Co-op/Intern Spotlight: Augusto Espinosa

Augusto Espinosa, MS Human Factors & Systems

Augusto Espinosa experienced the best of both worlds during his year-long stint as an Environmental Health & Safety Intern with Momentive Performance Materials in New Smyrna Beach, FL. While many students must wait until after their internship is over to apply the things they learned in the classroom, Augusto’s internship was local, allowing him the opportunity to incorporate experience into the classroom and vice versa on a daily basis.

What’s more, this May, Augusto will be graduating with a Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems and a solid year of work experience in the field he has decided to pursue.

What kind of work did you do as an Environmental Health & Safety/ Manufacturing Intern?

I was in charge of managing the EHS department at a small chemical manufacturing plant. I worked with the plant engineer to re-design different packaging lines and chemical mixing stations. We applied ergonomic principles to make the work areas more efficient and safer for the operators. I was also in charge of conducting numerous audits of the site to ensure that our operations conformed with government regulations. Every week I would be working on a different project.

As a local intern, you were able to take classes while gaining experience. In what ways did this benefit you, both in the classroom and on the job?

Being able to take classes while during my internship was a huge advantage. I would go to class in the morning and work the rest of the day. It was specially rewarding to learn certain concepts and then be to able to test them in a real work environment. Furthermore, I received a considerable number of graduate credits for my internship while getting paid.

What advice do you have for students seeking an internship?

Don’t be afraid to look for internships in different fields. My internship focused mostly on safety. Despite being a Human Factors student, I adapted quite well to the job and I was able to bring something different to the table. My employers really appreciated that.

What are your plans upon graduation?

I have come to really enjoy my work at Momentive. For this reason I hope to be working in safety or industrial engineering after graduation.

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Company Information Sessions Unleashed

by Valerie Kielmovitch

You have seen the notices all over campus:  Company ‘XYZ’ will be presenting this evening!  You start to think of all of the projects, homework, activities, and other obligations you have and decide not to attend. But…you have always had an interest in working for company ‘XYZ’ and have researched their website on the internet.  Even so, you think to yourself that you really are not missing that much, right?

Wrong!!!

Attending a company information session has considerable advantages. Here are a few reasons why you should always plan to attend:

  • Companies host information sessions because they want students to learn more about their company beyond what is found on the internet or their company website
  • You have the opportunity to network and connect with recruiters or professionals who may be influential in helping you to secure a position in the company
  • Many alumni return to present at these sessions and are more than willing to network with students at their alma mater
  • Presenting your resume to a company representative in person could lead to an interview and a potential job
  • A few companies provide food at their sessions and who doesn’t enjoy free food?!?!

Here are some tips to be successful at these sessions:

  • Make sure you are on time
  • Dress in business casual clothing
  • Take notes and ask thoughtful questions
  • Bring an updated copy of your resume on quality resume paper
  • Be willing to stay after the session to speak with a recruiter, but remember not to be pushy or overbearing
  • Stay up-to-date with information sessions and presentations by utilizing Career Services and by checking the calendar in the EagleHire Network regularly

Companies come to ERAU because they know you are pursuing a great education. Make sure you take advantage of all the opportunities that are available to you in order to increase your options when it comes time for you to graduate.

Valerie Kielmovitch has been working as a Program Manager in the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for nearly two years.  She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Central Florida and Master of Education specializing in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of South Carolina.  Valerie has a diverse background in the field of higher education from residence life to career services.

Co-op/Internship Spotlight: Mackenzie Means

Mack Means, BS Aerospace Studies

Mack Means, a senior in the Aerospace Studies program at the Daytona Beach campus, recently completed an internship in the Marketing Planning department at Southwest Airlines. During his internship, Mack was able to apply everything he learned in the classroom, while gaining experience and additional knowledge and skills that will help this A student to be even more successful now that he is back on campus. As a bonus, Mack had the opportunity to travel to some pretty exciting places, work with a lot of fun-LUVing people, and grow, both personally and professionally.

Southwest Airlines internships are pretty competitive. What things helped you to stand out and land the position?

I think the biggest qualities that stood out to Southwest were my leadership experience, knowledge of the aviation industry, and my positive, outgoing attitude.  Many of the interview questions involved my experiences as a leader and working through difficult situations.  They asked about my time with the Orientation Team and my involvements with my fraternity.  Throughout the four months in Dallas, I never met an intern that lacked leadership experience.

