Informational Interviewing for Fact-finding and Networking

By: Sandi Ohman

t1larg_info_interview_tsHave you met someone and thought, “Wow, their job seems very interesting.  I wonder how they got there and what they do in their position.”  If so, then an informational interview is a good way to find out about a career path, position, or company.

Informational interviews are facilitated by the person looking for a career, and the person being interviewed is the person in that career path or specific position.  The interviewer will ask the interviewee questions about his or her job, specific education, experience level and skills needed, challenges and interesting aspects of the position, companies to consider and any other questions about this industry/career path/position.  The end of the interview is a good time to ask the professional being interviewed to review a resume for areas of strength and weakness and what should be focused on to be competitive.

Informational interviewing is also an excellent networking tool.  Professionals are not usually as open to forwarding a resume on to a recruiter or hiring manager unless they have some knowledge of the person.  By beginning a networking relationship with industry professionals through informational interviews, they get to know the person’s interest and skills a little better and feel more comfortable recommending, to HR or a hiring manager, a resume for a position in their company.

Questions to get started:

How should you request an informational interview?  Reaching out to the person directly or being introduced by a mutual third party are two good ways.

If you don’t know someone in the industry, how can you find someone to interview?  Consider reaching out through groups in LinkedIn, such as ERAU Career Services group, ERAU Alumni group, or other professional groups in which you are a member.  Visit eaglesNEST to connect with an industry representative or identify a position you are interested in pursuing.  If you are a Daytona Beach or Prescott student or recent graduate, you can work with your Career Services program manager to see if she has any connections related to your industry/career path.  Finally, don’t overlook professors or administrators at your campus.  They are excellent people to start building your professional network with, to interview if they have worked in the industry and to see if they have recommendations for people with which to conduct informational interviews (and contacts too).

For more information on this topic, visit the Career Services Office website for Informational Interviewing.

Sandi Ohman is the Senior Program Manager in the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  She has been with the university for over 9 years and has advised students in most all degree areas while in Career Services.  Sandi brings additional experience having worked in the finance industry for over 6 years in her previous career.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida, and her Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Florida.


Co-op/Internship Spotlight: Nathalie Quintero

Participated in an amazing internship experience.NQ

Featured in Boeing’s Women in Leadership Association publication as the BWIL Member of the Month.

Successful on-campus leader. 

Nathalie Quintero should certainly be in the spotlight for her various accomplishments.  Nathalie is in the Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach.  She is President of the Society of Women Engineers ERAU Chapter, and she is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.  She participates on the  SAE Women’s BAJA team and is a Women’s Ambassador Program and O-Team member.  As an active student on campus, Nathalie has served as a mentor for various student groups.  Nathalie also spent the summer as an Interior Payloads Configuration 747/767/777 Intern at The Boeing Company in Everett, WA.

Here is what Nathalie had to say about her internship experience.

Having the opportunity to intern with a global corporation, such as The Boeing Company, was an extraordinary experience this summer. This internship not only allowed me to see other possible areas within engineering, but it also allowed me to explore options into engineering management. This internship allowed to create connections and network with different managers along my commodity and different groups across the company. It has been an experience that will definitely benefit my engineering education and my future in the aerospace industry.

As part of the Intern Experience and understanding the customer needs to elaborate new Interior Configuration for our airlines customer, I visited the “Customer Experience Center” (CEC). This center showcases mock-ups of the interior configuration for the 787, 747-8i, 737, 777-300ER. They also have flight deck configuration, where the customer can experience and use a high tech aircraft simulator for the new 747-8i. The photo depicts me flying the new Qantas 747 and understanding flight controls for the new aircraft that is sky rocketing the market of long distance airlines.

CEC Tour 005

What Can I Do On My Internship?

By Sally Richards

72962_10152434783425716_7754667_nWoo-hoo!  You’ve landed an internship where you know you will learn valuable skills to help make you more marketable to the corporate world or other organizations.  Now, what in the world will your daily routine actually look like?

Your daily routine will depend on whether the company you will be doing your internship with is in the aviation, aerospace, or another industry and whether their focus is service, manufacturing and technology, space exploration or product research and development.

Routine or no routine?  Depending on the nature of the business you will work in, your position may be anything but routine and may include responsibilities or activities outside the box.  The requirements of a department or company will determine how varied your work and workload are.  You may be working on single projects as assigned during the semester.  Some may be for a short duration, so you will be tasked with completing multiple projects.  Others will take much longer where you may be working on one major project throughout the semester.

