Dress Professionally for Interview Success

by Kristy Amburgey

You have researched the company with which you will be interviewing.  You Job-Interview-Dressing-for-Successhave practiced your answers to interview questions.  You have printed out your resume.  You have thank you cards for after the interview.  You are ready to conquer that interview!  But did you think about what you will wear during the interview process?  What you wear makes a distinct first impression, so you want to dress in the most professional and fitting attire for your interview situation.  For many of the career fields within aviation and aerospace, conservative attire is key.  For other career fields, you may find that less formal business dress is appropriate.

Suit

A business suit is the most appropriate attire for an interview.  For both men and women, a suit conveys authority, power and professionalism.  Suits should fit well and be altered or tailored as needed.  Ladies can wear either pant or skirt suits, but the skirt must hit at or below the knee.  Suit colors can vary, but the most conservative color palettes are navy, grey and soft black; dark colors are best when selecting a suit.

Shirt

The shirt you wear under your suit should also be subdued in color and fit.  Gentlemen should wear a long-sleeved, button down shirt.  Ladies can wear button down shirts as well; other choices include knit, rayon, silk or other smooth fabric shirts with a neckline appropriate for an office setting.  The recommended colors of the shirts are white, off white or light blue.  Other shirt colors can be considered, but it is best to be conservative in your choice.  Fit is just as important in a shirt as in a suit.  Ensure that the neckline, sleeves and length fit well and select shirts that do not pull or gap down the front.

Tie

Gentlemen should wear ties with their suits and long-sleeved shirts.  The tie should be in a restrained pattern or a solid that complements the colors of the shirt and suit.

Shoes and Socks/Stockings

Shoes are also an important piece of an interview outfit and can convey a distinct message about how you present yourself.  Always wear clean, polished, un-scuffed shoes that are for a professional work environment.  Gentlemen, wing-tips and lace-ups are common dress shoes and considered professional.  Ladies, closed-toe flats and heels are appropriate; keep the heel height to no more than two to three inches.  If wearing socks, the color should match your pants or shoes.  Ladies, it is recommended that you wear pantyhose when wearing a skirt suit.

Accessories

Gentlemen, a belt, braces, tie bar, cuff links, jewelry, a watch and other accessories can be appropriate.  Just limit the number of pieces you wear to avoid distracting the interviewers.  Ladies can also wear accessories like jewelry and a watch; ensure that the jewelry enhances your look without overwhelming you.

Grooming

Good hygiene and grooming are just as imperative as what you wear.  Pay attention to the small details that can make you look and feel ready for the interview. Ensure that your nails are clean and you are showered and fresh.  Ladies, get touch ups on any outgrown hair color or highlights and select hair styles that will prevent you from playing with strands during the interview.  Makeup should be muted but enhance your look, if you choose to wear it.  Gentlemen, trim facial hair if applicable and ensure your hair has been recently cut and is neat.

There are certain things to avoid when dressing for an interview.  Avoid wearing clothes that are too revealing or too ill-fitting.  Don’t wear pieces with stains, rips, missing buttons or other issues that convey you don’t care about your appearance.  Avoid strong colognes, perfumes and other smells that not everyone appreciates.  Fresh breath is always a benefit; avoid drinking strong beverages or smoking right before an interview.

For the ladies and gentlemen, there are some alternatives to interview dress.  Ladies, you can wear a dress and suit jacket combination.  Gentlemen, for certain industries, you can wear a pair of slacks with a navy blazer and button-down shirt with tie.  At times, certain career fields will find a pressed polo shirt and ironed khaki pants appropriate.

It is important to always research the industry, field and company to identify their standards for interview attire.  For an interview, it is best to dress above the standard of what your future employer would consider professional dress.

Please visit the Career Services Pinterest group and peruse the What to Wear – Men, What to Wear – Women and What Not to Wear – Men and Women boards for ideas on professional dress.

