Happy Holidays!

Sending you the warmest holiday greetings from the Career Services Office!



Etiquette Tips for Dining with a Potential Employer

By Valerie Kielmovitch

dining“Take your elbows off the table!” “Don’t slouch!” “Stop playing with your food!”

These phrases are typically heard around the dinner tables of many households.  Children may listen to these and other rules but do not always follow them.  However, when it comes to the job/intern search, these etiquette rules are key to succeeding at a meal with a future employer.   A meal with an employer may occur at a conference or during an interview.  It is very important to follow standard etiquette during the meal.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • The meal is typically part of the interview, so stay on your ‘A game’ as far as listening to questions fully and giving thoughtful answers.
  • In most cases, the employer will pay for your meal, so this isn’t the time to order steak and lobster.  Be somewhat conservative in your meal choice, if there is an option, or try to emulate what the employer is having.  At the same time, do not assume the employer will be paying for the meal; still offer to contribute to the check.
  • In choosing a meal, be careful that it is something easy to eat in which you will not get messy and can still actively engage in conversation.  This may not be the best time to eat ribs or peel shrimp.
  • It is recommended that you do not consume alcohol in order to be alert throughout the meal.
  • Do not talk with food in your mouth.
  • Try not to wave your utensils around, if using your hands when talking.
  • Be conscious of how utensils are set up on the table.  Always use them going from the outside in towards your plate.
  • Place your napkin on your lap upon sitting down to the meal.  If you get up from the table, place the napkin on the chair.
  • If asked for the salt, still pass both the salt and pepper together.
  • When eating soup, move the spoon away from you in the bowl and do not slurp.  When finished with the soup, place the spoon on the saucer on which the soup bowl was brought.
  • If you are cutting meat, cut one piece at a time and place your knife on your plate when eating.
  • When you are finished with your meal, place your utensils horizontally across the plate at the 9 and 3 o’clock position to indicate you are finished.
  • Be very polite to the wait staff.

Following these simple tips will ensure you have a great meal and a stellar interview.

Valerie Kielmovitch has been working as a Program Manager in the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University since 2010.  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.

Additional information on informal and formal place settings is provided below.

Informal Place Setting

Informal Place Setting

Formal Place Setting

Formal Place Setting

Congratulations to the December Class of 2013

Congratulations to our amazing Embry-Riddle December 2013 Graduating Class!


Job Search and Relocation Q&As

By Kristy Amburgey

Q&AAs graduation approaches, there are often questions that may be forming in your mind that can serve as barriers to your job search and job selection.  Via an informal poll with upcoming graduates, here are some of those questions along with corresponding insight on how to address each one.

Do I have enough knowledge base to get a job?

It is no secret that employers like to hire candidates with previous experiences.  As an entry-level candidate, you may wonder how you are going to get experience since the employer may not hire without it.  Hopefully you have worked the past several years while in school to obtain experience, which can include ratings/certifications, internships, research, academic/other projects, full-time/part-time work and more.   You are probably more knowledgeable than you may assume…consider all of the experiences that have led to the development of your knowledge base.  Keep track of your academic, work and professional accomplishments and prepare to market your knowledge base to potential employers in a way that relates to their needs.

Am I ready to be interviewed?

Luckily, this worry is easy to address.  You can get ready for an interview through a variety of means, including preparing and practicing your responses.  Start by reviewing potential interview questions and learn how to answer typical questions, and you can then practice what you learned.  Sample interview questions are available on the Career Services website, and you can also read about answering behavioral-based questions.  Practicing is also an easy step to take; you can do a mock interview with someone who gives honest feedback, and you can use the Career Services proprietary resource, Perfect Interview, once you log in to EagleHire Network.

Do I have the right connections in place? 

Most people recognize that networking is an important step in any job search and professional development process.  The more difficult part of networking is finding the right people with which to connect.  First, recognize that not all connections have to be in the exact field you want to pursue.  Your network can and should be made up of a variety of professional and personal contacts that are built on mutually beneficial relationships as you never know how others are connected.  Second, communicate your goals to your network through conversations, emails, newsletters, mentoring sessions, informational interviews and more.  Third, use resources like LinkedIn to visualize how you are connected to others and how you might leverage your relationships.  LinkedIn is also a great way to stay connected with your network.