Previous interns have had a myriad of amazing experiences. You could too.
Just imagine!  You could participate in Co-op or Internship where you….

  • On the cutting edge working alongside seasoned engineers for future Falcon 9 launches
  • Dance…on a video made with interns about the JSC Co-op Program…Gangnam style
  • Take-off on an airline charity flight as a mentor for an organization like, “Wish for Kids”
  • Stand on top of Mt. Washington at an altitude of 6,288 feet and run weather data measurements
  • Research and test biomedical exercise equipment for use by NASA astronauts
  • Solve engineering problems and apply appropriate solutions for a general aviation aircraft manufacturer
  • Support an up and coming car manufacturer in creating tests for a bench vehicle in hardware and software. Wire up data acquisition system to controllers on the vehicle for testing.
  • Play in a golf tournament with some executives from the Ivory Tower
  • Work with the powerplant team as well as technicians in the shop and work the entire project from initiation and development to actual prototype in a fuel manifold project
  • Lunch with the CEO of a major U.S. airline
  • Work with Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (ATF) agency and its investigations
  • Attend design reviews with other team members
  • Fly a major commercial airline simulator and potentially earn 14 hours of 777 sim time for your logbook
  • Serve as the flight test engineer for some of the development flights, as well as for the entirety of certification flight process as a new avionics system is being addressed on a Seneca V
  • Instrumental in data collection of all reported accidents and incidents reported by pilots
  • Assist with work on the replica of Curiosity Rover in the “Mars Yard”
  • Fly on an initial flight on the first of a new aircraft series across the pond
  • Assist in designing military tank simulators and weaponry simulators for the U.S. Military
  • Certified to fly right seat in a commuter airlines operation
  • Try on a prototype astronaut suit or ride the vomit comet
  • Help design, build, test, and work as dragster crew for a motorsports company while adhering to safety regulations
  • Work with the Chief of Flight Test for a major helicopter manufacturer
  • Work in wind tunnel testing with a major engine manufacturer
  • Make significant suggestions during the evaluation process of a contamination issue
  • Have a bio written on you for a newsletter published by a major commercial airline manufacturer
  • Travel with department team to other company sites
  • Improve procedures to increase productivity and work quality for Flight Data Analyses and for implementing AQP
  • Write company policies for safety and severe weather
  • Prepare analytical reports
  • Remake the store interfaces on android considering android guidelines
  • Observe and subsequently test your expertise at a firing range for law enforcement agency
  • Assist in setting up a manufacturing production line in China
  • Develop better communication skills with team members
  • Assist as a safety specialist in different workshops
  • Enhance your presentation skills and interaction with other professionals in the field during briefings
  • Research repairs, read manuals, and navigate information systems while understanding manufacturers’ aircraft drawings for a major airline

Previous interns have remarked that their co-ops/internships were the “best experiences ever!” Daytona Beach students, via Blackboard, can read the final co-op/intern papers that each intern writes at the end of a semester of practical work experience to learn their peers’ perception of a company culture and the responsibilities, duties, advantages and disadvantages.  This will give you some foresight about the culture, people and processes used by a company even before you start an internship.

Your initiative, motivation and good attitude can open up doors and windows for you.  With your internship, you’ve begun your journey towards a successful career.

Sally Richards has 30 years of experience in higher education with a proven track record in Career Services. Sally started her career with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Aeronautical Engineering Department.  Currently as the Career Services Cooperative Education/Internship Program Manager, she manages and facilitates operations of the Co-op/Intern Program for the team of Program Managers and ensures adherence of Co-op policies and procedures while overseeing conflict resolution for co-op situations. Her credentials include aviation/airline industry experience in flight recruiting, maintenance planning and passenger service with two major airlines and one regional carrier, as well as studies at Kent State University in Ohio.

Alumni Career Spotlight: Whitney Loubier

Whitney Loubier was born and raised in Fort Myers, Florida, where her family Whitneystill resides. She attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the Daytona Beach campus where she studied Computer Engineering and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in May 2012. In the summer of 2011, Whitney had an internship with The Boeing Company in IT Architecture in Puget Sound, where she worked on applications for cloud as well as telecommunications. During the internship, she applied and interviewed for an engineering rotational program within Boeing called the Engineering Career Foundation Program (ECFP). She was surprised to hear that she would be moving to the Seattle area to start her career with Boeing in ECFP. Whitney began her first rotation in July 2012 on the KC-46 Tanker program in Electrical Subsystems Exterior Lighting, where she worked with suppliers on requirements and design for the dimming controller of the lights. After 4 months, she moved to the next rotation in IT Electrical Systems Electromagnetic Effects where she was a part of an Agile team developing software for electromagnetic effects tools. Whitney is currently in her third rotation in a Boeing Research and Technology Radio Frequency and Microsystems Phased Array Antenna group, where she is involved in a trade study regarding satellite communications.