For both the Prescott, AZ  (October 3) and Daytona Beach, FL (October 9) Industry/Career Expos, professional dress is required.  Over the summer, plan your Expo event attire.

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.

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Your Guide to a Job Search

by Kristy Amburgey

Jobs

Your job search begins as soon as you select a degree program to pursue, a new career path or an expanded role within your current realm of expertise.  Your job search should encompass a variety of activities, including research and preparation, self-evaluation, networking, etc. until you actually have a job in hand.  Even then, you should continue to grow your professional knowledge and connections to further your career until you reach your ultimate goal.

Identify Career Paths and Options

Any job search begins with an understanding of what you hope to do professionally in your life.   As you make decisions about your future, consider various career paths and options that match your personal and professional goals and personality.  Opportunities can range from positions directly related to your courses of study or not related to your degree but that use the skills you learned in college.   You can have one career path in mind, or you might be open to several different options.

Research Jobs and Companies of Interest

After you have determined the job type you want to pursue, you now want to find out the various job titles that encompass your career path, and you need to identify the companies that offer these roles.  In addition, you want to learn about the companies’ expectations, what the job requires of candidates (at a minimum) and what the job would entail, matching it to your preferences.  Be sure to get a realistic picture of who the company typically hires for your desired role and how both your background and your personality fit that job.  Make informed career decisions based on accurate research you have conducted.

Create a Targeted Company List

Any job search should be focused (avoid the “I will take anything” approach).  One way you can focus your search and help yourself down the road is to develop a targeted company list.  The list can be as long or as short as you want, but it should be focused on the companies that offer the job or an iteration of the job you want.  Your company list should evolve as you continue through school, find new companies and gain new interests; routinely monitor your list.  Don’t be afraid to go outside of your targeted companies to find opportunities, but you should do your due diligence on the company before applying to jobs.

 Prepare Job Search Documentation

Using your resume, cover letter and other documentation, your goal is to prove you can not only do the job but positively impact the company’s bottom line.  Focus your resume and cover letter on one job type at a time, customizing the resume using the job description as you apply for positions.  Ensure that each part of your resume is focused on showcasing your accomplishments by listing outcomes and results of your experiences (from work to academic to project).  Quantify your accomplishments as often as possible using dollar amounts, numbers and percentages.  Avoid using terminology (i.e. fluff) that gives employers no real useful information upon which to make a decision about you as a candidate.  As always, proper grammar, accurate information, consistency, clean formatting and ease of reading are all important factors in your job search documents.

Consider Additional Skills, Trainings and/or Certifications

Going back to the career path research you completed, you should have an understanding of what a company expects from their candidates.  If you are not sure, check out a variety of job descriptions or ask your professors or people in your network.  If you are missing a requirement, take the time to complete it before graduating, if possible.  If you must wait to obtain additional skills or trainings, have a timeline for when you hope to accomplish them.

Gain Relevant Experience and Skills

Relevant experience can come in a variety of forms, including co-op/internship positions, projects, research, job/summer jobs/part-time positions, on-campus clubs or organizations, volunteer work, conferences and professional organizations, to name a few.  Through any experience, you should work to further develop your leadership, communication, initiative, analysis and other skills that apply to any job type (also called transferable skills).

Maintain a List of Achievements and Accomplishments

In order to accurately communicate your accomplishments, you need to keep track of them.  Maintain a list of things you achieved in any academic, work, group or other experience.

Network

In reality, networking is an action that you began early in your life.  Now it is time to build your network into a more formal support system for your job search and professional growth.  You can build relationships in any number of ways, but you want to place yourself in situations where you can make a positive impression on a future employer or future advocate.  Brainstorm about ways you can connect with others; do not fall into the trap of assuming you know no one.  Your network may fall outside of the job type you are pursuing, but keep an open mind about building relationships with people from all professional backgrounds.