During my internship, a vast knowledge of the aviation industry was crucial to being an asset on my team.  While not all Southwest internships require a high level of aviation knowledge, it is important and impressive to understand the competitive landscape of the industry.  Additionally, my outgoing, fun-LUVing attitude helped me secure the position.  Southwest Airlines has a unique company culture and they hire based on those qualities.  Be true to yourself, don’t get too nervous, and have fun!  If you are having fun through the interview process, you will have even more fun as an intern.

 What kind of work did you do as a Marketing Planning Intern?

As a Marketing Planning intern, I had the opportunity to work on many projects with multiple groups on my team.  Some projects involved industry intelligence research, which allowed me to compare Southwest Airlines to the other airlines in the industry.  I followed industry marketing and social media trends to get a better understanding of the industry and bring new ideas to Southwest.   Another project involved research that I conducted with the help of a teammate that was used across the entire Southwest system.  It’s very rewarding to see your hard work pay off and really make an impact at such a large company.  Also, a few of my projects involved analyzing the performance of Southwest using many different measurements.  Overall, I had a wide variety of projects, and no two days were the same.

What skills and knowledge did you gain as a result of your internship?

Thanks to my experience at Southwest, I have an even better understanding of the competitive landscape in the aviation industry.  My opportunities allowed me to gain a broader knowledge of the inner-workings of such a large company.  Not only was I exposed to the Marketing Planning department, but I also saw dozens of aspects of the company through Days-In-The-Field and free travel experiences.  I spent time with the People, Network Planning, Revenue Management, Customer Relations, and Maintenance departments through career shadows.  Additionally, I got to experience the operations side of the company thanks to my free flights and trips to Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, Washington D.C., St. Louis, Orlando, Austin, South Padre, and Vancouver (via Seattle).  From travel experiences to in-depth knowledge to personal maturation, the amount gained from this experience is immeasurable.

Do you have any advice for students considering applying to Southwest Airlines?

 Educate yourself on the company before you apply.  Just by reading their website and understanding their company culture, you’ve already got a head start.

If you don’t get an internship right away, KEEP TRYING.  Persistence is key.  It took three failed attempts before I received a phone call from Southwest.  Also, be flexible.  Apply for multiple internships with a company and let them help you decide which one would be your best fit.

Smile.  Be courteous and thankful to everyone you speak to or come in contact with.  If you fly somewhere for an interview be patient and kind everywhere you go.  You never know who else is on that plane or in the security line.

Get leadership experience.  Join clubs and organizations and run for office.  Having these experiences not only teach you how to manage your time, but they show your future employer that you can work with others and do great things.

Pilot Hiring in 2012

by Brian Carhide

In 2012, the Mayan calendar will not be the only thing ending. In December, the U.S. airline industry will again be faced with attrition as a result of pilots forced to retire, at the age of 65 (formerly age 60). The FAA rule change in December of 2007 has created five years of stagnation in pilot retiring/hiring, along with the declining economy. In the last five years, pilots have been retiring solely based on their own decisions and not on a federal regulation.

Recently, the airline industry has slightly rebounded, and the last year and a half has provided steady hiring at the regional level; hiring appears to be remaining steady through 2012. There has been speculation and anticipation building in the industry about what will happen come December 2012. There has been a significant amount of chatter of a looming pilot shortage. There is some truth to a pilot shortage; however, that shortage will have a greater impact in the Asian aviation markets as Asian airlines continue to grow and purchase airplanes. I think we will see a slight increase in hiring after December in the U.S., at all levels from CFIs to the major airlines.

In 2011, I had the opportunity to attend two pilot job fairs and mingle with pilot hiring managers from American Eagle to United Airlines, all which exhibited a nervous tone when discussing the future need for pilots within their company. American Eagle has been the regional airline of 2011 for hiring ERAU pilots, based on the current bridge agreement with American Eagle. However, recently American Eagle’s parent company, American Airlines, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in case you haven’t heard. Obviously the hiring surge from AE has ended for 2012. American Eagle hiring managers are confident hiring will resume in the near future.

