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.