Apply for Positions

Approximately six months to one year before graduation, begin to apply for positions, especially for entry-level candidates.  Some career types are more likely to hire as needed, so you may need to wait closer until you are degree complete to pursue a job.   As you apply for positions, you must gain insight into how the company selects candidates to interview, always following directions.  Many companies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), where the system scans your resume for key words before being viewed by a hiring manager.  In these cases, you must reverse engineer or integrate key words from the job description and your knowledge of the company into your resume and cover letter.  Another important reminder is to keep track of the positions for which you applied.

Interview

Interviewing skills need to be developed and practiced.  Prepare for an interview situation by researching the company, understanding the position, having stories to relay during the interview and giving evidence of how you can help solve the company’s problems.  Practice your interview skills by reviewing and answering sample questions, either with a partner or by planning out your answers.  Ensure you have questions to ask the employer and always put your most professional self forward, from your dress to how you present yourself.

Follow-up

After an interview, networking event or other activity where a person helps you, follow up.  A thank you note or email is appropriate, and a phone call or other act of kindness can be nice as well.  Avoid contacting a person too often as they will soon lose their desire to help you, or you may even lose out on the job after an interview if you are too persistent.

Understand the Salary Process

Once you are offered a job, you will also be extended a salary and benefits package.  Typically, you want to avoid talking about salary until you have been offered the job; only if a company requests the information should you provide an expected salary, preferably as a range.  Once you have been extended the job with salary, you can decide to accept, negotiate or decline the offer.  Understand that factors such as your negotiation strategies, your worth, the cost of living, the company’s salary standards and more impact your offer.  Ensure you understand what you bring to the negotiation table if you decide to ask for more money or benefits and always thoroughly research the typical salary ranges for your industry, for the company and for your job type.

And Network More

Networking should be an ongoing activity in any professional career.  Never stop meeting new people and growing current relationships.  Most employers prefer to hire someone who has been recommended to them, so make sure you continue to place yourself in a position to be the recommended candidate.

A job search is a personal journey, but there are some common steps that you should take to put yourself in the best situation for job search success.

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.

Save the Date: Industry/Career Expo, Daytona Beach, FL Campus

Students and alumni of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University are invited to attend the 2013 Industry/Career Expo on the Daytona Beach campus.  The event is on Wednesday, October 9 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Fall 2013 Save the Expo Date (blog) small

Students and alumni, information can be found here.  Employers, you can find information and registration instructions here.

Evaluating Job Offers

by Kristy Amburgey

youre hiredWith salary being the important aspect of a job offer for the majority of people, the other parts of the employment package often get lost amid the dollar signs.  Instead of just seeing dollars, it important to evaluate the other factors of a job offer, in addition to salary, that can have a major impact on your decision to accept, negotiate or reject a job offer.  You need to consider all parts of your job offer, including what the company is offering and how the job and commitment will impact you personally.

The company’s job offer and benefits package needs to be thoroughly examined before making any job offer acceptance or rejection decision.  Consider these aspects of what the company may offer you to compensate you for your work.

Salary

The bottom line dollar amount is important to evaluate.  Know if the salary amount offered meets your needs and coincides with your career progression plans.  Understand if you will be paid hourly or if you will receive a specific salary regardless of the hours you put in per week.  The dollar amount should be a top priority when making your decision, but don’t forget the many other elements.

Other Financial Compensation

Companies also reward their employees in other ways, including bonuses, awards, commission or comp time.  For anyone working on commission or receiving bonuses, know how your employer will withhold taxes on this financial compensation.

Health Insurance

Health insurance is another key part of your job offer.  Some employers cover a large percentage of your health insurance while some companies will have you pay a chunk of money. You also need to ask yourself if you like the health insurance plan(s) offered.   There is a difference between a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) and a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) among others; know the difference and how it will impact you.  Dental and vision can be offered but not at all companies, so you may need to spend extra money to get both of these plans.