Although AE, a viable choice for low time pilots, has ceased hiring for 2012, there continues to be alternate opportunities. A recent trend in the industry is partnerships such as the Cape Air/jetBlue University Gateway Program and the newly released ExpressJet/Delta Air Lines Pilot Pathway Program. These programs are similar in that they provide aspiring pilots a guided path beginning as early as their sophomore year, through to becoming a major airline pilot. Although nothing is guaranteed, especially in the airline industry, the programs can provide pilots the foresight into a more secure career path.

The question students ask me the most:  how do I build flight time? Obtain a CFI and flight instruct, albeit many pilots strive to find another way to accomplish the time building phase of a pilot’s career; in the end it proves advantageous. No matter which way you look at it, flight instructing will place you in another league! (Believe me; hiring managers are aware of this fact). In 2011, flight instructor positions were in abundance, and I have little doubt it will continue in 2012. Honestly, there is probably not a state in this country which does not have available CFI jobs, not even Alaska!

As many of us know, the aviation industry is unpredictable and cyclical. Do everything you can to open doors – take advantage of internships, job fairs, and the Career Services Office. The 2012 year should prove to be a fortuitous year for pilots.

Brian Carhide has more than 20 years of professional aviation experience. He spent many years as a professional pilot, including experience as a charter and airline pilot. Recently, he has been a leader in guiding young aviators in higher education at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.   

Alumni Career Spotlight: Mark Lyden

Mark Lyden, DB 1989/1995

If you have graduated from Embry-Riddle within the last 15 years, there is a good chance that you know Mark Lyden’s name. That’s how long Mark has been coming to campus to recruit Embry-Riddle students for positions within The Boeing Company. These days, Mark is also an author, having published three books so far in his Do This! Get Hired! series.

Mark is as passionate about Embry-Riddle as he is about his work. A 1989 BS Aeronautical Studies and 1995 Master of Aeronautical Science graduate, he is a big supporter of his alma mater, both personally and as part of his profession. In addition to his recruiting visits, Mark also comes to campus to speak to students about job search strategies, writes articles for both The Avion and Career Services, serves on panels, and provides interviewing tips and advice, among other things.

You are famous at Embry-Riddle for both your role within Boeing and your series of Do This! Get Hired! books. What traits and/or skills have helped most to make you successful in your career?

What comes to mind is motivation and the determination to get something done.  A great idea is never great until it is implemented,  and most of the time you have to have a sustained motivation and determination to get that done.  I have discovered that the key to sustaining both are three things:  

First, do what you are passionate about.  Your career should be about something you like to do.  Yes, every job will not be that way all the time but the goal for your career is to find that job, that position, that you are most passionate about.  However, it is important to understand it will take you some time and it is a journey.  

Second, have a good life balance.  Give your life outside of work as much attention as your life inside work.  Take time for yourself, your family, and do those things you like to do.

Third, find a way to give back.  People get so busy with their lives that they forget about this one; yet in my opinion, this is critical for keeping perspective on your career and your life in general.  By giving back, I mean find an organization or charity that resonates with you and volunteer.  It is easy to give money and that is great as well, but it does not give you the same benefit, the same satisfaction as giving your time.  

What is the biggest highlight of your career so far?

It is so much fun for me to see candidates that I have screened or interviewed get hired into a job they love.  It changes their lives completely and in such an exciting and positive way.  For example, I took a big chance on an ERAU candidate about two years ago.  His grades were very low but he had a very compelling story as to why.  I ended up working with him and soon he got hired.  He has been with Boeing for less than two years and he has made such a contribution, such a positive impression on his bosses that they are recommending him for a promotion….for the second time in less than two years.  This is unheard of….and to think when I met him, no company would even interview him, let alone give him a job.  But he has a great passion and joy for his job and he sincerely appreciates the opportunities he has been given. Now, he is just one example and there are hundreds because I have recruited ERAU students for over 15 years now.  However, there is rarely a week that goes by when I don’t get a call or email from someone whom I have helped.  That gives me a lot of satisfaction.        

How has your Embry-Riddle degree opened doors for you in the course of your career?

ERAU is very well known and respected in the aviation/aerospace community. It was hard to see when I was a student, but the education you get from ERAU is a great one. Now, I don’t say this just because I am an alumni.  I say it because I have seen it.  I have seen how the ERAU education, especially one that includes internship experience, allows students to compete with the best students from other top schools.  ERAU students are consistently some of the top performers.      