How will I meet new people to build my network?

As mentioned above, you may already have a great network in place, but it is so important to constantly work to build additional relationships and strengthen current ones.  You can meet new people in any way possible.  Of course, start with opportunities in your industry or field and ones that put you in contact with professionals who are doing the work you want to do.  Find conferences, professional organizations, industry meet & greets, networking events and alumni events available to you. Next, consider events where you might meet indirect connections to your industry like geographically-based events, companies that contract with your dream company or activities that put you in contact with diverse people.  Finally, always be prepared to start a conversation with anyone in any circumstance.  Even if a person can’t help you professionally, you might find a new friend.

Am I at the right place, professionally and personally?

Your professional and personal satisfaction is important, so you always want to evaluate a job and the location before accepting an opportunity.  Evaluating your job offer and considering relocation to another area takes time to assess.  Before making a move, make sure you know or understand the community, the company, the industry prospects, the opportunities for future growth and the expectations for the position.

Where can I find housing once I move?

As you explore job opportunities, especially ones in geographical locations in which you are not familiar, it can be a tough task to make a move.  To find out about a location and the various housing options, ask!  Ask contacts at the company, ask your network, ask friends and ask random people who you may not know.  Research is another great way to learn about housing options.  If you are able to visit the location and drive around the area (or ask someone to show you around), do it.  Although there is no guarantee that you will be able to determine the best housing fit for you in a few conversations or a visit, you can get better acquainted with the area to make a more educated choice.

What happens when I move? 

Work hard and enjoy it!  Do everything possible to succeed in your professional life…volunteer for projects, meet people, follow basic co-worker etiquette rules, join professional organizations, obtain professional development, find your niche…the list can go on. At the same time, establish yourself in your community…get involved, find groups to join, take time for a hobby or learn something new.   What happens after your move is really up to you!

Are my colleagues making more than I am?

Rule number one: please do not ask your colleagues what they are making.  It is a professional negative to talk about salary amongst your peers.  What you can do, before you even accept a job, is conduct research on what people are making in your geographical location, at your company and in your field.  After that, you should focus on your performance, working to make sure that you are establishing a solid reputation and working towards great evaluations, promotions or raises since your actions are the only things you can control.

Will I be able to pay off my loans?

There are no guarantees in life, so no one can predict your financial future.  You can take charge of your finances, though, by being aware of debt repayment, repayment rules and financial solvency.  Before accepting a position, it is incredibly important to know you can handle all of your expenses, including debt repayment.

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.

Alumni Career Spotlight: Todd Hillsgrove

imageTodd Hillsgrove is a native of Pittsfield, New Hampshire. He studied Aeronautical Science at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach campus and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1992. While a junior at ERAU, Todd was selected to participate in the Procter & Gamble Corporate Aviation Student Development Program – a one week co-op designed to give students an in-depth look at corporate aviation.

After graduating ERAU, Todd returned to New Hampshire to begin his flying career. He spent several years as a flight instructor and gained valuable experience flying more complex aircraft for local companies. In 1997, Todd was hired by the DCAir Company, LLC to fly a Pilatus PC-12 and eventually attained his first type rating in a Beechjet 400A with that company.

In the Spring of 2002, Todd was hired by Procter & Gamble and received his Gulfstream IV type rating soon after. Eventually, he added a Gulfstream V type rating and flew internationally as Captain on the G-IV, G-V and G550. In addition to flying, Todd accepted roles of increasing responsibility at the hangar – Safety Officer, Assistant Chief Pilot and his current position as Chief Pilot.

The “Social” Job Search: Using Social Media to Get Ahead

By Emily Ferraro

socialIt’s no secret that maintaining a professional online presence can be one of the first steps to landing a job or internship. With another semester coming to an end, it’s time to take a look at how you use your everyday social media platforms to search for opportunities. Here are five ways you can jumpstart your search:

1.) Assess your current social media accounts. What do your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest and LinkedIn profiles look like? Are you keeping a consistent personal brand that you are proud of? Remember that your privacy settings can help and hurt you in the world of social media recruitment. Do not make your profiles so private that it looks like you are trying to hide, and don’t assume that all privacy settings hide your embarrassing photos and posts. To make sure you’re aware of what others can see, use Google Alerts to track your activity online.