Retirement Plans

Retirement plans are important as companies often contribute to programs such as a 401k, 403b and other savings plans.  Some companies still offer pensions, and others might be involved in IRAs.  Stock options or profit sharing are other benefits that companies can offer as part of your retirement compensation.

Other Benefits

Benefits can range from flexible spending accounts to child care discounts and from educational benefits to life insurance.  Tele-working can also be a perk to your job package.  As you evaluate your offer, consider how each benefit will impact you financially and whether or not it is truly a benefit to you.

Vacation Time and Sick Leave

Everyone needs the option to have time to conduct their personal business, take advantage of a much needed break or stay at home with an illness.  If you accrue vacation leave, make sure you understand how much time you earn a pay period.  If you get a set amount of time, know if that time increases the longer you are employed by the organization.  Another element of this benefit is holiday time off; know what days you automatically have off of work.

Perks

Perks are those extra benefits that can make life more convenient for you.  Travel benefits, on-site dry cleaning pick up, a cafeteria with free food, a company fitness center, freebies/discounts  and more can be options for your perks package, but you need to decide how important these are to you and if you consider them benefits.

In addition to looking at the job offer and benefits package, you must also evaluate how the new job will impact you in other ways like your personal and professional happiness.

Company Culture

Each company has a distinct culture that can greatly impact your personal satisfaction and growth.  Some companies have reputations of being fun and playful.  These types of companies often tout their extra perks that make life a bit more convenient, and they like to encourage having fun at work.  Some companies are much more serious and conservative in nature.  You need to decide what you want in a company culture to better ensure your satisfaction with the environment and your ability to grow within the company.

Work-Life Balance

Finding your ideal work-life balance in a job can be difficult.  You don’t want to come across as not willing to put in the work, but you don’t want to neglect your personal commitments either.  As you decide on a new job, ensure that you understand the expectations the company will have on your time, specifically your “outside” time.  Are you expected to work weekends or evenings, and will this conflict with other obligations you have?

Relocation

Relocation is also an important topic.  Will the company help you cover any costs if you must move, and how much will the move cost you personally?  Also consider how a move will impact you and your family as you settle into a new community.

Community

If you move to a new area, you need to look at the community in which you will be living and working.  Does the community have the amenities that you both need and want?  Also remember that the state, county and/or city in which you live may impose additional taxes on you outside of federal taxes.

Commute

Your commute to work affects your work-life balance and has a financial impact on you.  How much gas will you need for the week, or how much is your train ticket?  Do you have to pay for parking, or does the company cover that?  Is there an optional shuttle service, or are you sitting in your car for a long period of time?

As you delve deep in your job and benefits offer, you need to look at the various aspects of your offer package, not just the base salary.  While that dollar amount is the easiest way to interpret a “good” offer, you need to also look at how an offer will impact you personally, understanding how the job and job offer fits into your current and future goals.

Do you want to know what other graduates are seeking when looking for employment?  Check out the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) article titled, New College Grads Seek Annual Salary Increases Over Healthcare Benefits.

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.

Save the Date: Industry/Career Expo, Prescott, AZ Campus

Students and alumni of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University are invited to attend the 2013 Industry/Career Expo on the Prescott, Arizona, campus.  The event is on Thursday, October 3 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

PR Expo

Students, alumni and employers, information can be found here.  Employers, you can register here.

The Art of Having Confidence

by Valerie Kielmovitch

confidenceConfidence!  This is something that you cannot purchase or steal.  You cannot gain it overnight and it cannot be given as a gift.  Confidence takes time to acquire through personal experiences, knowledge, skills, and abilities. 

Gaining confidence begins with inward reflection.  Assessing your positive attributes help you portray confidence.  In addition, your outward appearance adds to developing a strong self-esteem. The art of having confidence is combining your internal assessments and portraying your traits outwardly. Confidence is an important part of everyone’s life, but it is especially important for those seeking a job or internship.