Of all of the advice you have ever given to students and alumni, what would you say is the most important thing that they need to remember?

Two things.  The first one is attitude.  People like to work with others that have a good attitude and bosses like to promote them.  It is easy to have a good attitude when you like what you do.  So be passionate about your career and if you’re not, look to make a change. I never understood when people say “Don’t take your job personally.”  I do every day.  It’s important to me.  To put it another way, if you are a candidate looking for a job and after evaluating you I think you are a great, don’t you want me to take it personally whether or not you get hired?  

The second thing is to give back and help others.  Find a way to make a difference and go do it.  I promise it will be worth your time.

They Want What? Be Aware of Unusual Application Requests

by Kristy Amburgey

Throughout the application process, there are often surprise tasks, requests or questions that you must complete before you are granted an initial conversation, interview or even the job.  It is important to be aware that these steps in the application process actually exist and to be prepared to react to these requests.

Here is a short list of the requests that job seekers may encounter as they seek employment, some of which are rather common.  Some of these requests, though, are unexpected and require extra preparation.

  • Essay questions: although not too common, you may be asked to answer questions about you as a candidate, about your future goals with the company or about your career aspirations; your answers to essay questions can be used to evaluate you before a phone or in-person interview
  • Letters of recommendation: this request is most often seen when applying for co-ops/internships, fellowships or more entry-level positions; it is always a good idea to request letters of recommendation from faculty or employers before you leave school or the position, even if a letter is not needed at the time
  • Lists of references: many employers want you to provide three to five professional references; some employers also ask for personal references; additional reference requests may be for specific groups such as supervisors, professors, clients/vendors, etc.
  • Portfolios: a portfolio is typically used during an in-person interaction (interview, career fair), but some employers may want you to submit a collection of your work in one electronic or print format
  • Presentations: you may be given advanced notice so that you can prepare for your subject matter-specific presentation; for some positions, mostly in the sales industry, you may be expected to give impromptu pitches
  • Questionnaires or tests/examinations: testing is often used for civil service positions, but you may find companies asking you to complete personality, aptitude or cognitive tests
  • Social Security number requests: read About.com’s guide to social security requests
  • Statements of purpose: this type of essay is typically reserved for academia and is often a summary of your professional beliefs and goals
  • Transcripts: make note if the company requests official or unofficial transcripts; official transcripts typically are requested through the Records and Registration department of your school and may need to be mailed directly to a specific address, which takes time
  • Writing or research samples: depending on the position, you may be asked for specific accomplished works such as articles, research papers, theses or other samples

The most important application step, though, is to submit exactly what is requested in the exact format in the time-frame expected.  You must follow directions carefully and submit each and every item, but if you have questions about what to submit, clarify the information with the employer or bounce your ideas off a knowledgeable collaborator.

Most of the time, the application process is straightforward and known.  There are specific industries, companies and managers who want to see more in-depth material from you.  These application requests, used throughout the application and interview time-frames, can be surprising.  It is best that you be aware of these more unusual requests and be prepared to respond to anything that comes your way.

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 and with Career Services for nine years.

Alumni Career Spotlight: Jez Kenyon

Jez Kenyon, DB 2008

Jez Kenyon graduated in December 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics from ERAU, with minors in Business and Maintenance.  Through the Industry/Career Expo in the fall of 2008, she met AMCOM representatives, setting into motion her future career. Jez has since worked with the Career Services Office, representing AMCOM to recruit other graduating students.

Tell us about your experience with AMCOM and how your career focus has changed since graduation

Like many college seniors, my career plans had changed since freshman year. A lifelong medical problem had worsened, making a military commission look much more unlikely, and I had never really formed a solid plan B. I knew I wanted a career that would utilize the skills I had learned in school and make a contribution. As much as I still wanted to work for the Department of Defense, I didn’t know my options outside of commissioning. Knowing I would realistically not be able to get precisely what I wanted, I narrowed my basic criteria down to three things: work-related travel, pursuit of higher education, and opportunities for advancement. When I learned about the opportunities working as an Army Civilian for the Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL, it was hard to believe I had found everything I had wanted in a career in one package.

My first two years with AMCOM were spent as an intern. The first year was very training intensive, including four months at Fort Lee, VA learning about Army logistics; base visits; Defense Acquisition University; job series training; and networking. The second year was spent on the job in my assigned office applying what I had learned to my job as an Equipment Specialist.

