notch schools like my alma mater, that put as much emphasis on systems thinking and engineering processes. Our graduates know not only that what they’re working on is part of a bigger system, they understand how it fits into the bigger system. Our graduates know what engineering requirements are, how validation and verification are practiced, how a system is decomposed into smaller sub-systems and then how those sub-systems integrate into a larger working system.

Finally, while they may not be experts at it, our graduates have some familiarity with system development in a regulatory environment. You can’t just write a piece of software or build a piece of hardware and put it on even a general aviation aircraft, much less a transport category commercial aircraft or a military aircraft. Given how little graduates of other programs know about any kind of regulatory framework, our students stand out and are valued by aerospace and aviation employers just for being aware of how regulations might impact system development.

4. What new initiatives or research is the ECSSE Department participating in?

As far as new programs go, we expect to launch a new area of concentration for the BS in Computer Science and a new MS degree starting this coming fall, both called Cybersecurity Engineering. Those programs will focus on the technologies of cybersecurity: encryption, white-hat hacking, secure software and hardware. There are an increasing number of jobs these days in those areas, and with the attention, good or bad, that the NSA is getting as well as the growing demand for professionals in the field, we’re glad the programs are getting launched. There’s an entire subfield there of cybersecurity for aerospace: how to ensure that digital communications between flight crew and controller aren’t subverted; how to make GPS and ADS-B (Automatic Dependant Surveillance – Broadcast) more secure; how to keep bad hackers or enemy personnel from accessing on-board computers.

Our faculty are engaged in some pretty sexy stuff. The research in aerospace cybersecurity, mentioned above, will also involve development of standards for developing and operating cybersecure systems, and one of our faculty, Dr. Remzi Seker in particular, is involved in setting those standards. We have faculty investigating what’s called “passive sensing”, where instead of the traditional ping-and-return direct radar or ping-and-respond secondary radar, the location of a plane is determined by comparing its reflection of existing radio-frequency signals, say satellite radio or digital broadcast television as the illuminators, with direct reception of those same signals. Our Dr. Billy Barott is a leader in that area; he’s serving on one NATO committee on the topic as well as on the Digital Avionics Technical Committee of the AIAA (American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics). Our Dr. Richard Stansbury does work involving putting ADS-B on commercial launch vehicles so planes and controllers will be able to tell where launch vehicles and spacecraft are in real time. And our Dr. Shafag Jafer and Dr. Keith Garfield are developing modeling and simulation tools and capabilities that apply to everything from the electric power grid to computational tutoring agents. Finally, our Dr. Massood Towhidnejad is director of the NEAR (Next-Generation Embry-Riddle Advanced Research) Lab, through which numerous members of our faculty work on FAA NextGen projects ranging from integration of unmanned aircraft to making it possible for flights on intercontinental routes to talk digitally to both American and European flight controllers.

Our students participate with students from other College of Engineering programs in the AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) competitions, including the RobotX boat for which ERAU was one of a handful of teams selected to compete. We have students, including the electrical lead, involved in EcoCAR. Our students attend and present papers and compete at IEEE and AIAA conventions. Also, Dr. Jafer and Dr. Garfield are spearheading our efforts to reach out to young women and turn them on to engineering and computing careers. We got ERAU to join the National Center for Women in Information Technology’s Academic Alliance, and we host an awards ceremony to celebrate the performance of young high-school women in computing courses. We also send a group of our students each year to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.

We’ve just relocated to the third floor of the Lehman Building, and we’re looking forward to new opportunities like a radome on the Lehman roof for better investigating radar. We’ll have a new improved lab for student projects. And there will be a cool cybersecurity lab on the Lehman first floor. So we are very excited about what’s happening with our programs.

Conducting Research on a Company

By Kristy Amburgey

thCAI715Z9Company research is one of the most important yet overlooked tasks of a job search.  The art of research allows job seekers to go beyond a few known facts to truly develop a career plan.  Research should be a comprehensive examination of a company, its culture, its products and its people.

Why conduct research?

Knowledge and the job search process go hand-in-hand.  The more you know about a company, the more successful you will be during the networking, application and interview process.  The more information you have on a company, the easier it will be to make informed decisions.

Research is more than beneficial in many ways.  It helps you target companies and opportunities that intersect with your background, experiences and interests.  Thorough research helps you to network more easily as you have a picture of the company and can speak to its goals, benefits, etc.  Research also helps you to create customized resumes and job search documents.  Research more than helps you during an interview process as you answer questions and converse in such a way that the company knows you have an insider perspective on their organization.  Research allows you to take charge of your job search.