2.) Tailor your tactics: engage on each platform differently. For example, on Twitter you only have 140 characters per tweet, so your ability to engage with others in your network must be brief and creative. Take these tips into consideration:

  • Facebook– Consider your personal brand when posting profile pictures and cover photos. Manage your privacy settings as they are always changing. Use Facebook’s profile options at your discretion, but if you want to connect with others using Facebook’s new Graph Search, you will want to add work places and education sections. Not many people use Facebook for professional purposes; this will help you stand out when you want to make new connections. Remember to “like” and follow industries and groups that are relevant to your career interests. Use Facebook pages and apps for job searches.
  • Twitter– Being professional while perfecting the use of hash tags geared towards your career goals is going to help you to be found in the job search. Start by following ERAU Career Services and use it as a guide for what to post and who to follow. Also follow important leaders in your desired industry. Look for employers/companies tweeting open job posts through sites such as “Tweetmyjobs” and “TwitJobSearch.”
  • LinkedIn– The go-to professional social media platform is the most helpful when it comes to connecting with your professional contacts and keeping in touch. Unlike the other platforms, LinkedIn is used primarily for job searching and professional activity. Your profile has the ability to be an extensive and detailed version of your resume paired with your personal voice and passions through statuses and projects. Follow influencers, groups, and companies to learn more about your industry. Share, comment, and engage with others through their posts and discussions. Use the tools through LinkedIn Higher Education listed below for more help building your profile.
  • Pinterest– When it comes to building professional pins on your Pinterest board, start with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Career Services. Pinterest’s potential for helping you secure a job isn’t as well-known as LinkedIn, but by following career experts on Pinterest you can keep up with the latest hiring trends in addition to seeing the culture of a company through their pins. Follow the companies that you are interested in working for and comment, like, or re-pin their pins; just remember to be professional! This is a site used for sharing ideas and finding commonalities which can be a great way for recruiters to find out more about your interests.
  • For more insight on each individual social media platform, visit The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) for Social Media Guides: http://www.naceweb.org/knowledge/social-media/career-counselors-guide.aspx

3.) Post content that is relevant to your field/area of study. It is amazing how quickly one post can be liked, seen, shared, retweeted, etc. by people within and outside of your network. Recruiters are following trends and articles within your area of interest. By being a part of the discussion, you can be open to more opportunities and connections. Use Google Alerts to help you track new and developing stories.

4.) The most well-known application for professional online networking is LinkedIn. A newer development from LinkedIn now reaches out to university students through LinkedIn Higher Education. Using this tool can help you from beginning to end when it comes to your job search. Included are guides and tip sheets on topics such as building your profile, creating your brand, and communicating with connections, all of which are geared towards collegiate students.

5.) Consider blogging as an option to build your online professional presence. Start by seeing what fellow bloggers are doing within your area of interest and adopt a style of your own. Although this may not seem like a conventional idea for job searching, it is another opportunity to have your voice and brand be heard. It could also be another way to connect by following leaders from different industries and contributing to the conversation when you have something to add.

Social Media is ever-changing, and there are always new resources and tactics. Try your best to follow the trends while staying true to your brand and professional goals. Use the resources below for more insight and remember to connect with ERAU Career Services on all of our social media platforms!




Social Media Tools:

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

Alumni Career Spotlight: James Sulton, III

James speakingJames Sulton, III, Ed.D., is an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University alumnus of the Prescott, AZ and Daytona Beach, FL campuses.  He worked towards an Aerospace Studies undergraduate degree on the Daytona Beach campus and transferred to the Prescott campus to finish his bachelor’s degree, focusing on safety.  He came back to Daytona Beach to complete his master’s degree.  Then, he received his Doctor of Education degree from Pepperdine University, where his dissertation was titled, African-American Women Pilot’s Perceptions of Barriers to Success in Flight-Training and Strategies to Enhance Their Presence.