During the training portion of the internship, leaders from various offices at AMCOM formed a panel to determine which interns would be sent to which offices after completing training. I was selected to work in the UH-60 Technical Data Division, working on a wide variety of technical and maintenance related issues affecting the Black Hawk fleet. Now that I have graduated from the intern program, I am still working in the same office, where I have learned a lot about the business and management aspects of aircraft maintenance and get to work regularly with new technology and deal with military aircraft hands-on.

In the few short years I have been with AMCOM, I have already had many amazing opportunities I never would have had anywhere else. I have been able to travel to many new locations and shadow a SES (Senior Executive Service- Army civilian equivalent of a general officer) for a day, while working on my master’s degree. I have received two significant promotions and participated in several “side-project” assignments, allowing me to interact with leadership and directly support soldiers. One of the most rewarding side projects was participating in recruitment at Embry-Riddle. After learning to be the interviewer rather than the interviewee, I was part of a two-person recruiting team at Embry-Riddle. Hearing students and alumni share their accomplishments and best qualities and then being able to offer jobs to deserving people in a slow economy is a truly gratifying experience. Now that I have the career I had been searching for, I can set my sights on specific positions I want and pursue training and developmental assignments in which I want to participate. Success is my ultimate objective.

How has your Embry-Riddle degree opened doors for you in your career?

At Embry-Riddle, you hear a lot about how small the aviation world really is and the notion of “the Embry-Riddle name.” It only took a few weeks of working at AMCOM for me to see how true that is. My intern class had received a pre-brief about an upcoming trip to Fort Rucker. Upon learning that I was from ERAU and had been through the maintenance program, the briefer pulled me aside later to tell me how many unique opportunities I would have throughout my career, given my background. He mentioned that the commander at Rucker was an ERAU alum himself. Fast-forward a few days later, my intern classmate and I were in a conference room at Rucker where the commander had taken the time to brief us himself on base operations. After completing the briefing, the commander left the room for a few minutes, then abruptly came back in the room saying, “I just got off the phone with one of my counterparts at Redstone – is there an Embry-Riddle alum in this room?”  He went on to talk about his time at ERAU and how many successful fellow alumni he had met throughout his career. As I was still homesick for my life at Riddle, it warmed by heart to see that even decades after receiving his commission there, he was still proud of his alma mater. Only three weeks into my AMCOM career, this was the first of many encounters I had with high level leadership that had graduated from Embry-Riddle. Fellow alums are always eager to approach me after finding out I went to their school. Corny as it may sound, there is always an immediate, special connection meeting someone at work with the shared experience and love of aviation.

As promised, the “Embry-Riddle name” does get you places. Having that degree on my resume has opened up doors to new responsibilities and opportunities, often before meeting the person making the offer.

Almost everyone that works in any kind of aviation field, and especially military aviation, knows about Embry-Riddle. Carrying my education with me, I feel like it is expected of me to have a lot of aviation knowledge on a wide variety of aircraft: military, general aviation, corporate, and commercial- from many different aspects- e.g. maintenance, business, pilot’s perspective, safety, materials, etc.- and I am eager to prove them right! Even though I have far less work experience than the majority of the workforce here, I have found that I have much more aviation knowledge than many of my peers. Many universities offer technical management degrees, but Embry-Riddle is the only school that immerses its students in all aspects of the aviation industry and turns out graduates with hands-on technical experience, which is crucial on the job. I 100 percent believe that I received a world class aviation education.

What career advice do you have for upcoming or recent grads currently seeking work?

1. Go for experience, not money.  The economy is rough but if you are weighing different options, pick a job or internship with a well-known company or organization, which will look good on your resume no matter where you end up, even if it doesn’t pay the most.  Employers want people that add value to their organization. Bring a wide variety of training, education, and skills that many organizations lack, but that is vital to the operation. As long as you are responsible with your credit, don’t focus on your current paycheck. Focus on self-development early on; you have the rest of your career to make a lot of money.

2. Take schoolwork seriously. If you are still in school, imagine every course you take is the only preparation you have for a job starting at the end of the semester. Even if you are sure it has nothing to do with your future career field, learn everything you can and keep your grades up. Your GPA could be the difference in thousands of dollars in your starting salary or even determine if you get the job or not. College grades do matter.