What do you research?

Research of a company can involve many different features.  The extent of research depends on where you are in the job search process.  If you are selecting a degree, more general research and a review of job opportunities/descriptions are helpful; talking to people who work in the job type you want to pursue is beneficial.  If you are interviewing with a company, you need to dig deep and really get into the company as you should be able to relate your experiences and accomplishments to the company’s needs.  In general, though, you should research the following areas, varying the focus depending on the stage you are at in your education and job search.

  • Overall company insight: the company website, specifically the “About Us” part; external publications and articles; sites like Glassdoor or Hoovers; and general research are beneficial to get an overall perspective of the company
  • Products/Services: in aviation and aerospace, you may already know what products a company offers, but you need to have the full picture of what they do, what areas they impact and what they successfully accomplish
  • Financials: although not all career types need this information, it is important to understand how the company is doing financially (or however they might measure success); you may be able to find annual reports with this content, or you may be able to review filings for publically traded companies
  • Opportunities: find out what jobs or co-ops/internships they offer and read the descriptions that most interest you; this step will also help you narrow down your career options
  • Culture: each company has a set of values and goals that affect the entire operation; understand how the group’s culture fits with your career goals and values
  • Reputation: research also yields a varying array of feedback and comments that might impact your decision; do an internet search for this type of insight, always taking things with a grain of salt
  • People: some companies have “star” CEOs and leaders, and you need to know about these people; also understand who might work in your department, specifically, to get a picture of how you fit into the organization
  • Competition: the idea that you do some recon for a prospective employer may be jumping the gun, but you need to have an accurate picture of who else is out there that may impact the company’s ability to get contracts, make sales or showcase emerging technologies

How do you research?

Research is most strong when you pull from multiple sources.  Rely on the company website but move beyond using that as your only source of information.  Additional ideas on how to research include the following.

  • Company website
  • Press releases
  • People/your connections
  • LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, if applicable
  • News resources like Forbes, Fortune or the Wall Street Journal
  • Industry or trade publications
  • SEC or quarterly filings
  • Glassdoor, Hoovers, Vault, WetFeet, etc.
  • Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau
  • Blogs (search for related blogs at Google Blog Search)
  • And many more options

As you research a company, you should develop your own organizational system to keep track of the details.  You may find that a simple list of facts is most helpful, or you may want to bookmark the best webpages for easy reference.  However you effectively organize information, ensure that you can easily reference your research as you decide to apply for a position, meet a new contact, compose a resume or interview with a company.

If knowledge is power, then you want to put yourself in the best position possible to be as savvy as possible about a company for which you want to work.

Kristy Amburgey is the Associate Director of Career Services – Daytona Beach campus and currently manages marketing and employer relations for the department.  She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for approximately 10 years.

Intern Spotlight: Fabio An

FabioFabio An is a current Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering student and completed his Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach, FL campus.  He is an active student on campus where he works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and is a leader with the Brazilian Student Association.  Understanding the importance of experience, Fabio worked for a full year with US Airways as an Engineering Co-op.

How did you obtain your internships with US Airways?

I found this opportunity on the Embry-Riddle EagleHire Network website. I had applied for the position through the website and was contacted by US Airways within two weeks to schedule an interview.

What were some of your responsibilities?

Fabio and wheelsAt US Airways I worked directly with three engineers: avionics, propulsion, and structural engineer. I was very fortunate to have obtained this position as I was able to gather experience from almost every aspect of the airline maintenance engineering. Working with the structural engineer, my main responsibilities were to provide repair instructions to the mechanics and ensure, mathematically, that those repairs followed FAA regulations. While working with the propulsion engineer, my main duties involved investigating the root cause for engines components failures and premature engine removals. Lastly, with the avionics engineer, I worked on projects ranging from avionics software updates to assisting in the implementation of Service Bulletins fleet wide.

What advice do you have for students interested in obtaining an internship?

Fabio with planeExtensively use the help of Career Services to ensure your resume is properly formatted and with the correct information on it. Additionally, I recommend doing mock up interviews; never be afraid to say you don’t know the answer for a specific question. I also recommend sending a signed thank you letter after the interview is done.  After I was accepted at US Airways, I asked my supervisor if he had received the letter I sent and to my surprise, out of the 40 candidates, I was the only one to have sent a thank you letter, I was told the letter was not the main reason for hiring me, but he said he was pleased to have received it.


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