The job or internship search really shakes even the most confident person.  Apply to numerous job postings, interviewing for only a few, and then not getting offered a position can hurt one’s ego.  It is important, however, to maintain confidence throughout the job/internship search process because if an employer suspects a person has low self-confidence or low self-esteem, why would the employer want to hire him or her?

Below are some suggestions to keep your morale high during this tough process:

  • Make a list of your strengths and achievements – This list can be reviewed often to help maintain confidence.  Look it over right before you interview as it will help you focus on your best traits.
  • Talk to yourself in the mirror – Take time every day to tell yourself about your great qualities.
  • Ask for reassurance from loved ones – Those who are special in your life probably have a million wonderful qualities they love about you.  Ask them to remind you every so often to keep your confidence high.
  • Seek feedback after an interview – After interviewing with a company in which you thought you did extremely well, but were not selected for the position, ask the employer for some feedback.  There are so many contributing factors that go into a hiring decision that it might be beyond your realm of control.
  • Take time for yourself – During this hectic process, make sure you take plenty of ‘me’ time.  Participate in a hobby you enjoy or try a new activity.  Taking your mind off the mundane process every so often can help you maintain your confidence.
  • Seek others in the same situation – You probably know a few other people going through this same process.  Take time to discuss strategies and even hardships with them.

Confidence in a job/internship search comes from knowing that you are following the correct steps.  Take time to perfect your resume, cover letter, and other application materials.  Practice your interview skills through Perfect Interview (can be found on your main EagleHire Network once you logged in).  Use the Career Services advice and resources to ensure you are putting your best foot forward.  For more helpful information, please visit our website: careers.erau.edu.

Throughout this process, you must maintain confidence in yourself and maintain confidence that the right position is out there for you.  Helen Keller said it best “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.  Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” 

Valerie Kielmovitch has been working as a Program Manager in the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for the past 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.

Alumni Career Spotlight: Christopher Higgs

Christopher Higgs graduated from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Chris HiggsBachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering program in May 2011.  During his tenure at Embry-Riddle, he completed three internships with Raydon Corporation, The Boeing Company and MWH Americas.  He was also actively involved on campus with the Student Government Association (SGA), the O-Team, Omicron Delta Kappa, Sigma Gamma Tau and Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity: Florida Mu Chapter, among others.  He is currently working for The Boeing Company, completing his rotations in the Engineering Career Foundation Program (ECFP).

Tell us about the Boeing Engineering Career Foundation Program.

The Boeing Engineering Career Foundation Program (ECFP) is a two year leadership development and rotational engineering assignment that consists of six different four month rotations that span the Commercial, Defense, Research & Testing components at Boeing, whilst exposing its participants to the various stages of the product lifecycle.

What has been your favorite rotation so far and why?

That’s a difficult question to answer. At the point of writing this, I have rotated through five different groups at Boeing, each one providing a fantastic and memorable experience. One of my first groups had me blowing stuff up (stuff being the technical term) with plastic explosives, which ridiculously enough, resulted in a patent application. Another group sent me on a wind tunnel test in Farnborough, England.

If I had to choose just one, I would say my favorite is my current rotation, Sales & Marketing for the North East Asia region. Now this may sound somewhat blasphemous from an engineer, but the Sales arena is truly a confluence of engineering, business and customer interaction, a complex relationship that I find fascinating.

In what ways have your internship experiences helped you to be successful up to this point in your career?

A career does not materialize from nothing; it builds incrementally over time, one block after another. A key cornerstone at the base of that structure is your degree, while another is your internship experience. The internships I undertook while in college were fundamental to my marketability upon graduating; I never would have landed my dream entry-level position in Boeing’s engineering rotation program if I was unable to leverage industry experience during my application. In fact, the Engineering Career Foundation Program only hires from the Boeing intern pool.

To continue my Jenga-esque metaphor, this position is yet another block on which I will continue to build my career…without key pieces, like internship experience, your career (or tower) is more susceptible to toppling over.