3. If no job offers, get another degree. The job market is competitive. A bachelor’s degree may not be enough to get noticed by the organization you want to work for. If you haven’t received any offers, look into a Master’s degree (or a second Bachelor’s, if you are unable to get a Master’s).  Don’t pick a degree that sounds fun, choose one that is versatile and will give you the most leverage in the field you are seeking.

4. Don’t limit yourself geographically. The last place I ever thought I would live is Huntsville, AL, but if I had limited myself to staying in Florida or moving back to the west coast, I would have missed out on an amazing opportunity. Even if you don’t like the location, you might have the opportunity to move later on, use the experience for another job or take a position that gives you more geographical freedom.

5. Spend personal time on career development. You should always be honing your skills no matter where you are in your career, but if you are a student or recent grad, use your free time to learn everything you can about your field. Read, research, make connections and find someone to teach you valuable skills. If you can’t bear to deal with the subject on your own time, you may be heading into the wrong field. Experience and knowledge really pay off.

6. Set benchmarks. Make long-term and short-term goals for yourself. Short-term goals should be a stepping stone to achieve your long-term goals. This will help you develop a plan to get where you want and avoid procrastinating. If you have sent out a lot of resumes but have heard nothing back, you may need to change your approach.

7. Prepare for interviews. I’ve had the privilege of participating in several interviews. It’s surprising how many people don’t prepare. Being poorly prepared is obvious to the interviewer, so spend some time on the Internet looking for interview tips and practice your response to some generic interview questions. It is very important- for interviews and personally- to know your strengths and weaknesses. That question almost always comes up in some form or another in an interview. Prepare for this question. Don’t give generic responses about your strengths, really think it through. Absolutely DO NOT say you have no weaknesses. It is not true for anybody and makes you look grossly unprepared. Be honest about your weaknesses, but turn them into opportunities. Tell the interviewer how you work on your weaknesses to turn them into strengths.

8. Pay attention to personal appearance. No matter what we are told as children, people do judge a book by its cover. Even if you have a lot of great qualifications, you need to put your best foot forward to show that you can represent your future organization positively by maintaining a clean, professional appearance. There are plenty of articles to read on personal appearance in the work place and especially for interviews. Take note. Colors that clash, ill-fitting clothes and messy or dirty hair can be extremely distracting to an interviewer and can overshadow your positive features. When in doubt, wear black and keep your hair out of your face. At AMCOM, our mentors always say “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

What are your plans for the future?

Knowing that I want to stay with AMCOM makes planning for the future much easier. I will be completing my Master of Business Administration degree in Summer 2012, and I don’t plan to stop there. I want to make the most of every educational opportunity afforded to me, and with the Army the options are practically endless. I also look forward to having many more travel opportunities in the U.S. and particularly overseas, both for work and personal travel. I hope to participate in several (voluntary) deployments over the years, as a part of personal and career development alike. I look around constantly for opportunities to better myself as a person, because I know it will help me succeed not only at work but in my own life as well. I have already been blessed with so much: at 23 have been a homeowner for nearly a year, been able to make many trips back home to Seattle and to Los Angeles and live my life independently. I can honestly say I feel completely fulfilled in my career and personal life. I look forward to implementing and fine-tuning my leadership skills as I hold different positions at AMCOM. Being a part of AMCOM has been a gift in many ways, and I plan to seize every opportunity and help as many others as I can, while enjoying this life to the fullest.

Revamp Your Resume in 2012

by Kristy Amburgey

With the ringing in of the New Year, you probably have come up with a list of things to accomplish and set your goals.  You are ready to devote yourself to your new resolutions (gym time, anyone?).  I have one suggestion to add to your list.  The New Year is a great time to refresh your resume and give it a New Year’s makeover or makeunder.

You should be prepared at all times to share your resume, regardless of whether you are actively, passively or not looking for new opportunities. Here are a few ideas to guide you through your resume refresh.