After he graduated from Pepperdine, he became Principal of Aviation High School, which was a magnet school in Oakland, CA.  Next, James pursued a career in air traffic control.  He is now living in Manassas, VA and working as an Air Traffic Controller.  Currently, he volunteers and assists in different events involving K-12 in the Virginia and Maryland areas.  James and his wife wrote new curriculum, currently used in some Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC schools, to provide new topics surrounding aviation that remains within the guidelines of the core curriculum.  He also co-founded AviationEd, Inc., an organization of aviation and education professionals committed to inspiring the next generation to pursue their career goals through mentorship, educational programs, and experiential learning.

Tell us about your career successes and how each one led to new opportunities.

In 2005, I had a unique opportunity to teach high school math to approximately 100 at-risk teenagers with special needs in Prescott, Arizona. The experience of working with students who were struggling to learn grade level material due to poor foundational knowledge sparked a passion.

I was intrigued by the social challenges that manifested themselves as academic shortcomings in the classroom. “Why were so many of my students struggling?” was a question I continued to ask myself. When I began to meet with the families of my students, I realized the level of needed support stretched far beyond the classroom.

So, in 2006, when Lockheed Martin hired me as a flight service specialist, I enrolled the support of my colleagues and started a volunteer network at a local high school. Lockheed was very supportive of our group as we provided tutoring, organized school events and activities, and partnered with their learning community.

After serving as a flight service specialist for Lockheed and a school board member at Oakland Aviation High School, I took a leap of faith and blended my passion for aviation with that of education and became the principal of Oakland Aviation High School (OAHS).

OAHS primarily served at-risk students – some with special needs – from the neighborhoods of east Oakland. Our academic program satisfied state educational standards in math, science, English, and social science using themes and concepts found within the aviation and aerospace industries while providing avenues for career technical education. In addition, we had unique partnerships with local colleges and community organizations that really enhanced our curriculum.

Today, I work for the FAA as an Air Traffic control Specialist at Potomac Consolidated Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facility in Warrenton, Virginia. I remain connected to local and national aviation educational initiatives with an organization co-founded with my wife Jacqueline, AviationEd, Inc.

How have your educational achievements impacted your career decisions? How did you involvement in school help you achieve your goals?

From attaining bachelor’s and master’s degrees at ERAU to a doctorate in educational leadership, administration and policy from Pepperdine University, my collegiate education had an immeasurable impact on my career decisions.

Equally important to my coursework were the experiences I had as a college student outside of the classroom. Working as a camp counselor and coordinator at ERAU’s Summer Academy, teaching SAT preparation as a teacher at ERAU’s Upward Bound program, and the relationships I built with classmates provided marketable skills that I use every day.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of?

Without a doubt, my most proud professional accomplishment was ensuring that each of our 40 graduating seniors at OAHS were accepted to college before attaining their high school diploma. With more than 50% of our students being first generation college students and 95% being eligible for free or reduced lunch under the Federal Title I program, I am extremely proud of being part of a team of educators that accomplished this goal.

For young people interested in STEM and aviation education, what advice do you have to help them on a path to success?

For young people interested, and for those that are not, I encourage them to take advantage of every opportunity to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) career fields. In the next 10 years, there will be over 1 million jobs – many high paying – available in the STEM sector. In addition to career fields in the aviation and aerospace industries, STEM career fields provide access to exciting opportunities that are on the cutting edge of innovation.

It is also important to stay encouraged while pursuing your career goals and dreams. If you really want to be involved, do not take “no” for an answer and continue to pursue your destiny regardless of what may be said.

And, be sure to find a mentor as soon as possible. People who are in a position that you admire may have been where you are today. Reach out to people you respect as they may be willing to support you.

Finally, participate in summer and extracurricular programs every year. AviationEd, Inc. organizes a national scholarship search and sponsors at least two students to attend ERAU’s Summer Academy in Daytona Beach. Each year the award winners rave about the experience and many are eager to learn about how they can enroll as students in the university.

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