Do you have any advice for graduates who may want to consider participating in a rotational program such as the Boeing Engineering Career Foundation Program?

Jenga! Ahem…I will be continuing with this metaphor. Rotation programs are typically very competitive, and the successful job hunting graduate will have several blocks on which to build their application. Again, solid performance in one’s degree program is fundamental, as is participating in internships to build industry experience. A third block, one that I feel made the difference in my application, is nothing new or unheard of. In fact, the first time I heard it was day one of orientation, freshman year… and again every day since: GET INVOLVED!

Companies, like Boeing, look for well rounded individuals; technical expertise 747-8I First FlightK65204-04from your degree and internships is critical, but the differentiating factor tends to be proving leadership at a collegiate level. Whether that is being a part of the Student Government, on the executive board of a Fraternity or Sorority, a project leader for an honor society or some combination of the above, this experience shows that you can operate in a team environment and work with others towards a common goal. That and listen to Mark Lyden’s 7 Steps!

The New Social Media on the Block: Pinterest

By Amy Treutel

Pinning.  It’s a common word that has spread like wildfire thanks to the up andPinterest-Logo-Tag-Cloud1 coming social media sensation, Pinterest.  Pinterest is an image-based social media that centers around virtual pinboards.  Users create accounts to follow these online boards, “pin” graphics to their own boards and like and comment on others’ pins.  Pinterest is a great platform to begin visually building your personal brand.

Most people who are familiar with Pinterest know it as a way to pin their favorite quotes, dream homes, cute animals, party ideas and cleaning tips.  While Pinterest is, in fact, great for pinning all of the above items, let’s consider some options on how to use Pinterest professionally to attract employers and help build your brand.

  • Start by following Career Services on Pinterest!  There are a multitude of resources on the various boards we have pinned.  Go ahead and use some of these for inspiration to get yourself started.
  • Follow different companies in which you are interested.  See what they’ve pinned on their boards and comment on some of their individual pins that resonate with you.  Please keep in mind, however, that if you aspire to work at a company, keep your comments extremely professional in nature.
  • Pin your interests.  Pinterest gives potential employers more of a personal insight into your life, and while, yes, you do want to show them you are a capable professional, different hobbies and interests you have can show them you live a well-balanced life.  They might even find something they have in common with you.
  • Use the text boxes associated with each pin effectively.  If you’re going to pin a mirage of images, give an explanation as to why you found that image useful or how it inspired you.  Remember, people (and employers) looking at your boards cannot read your mind, so tell them why it is important you pinned what you did.
  • Follow career experts on Pinterest.  That is one of the easiest ways for you to keep up with hiring trends and learn useful information regarding the job search and interview process.  And as an added bonus, infographics are a great visual learning tool that many of these career experts use, so getting the information is quick and efficient.

One important thing to note about Pinterest, however, is it is vital to continuously update your boards to keep your brand fresh.  Repin others’ pins and like their boards to help keep yourself relevant.  When you find an interesting article while browsing the internet, take a couple of extra seconds and immediately pin it to your corresponding board.  That way if an employer is searching for you on social media, they will see you are up-to-date on current events and take an active role in keeping your brand fresh.

As with all social media, it is very important to protect your privacy.  Please view the Career Services Social Media Privacy Guide for some tips.

Amy Treutel has a Bachelor of Science in Air Traffic Management and a Master of Science degree in Aeronautics with a specialization in Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  She currently works as the Office Associate and has been part of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Career Services team for over five years.

Alumni Career Spotlight: Michael Raynard Mayberry

Michael Raynard Mayberry graduated from the Worldwide Campus of Embry-Michael MayberryRiddle Aeronautical University in March 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics and minors in Aviation Safety and Management. Michael then went on to pursue a Master of Aeronautical Science in the specialty fields of Aviation/Aerospace Safety Systems and Aviation/Aerospace Operations, graduating in May 2012.