Can you explain what the Engineering Career Foundation Program at The Boeing Company entails?

The Engineering Career Foundation Program (ECFP) is a rotational program designed to give young engineers a wide knowledge base of the entire product lifecycle while offering professional and personal development opportunities. It is a 2-year program offered to Boeing interns that apply and interview during their internship the summer before they graduate. ECFP consists of six 4-month rotations that go through each step of the product lifecycle. This includes a rotation in requirements development, product definition, test/hardware support, product support, enterprise support and technology development. Along with our rotations, we each are a part of a program team that we also rotate through every 4 months. These teams include Budget, Professional Development, Community Service, Communications, and Social/Networking. These program teams provide leadership opportunities for participants, as well as other opportunities such as having monthly talks with executives, discovering the different engineering groups at Boeing, going on lab and factory tours, and many others.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

ECFP has been an amazing opportunity that has offered many highlights in my career, but if I were to pick one, I would say my first rotation on the KC-46 Tanker, where I was traveling often to meet with suppliers. I was able work with them on software requirements and LRU design, as well as attend multiple design reviews with not only our suppliers, but also our customer, the U.S. Air Force.

Do you have any advice for students and alumni who are seeking a position with The Boeing Company?

Students who have been interested in Boeing and have attended information sessions have probably heard it many times, but when applying online, it is important to tailor your resume to the position for which you are applying. Look for keywords in the job description and incorporate them into your resume. It takes a good amount of time to apply for each job requisition, but I promise it is worth it!

What are your plans for the future?

I have 3 more rotations to go through in ECFP, and after that I am hoping to be placed in a job in hardware/circuit design with Boeing. I also am planning on going for a Master’s degree in Electrical or Computer Engineering in the near future.

Tell Me More! Employers Give Feedback after the Industry/Career Expo

The Daytona Beach Career Services Office asked employers at the Daytona Beach Industry/Career Expo to provide us with specific advice that we could share with students and alumni. Many were happy to share their insights and words of wisdom, which we provided below.

IMG_0570Do not feel limited to your field of study.

Situational awareness in the media and current events – look at how they influence the company and affect the company strategy.

If interested in the company, set up and use the Boeing jobs website.

Use Career Services.

Don’t be afraid of [exploring] lesser known companies.

Work hard to maintain a strong GPA.  Get involved in extra-curricular activities and community service.
-Compass Airlines

Study interview questions prior to coming [to the Expo] and research our company.  Have a few goals/positions that you are interested in, even if it’s not currently being offered.  It shows you have focus and a plan in mind for your future.  Also, write a bit about your interests outside of work/school – we are looking to hire people and want to get to know you!
-Flight Options/Nextant Aerospace

IMG_0206Get out-of-classroom technical and leadership opportunities.
-GE Aviation

Community and project involvement are very important, but don’t let it affect your GPA.
-GE Aviation

ERAU graduates have good design experience with CATIA, but they need to learn more manufacturing items, specifically metal stamping, plastic injection molding and casting.
-Goken America

More than one page resumes please.  One page resumes are not enough for engineering resumes.
-Goken America

Know more about the company with whom you are talking.

Do internships.
-Lee County Port Authority

One page resumes!
-Northrop Grumman

Very pleased with turnout and professionalism.
-PSA Airlines

Students should be prepared to respond clearly about their career aspirations/objectives and must be in a position to validate how they will apply their education to meet their career objectives.
-Ramco Systems Corporation

IMG_0105Keep trying.  International students, don’t be upset over sponsorship issues.  There are companies out there who are just right for you.
-Spirit Airlines

Stay strong!  It is all worth it in the end.
-Spirit Airlines

Keep your GPA up; take advantage of the easy first and second year classes.  Get involved with out-of class projects and be a leader.
-Teledyne Oil & Gas

Highlight report writing abilities on resumes.  Seems like many students are unaware of report writing requirements of engineering.
-Teledyne Oil & Gas

GPA does matter.  When looking for a full-time position fresh out of school, internships or work experience are critical.