  • Make general updates: ensure that things such as addresses/contact information, career focuses, employment dates, graduation dates, memberships, responsibilities and more are up-to-date; if you don’t have anything to revise, it may be time to create a resolution to learn a new software program, ask for another responsibility or complete a professional growth action item
  • Review your format: research the many resume formats to ensure that your document fits your career field and conveys who you are; consider revising your format for the entire document or just a few sections to really highlight what you can offer; if nothing else, update the first section of your resume after your name and address information – this area is a great place to add a headline or summary
  • Prioritize your sections: review the order of your resume to see if the sections are prioritized based on the impression you want to leave with the reader; the sections you want an employer to see should be listed on the first page, prioritizing from top to bottom
  • Work on your customization: integrate key words and ideas from job descriptions and add them to your resume in strategic locations
  • Cut down on excess wording: eliminate resume filler, which can include irrelevant tasks, overly used buzzwords or anything that does not further your candidacy for the specific job
  • Edit your resume: update your resume for each and every job you pursue
  • Complete a read-through: thoroughly go over your resume again and again to catch any grammatical errors or clarity issues; read the document out loud to ensure it makes sense

Although your resume may be the more visible job search tool, you should also review and revamp your LinkedIn profile, career management and job search site profiles, blogs, websites, etc. to reflect any changes you make on the resume to ensure consistency.

From job seekers to the employed, everyone should take the time to complete a review of their resumes every few months.  But use the beginning of 2012 to accomplish this New Year’s resolution.

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 and with Career Services for nine years.

Hey You! Connect with Me!

by Kristy Amburgey

Career practitioners talk about networking.  A lot.  It is for good reason that we focus so much of our attention on this subject.  Networking gets results.  When it comes right down to it, it is investing in networking relationships that often yields the best results.  Schmoozing is about quick conversations turned into even quicker professional interactions.  Successful networking, though, is a time-tested and fully committed relationship that can benefit both parties involved.  These relationships are your “connect with me” but “let’s truly get to know each other” connections.

Throwing out invites to network may help you gain a foothold in a company, and that is valuable.  But now comes the true test of a networking partnership: taking the relationship to the next level.  What is that next level?  It’s having a solid relationship with someone to where the person is willing and able to attest to your abilities, accomplishments and professionalism (in more casual language, sticking his or her neck out for you), and you are able to do the same for your connection.  It is a relationship built on mutual respect and a desire to help each other succeed.

You may already have these mutually beneficial relationships developed.  Faculty, fellow classmates, team members, co-workers and supervisors have seen you in action and hopefully are willing to support you through your job search.  These close connections should be nurtured and maintained throughout your professional career.  Keep your close relationships informed about your accomplishments and future goals through quarterly emails, quick updates via social media and coffee dates.  You can share articles and news-worthy information with them, and you may even want to request professional feedback and advice.

For connections who don’t have close interactions with you, develop opportunities for them to see you in action.  Volunteering, working on short-term projects, staying connected, sharing feedback via social media and more can put you in situations where others can see how valuable and knowledge you are.

Maintaining your relationships is a top priority, but you should also identify how you can meet new connections.  This step is easy; meet people in any capacity you can, including PTO gatherings, professional organizations, chance encounters, interoffice meetings and more.  Meeting others via long distance networking can be challenging, but resources such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ provide outlets for gathering new friends and nurturing existing relationships.

In addition to throwing out the “connect with me” request, you should devote time getting to know people and allowing them to get to know you.  Networking is a lifelong professional goal, and it is built on relationships that stand up to weak economies, cyclical industries, distance and changes.  Networking is about investing in yourself by building strong relationships with others.

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 and with Career Services for nine years.

Job Search Resolutions for the New Year

A new year brings new possibilities and a renewed sense of hope and motivation. Now that the holiday decorations are put away, it’s time to start thinking about the things you are going to do this year to find the job or internship that you want and get the offer.  Here are some general tips to help get you started.

  • Develop and maintain a positive outlook and attitude. If you have a negative attitude, this can be tough and may require some work on your part. But keep in mind that people want to surround themselves with others who make them feel good. If you come across in an interview as a negative person, even if you are the most qualified person for the job, you probably won’t get it. Affirmations and positive self-talk can work wonders for your emotional well-being (and your job prospects).
  • Break down your job search into small, quantifiable tasks.
  • Make sure that the goals you set are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) – keep track of your progress daily, weekly, and monthly to help you stay on track (to make this easier, download the Job Search Toolkit)
  • Identify someone who will hold you accountable for attaining your goals and keeping your commitments.
  • Reward yourself for successes, regardless of how big or small they are. This will help keep you motivated.

Resources to get you started:

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