Michael is a retired U.S. Navy Combat Veteran who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism. In August 2007, Michael joined the civilian workforce at Flightstar Aircraft Services (FAS) as an Avionics Specialist. During his time at FAS, he continued his education path by completing his undergraduate and master degrees. He didn’t stop there. His focus was to use his military experience and college education to land a position in Safety, Quality, or Operations. With the help of Career Services resources, he was able to build a government resume that detailed each career field for which he wanted to apply. Within time, the interviews started coming forth. On August 30, 2010, Michael started work with the Federal Government, Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) as an Aircraft Quality Assurance Engineer.

Michael is an active leader in his community of Orange Park, FL. He’s a member of West Jacksonville Church of God in Christ where he’s a volunteer leader of ReSon to Care Male Mentoring Ministry (ages 6-16) and The Men of Distinction (MOD) Ministry.  Michael has been married to Michelle for 23 years, by whom he fathered two lovely daughters, RayNiesha and Deja.

Michael also serves as the Florida Federation/North Area Director of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. where he was awarded Upsilon Lambda Chapter New Brother of the Year Service Award in 2004 and Brother of the Year in 2005. He served as Chapter President in 2006 and 2007. Since then he has held numerous chapter executive positions.

With your background in aviation safety, avionics and quality engineering, what career advice do you have for people seeking employment in these areas?

Stay with what you know!! Most military personnel have multiple skills, and it’s quite okay to have multiple skillsets since it gives you more opportunities to land a job. The fields of Safety and Quality have similar backgrounds, so that made it much easier to build my government resume with keywords for the electronic resume systems. My undergraduate studies at Tennessee State University were Technical Aeronautics within Industrial Engineering. The ERAU Professional Aeronautics degree was definitely a refresher in up-to-date studies and programs to prepare me for the civilian sector. Advancing into a master’s program in Aeronautics and Aerospace gave me the opportunity to apply for mid-level career jobs. To sum it all up, the more education and experience you have, the more of an invaluable candidate you are for employment. If you find yourself facing challenges getting employed in one field, customize your resume for another field of study or experience you may have. Any certification courses (such as A&P, ASQ, Lean Six Sigma) that you completed while in the military or college are definitely a plus when seeking employment.

You successfully navigated the federal government application process. What tips do you have for application success?

The federal government resume should be at least five pages, and that can be very difficult for anyone just getting out of college. Prior military personnel can establish a lengthy resume by utilizing their military assignments. I suggest utilizing performance evaluations written in Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) as a key resource. College students should make every attempt to acquire an internship within the federal government. This will get you in the door and establish a federal record. It can take six months to a year to successfully get into the federal government system. It all starts with the resume. If you know someone who is already within the government system, ask that person or contact Human Resources to get a copy of the Job Skillset of your career path. You can also retrieve skillset information from the job descriptions that is within the job announcements on USAJobs. Take advantage of the resources offered by ERAU Career Services.

Networking has been a successful job search technique for you. How have you used networking to obtain employment? What did you do to market yourself to potential employers?

My technique of networking was to compile a list of people I knew within the companies that had my interest. I continued forwarding my resume to each of them with updates and suggestions that were given to me. Each time I received a name via the Industry/Career Expo, internet, telephone, or through referrals, I would add that person to the email when forwarding my resume. It’s good to enter your name into a company’s database so you will be readily available once an announcement posts. I still attend the ERAU Industry/Career Expo and other job fairs every opportunity I get. This is a good way to meet people within Human Resources or representatives from a targeted company. It’s also important to review and update your resume on a monthly basis.

How have your Embry-Riddle degrees opened doors for you?

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is a well-known, respected university in the aviation industry.  Technical skills are in high demand in today’s economy, and a degree from ERAU is priority because of its technical educational studies. Let’s just say a degree from ERAU is priceless.

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