Be informed about the companies in which you are interested.

Be open to systems engineering and program management support contractor roles.

Listen to ERAU Career Services staff advice.  Have self-confidence and don’t give up.
-United Airlines

We look for talented and bright individuals that can communicate effectively.  One student actually said he just wanted to get his foot in the door and stay one year, so he could get another job – Big NO!
-Universal Avionics Systems Corporation

IMG_0625Valuable feedback from employers about students and alumni includes the following insights.

  • Be aware that many employers use online application systems
  • Be open to other opportunities; some experience in industry is better than none
  • Be prepared and communicate experiences to industry professionals
  • Be prepared with resume in hand and knowledge about company
  • Do a bit more company research
  • Don’t ask about the company; some homework needs to be done prior to the Expo
  • Dress appropriately [i.e. professionally]
  • Everyone should be prepared, even first year students
  • Follow-up with companies throughout the year
  • Personalize resumes for specific companies
  • Prepare, prepare, prepare!
  • Research company websites for available opportunities before approaching employers
  • Strong communication skills needed to talk to potential employers; no eye contact is a negative factor
  • Want to see professional, prepared and interested students

IMG_0575Students and alumni received some positive feedback from employers, and here are areas on which employers complimented you.

  • Enthusiastic and prepared for working in airline/aviation industry
  • Good quality
  • Motivation
  • Polished
  • Preparation
  • Professional appearance and dress
  • Professionalism
  • Quality
  • Well spoken

How to Prevent Post-Expo Blues

by Lauren Burmester

thCAYZTAFINow that the Industry/Career Expo has come and gone, what’s next?  You spent weeks preparing by creating a strong resume, working on your interviewing skills, researching companies, etc., and in a matter of hours, it is all over.  The excitement of speaking with company representatives and the prospect of working for one of these companies is starting to fade, but it doesn’t have to.  Use the following steps to prevent post-Expo blues and keep moving in the right direction.

Keep the momentum going.  Stay focused and motivated on your career goals.  Even if you handed your resume to a company representative at the Expo, you should still apply for jobs that are posted on the company’s website.  You may have only discussed one particular position while at the Expo; however, there are probably multiple positions on the website that you should pursue.  Keep up with current events for the companies in which you are interested.  This not only helps you stay excited about the companies, but when the time comes to interview, you are well prepared which shows the employer you are truly interested in working for them.

Extend your appreciation. Send a “thank you” email to the representatives you spoke with to show your appreciation and reiterate a key skill or accomplishment that further communicates your interest in their company.  If you have a physical address, send a hand-written letter instead of an email.  With today’s use of technology, most thank you letters are sent via email, so a hand-written letter is even that much more appreciated and memorable.  Something as simple as a letter can make you stand out from the rest of the candidates in a positive way.  Review a sample thank you letter on our website.  Make sure to customize your thank you letter for each representative.

Follow-up or check-in.  If you interviewed with a company at Expo, it is okay to follow-up or check-in with the employer if they gave you a timeline that has passed.  Remember there is a fine line between checking in and harassing an employer.  If an employer stated that they would be in touch with you in a week, it is acceptable to reach out to them if it has been over two weeks since you heard from them to check on your application or candidacy.  You want to show interest but not seem desperate.  If you do not hear back from the employer, avoid continually trying to contact them or start calling around the company to other employees.  It is important to remain patient.

Move on and stay positive.  If it has been several weeks since you heard from the recruiter or they are not returning your phone calls, it is time to move on and start looking for other opportunities.  There could be a number of reasons why you did not get the job: the job opening was cancelled or put on hold, they decided to hire from within, they decided to go with a candidate who had more experience, etc.  Remember it’s business, not personal.  Use this as a learning opportunity and think about what you can work on or do differently next time.  Continue to improve your resume and interview skills by attending Career Services focused presentations and industry conferences.  Continue to network using both social media outlets such as LinkedIn or Facebook and in-person opportunities.  While in school take advantage of the resources and services provided by your campus.  Most importantly stay positive and don’t give up!

Lauren Burmester is new to the Career Services Office as a Program Manager.  She has been an employee with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University since 2006 working in Advising and Admissions.  She completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Studies with concentrations in Aviation Safety, Space Studies, and Business Administration, as well as a Master of Science degree in Aeronautics with a specialization in Safety Systems at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, graduating with distinction.  Lauren’s passion for the Aviation and Aerospace industry is instrumental in assisting students achieve their personal and professional goals.

Industry/Career Expo TODAY, October 9 – Daytona Beach, FL Campus

Embry-Riddle students and alumni, the Industry/Career Expo is today, Wednesday, October 9 in the ICI Center from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Industry/Career Expo

Industry/Career Expo

Approaching employers

Approaching employers

Professional or business casual attire will be required for entrance. Students and alumni not dressed appropriately will be turned away at the door. Military uniforms, flight instructor/pilot uniforms and religious attire are acceptable.

Professional dress at the Industry/Career Expo

Professional dress at the Industry/Career Expo

Companies Attending Tomorrow’s ERAU Industry/Career Expo in Daytona Beach, FL

er013The Daytona Beach Industry/Career Expo is tomorrow, Wednesday, October 9!

Industry/Career Expo: Wednesday, October 9 in the ICI Center from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

See below for a list of the employers who will be in attendance, collecting resumes and/or speaking with candidates regarding full-time and co-op/internship positions. Click on the company’s link to visit the website to learn more about the employer and specific career opportunities that are available.

Can’t make it to the Industry/Career Expo in Daytona Beach? Apply directly to positions of interest on the company websites of those attending. Embry-Riddle students and alumni, you can also publish your resume to the many resume books in the EagleHire Network to get your resume to recruiters who are linked in the system.

THIS WEEK: Daytona Beach Industry/Career Expo, Company Information Sessions and Career Services Events

It is time for Expo week!

IMG_7753The Daytona Beach Industry/Career Expo is this Wednesday, October 9.  All Embry-Riddle students and alumni are invited to attend.  Please note that professional attire is required for entrance.

Daytona Beach Industry/Career Expo
Wednesday, October 9
9:00 am to 4:00 pm
ICI Center

To prepare for the Industry/Career Expo, review the additional information provided in the below links.  Bring copies of your resume and your student ID/Eagle Card.

IMG_7762In addition to the Industry/Career Expo, many companies will be on the Daytona Beach campus to host company information sessions and related events this week.

Monday, October 7

  • Raydon Information Session @ 5:00 pm; IC 102
  • Boeing Internship Mentor Program Kick-off Meeting @ 5:30pm; IC Auditorium
  • Gulfstream Meet & Greet @ 5:30 pm; COB Atrium
  • Gulfstream Information Session @ 6:30 pm; COB 114

Tuesday, October 8

  • Rolls-Royce Information Session @ 5:15 pm; IC Auditorium
  • Air Wisconsin Information Session @ 5:30 pm; IC 102
  • ExpressJet Pilot Pathways Information Session @ 5:30 pm; IC 104
  • Lufthansa Technik Information Session @ 5:30 pm; COB 118
  • Rockwell Collins Information Session @ 5:30 pm; COB 126
  • United Airlines Meet & Greet @ 5:45 pm; COB Atrium
  • Dassault Falcon Jet Information Session @ 6:00 pm; IC 103
  • Delta Air Lines Presents: Surviving the Industry/Career Expo @ 6:00 pm; COB 214
  • United Airlines Information Session @ 6:30 pm; COB 114
  • Ameriflight Information Session @ 7:00 pm; IC 102
  • SkyWest Information Session @ 7:00 pm; IC 104

Wednesday, October 9

  • Spirit Airlines Information Session @ 4:30 pm; COB 118
  • Dallas Love Field Information Session @ 5:30 pm; COB 114

Thursday, October 10

  • Trans State BBQ from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm; West Lawn BBQ Pit

There will be a final pre-Expo presentation on Monday, October 7.  You can attend the Last Minute Expo Prep workshop and Q&A at 5:30 pm in COB 127.

OctoberWest and Wings Out West Air Show – Prescott, AZ Campus


Today, Thursday, October 3 is the Prescott, Arizona, Industry/Career Expo!  All students and alumni are invited to attend.

OctoberWest 2013 is also this weekend, October 3-5.  Enjoy the many activities like the Women in Aviation Conference, athletic events and more.

In addition, join alumni at the ERAU Wings Out West Air Show at the Prescott Campus in Arizona on Oct. 5. It’s complimentary and open to ALL alumni and their family/friends. The Alumni Weekend/homecoming action starts Oct. 3 and culminates with the air show on Oct.5! And remember, it’s open to ALL ERAU alumni, regardless of which campus you attended. Check out the schedule on the alumni website and RSVP:

Air show performers include Embry-Riddle’s sponsored pilot Matt Chapman, in addition to Melissa Pemberton and Julie Clark.

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