Internship Resources

By Sandi Ohman

thCA5BNMPOWhile it is extremely cold right now, even here in Florida, the summer is quickly approaching.  As students contemplate their summer plans, for some, an internship opportunity is high on the list. Many though don’t know how to start the search process for identifying internships.  Below is a list of resources to use to find internship opportunities:

  1. The Career Services Office (CSO) – The CSO at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) advertises internships through the career management system, EagleHire Network.  This is an excellent resource to consider for internship opportunities.  CSO partners with employers to advertise opportunities through EagleHire Network.  These companies are interested in ERAU students, so it is a good place to start the internship search.
  2. Company Websites –  Many large companies have well-established internship programs and choose to advertise internship opportunities on their company websites. Make sure to follow all application requirements and provide requested documents, since this shows the employer the applicant can follow directions.
  3. The Internet – Search engines such as Google, Indeed.com, SimplyHired.com, Careerbuilder.com are good internet resources to search for internships.  Another resource is CareerShift.  This is an employment research tool for students and alumni to use when researching opportunities.  The Career Services Office has purchased the required membership needed to use CareerShift.  The log-in page can be found embedded in the home page of the student/alumni part of EagleHire Network.  Make sure to follow account creation/log-in instructions located in the CareerShift box.  There are also numerous internet resources listed on the Useful Links page of the Career Services website.
  4. Faculty – Faculty are excellent resources in the internship search.  Many have worked in industry, and they have contacts and companies contact them about open positions.
  5. Network(ing)Quintiessential Careers recently wrote in their blog that networking is one of the best ways to find out about opportunities.  So, let others know of your interest to find an internship in a specific field.  Also, LinkedIn is another networking source.  LinkedIn is a professional social networking internet resource.  Users can search for alumni that work at the company they are interested in, search for internships advertised through LinkedIn, or other contacts in the company.
  6. Career Fair/Recruiting Events – In 2014 the Daytona Beach Career Services Office will be hosting Career Week 360°.  This will be a week full of career-related topics and opportunities.  On Tuesday, March 4 and Wednesday, March 5, there will be an Employer Recruiting Showcase.  This is a smaller event than the Industry/Career Expo, but it is an opportunity for companies to recruit for internships and full-time opportunities.   Another opportunity to meet recruiters is company visits.  There are numerous companies that will come to campus to recruit, interview and hold information sessions.  These are good opportunities to interact with employers and learn about internship opportunities.  Check the EagleHire Network calendar for dates.
  7. Letters of Interest – Letter of Interest/Inquiry can be used to reach out to companies to find out about internship opportunities or programs.
  8. Previous Student Internship Papers – When students participate in an internship for credit, writing a paper about the experience at the end of the term is part of the requirements. Those papers are posted in the Daytona Beach Career Services Blackboard organization.  This is a good way to read what other students experienced on their internship and also find out where other students from different degrees went on an internship.

Students should use the above resources to research and find internship opportunities.  When applying for internships, make sure to customize resumes (and cover letters if requested) to positions, follow application requirements and submit complete quality applications.  This will increase the chances of obtaining an internship and gaining the experience towards a future career.

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.

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Employer Advice Spotlight: The Seven P’s

By Joshua Pringle

Joshua Pringle is the Director of Marketing at CO2Meter, a leader in Carbon Dioxide metering, sensing, and detection.  CO2Meter designs, manufactures and distributes industry leading devices to consumers and companies in diverse business segments.  Mr. Pringle has put together a series of articles providing advice, from a company’s perspective, on interviewing.  The series will be added throughout the spring semester. 

Like most of the other suggestions I will make about interviewing, these little tidbits also apply to life and your career too.  This little hint is probably at the top of the list and again comes from my grandfather.  While I regret the mild expletive in the phrase, I was taught later on in life that it is used to create a little humor and make the phrase memorable.  Trust me…you will remember this one.

Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

If you can learn and act on the Seven P’s, you will not only be successful but well ahead of your peers.  Whether it’s a class project, homework, reading, Christmas shopping, project management, car payments…anything you do can have the Seven P’s applied to it.

When thinking about preparing for an interview or business meeting, I always review the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg for financial statements, press releases and financial filings from the last year, LinkedIn and Glassdoor, and any critical articles I trolled for online.  These tidbits will help frame your approach to preparing.

imagesAs it pertains to your interviewing though, the Seven P’s are essential to your interview success because the better and earlier you prepare the more successful your interview will be.

1)      Follow the instructions the interviewer gives you in the pre-interview email/letter to a tee.  They are likely to give you all the clues you need to properly prepare for your interview.  For example, if the interviewer suggests that you review their website, don’t just look at the site – study it, learn it, Google things you don’t know about, and become an expert on their business.

2)      If the interviewer does not give you any hints beforehand, I suggest you ask.  Be straightforward with the interviewer and ask them, “Is there anything you’d like me to prepare in advance for our conversation?”  This says to them that you want to prepare and are eager to ensure you meet if not exceed qualifications and expectations.  If they say “yes,” you now know what to prepare for and expect.  If they say “no,” one of two things is occurring: the interviewer is not prepared for you, or they are testing you to see how well you can prepare without direction.

3)      Be prepared to ask questions (another article coming soon).  I don’t mean, what will my daily responsibilities be?-type questions; I mean ask in-depth questions about the website or their business.  Crafting well thought-out questions in advance is somewhat of an art, but it is imperative to a successful interview.

4)      Plan your day, trip to the interview, etc. in advance.  Don’t leave things to chance.

5)      Plan your outfit in advance.  Don’t wait until the morning of the interview to choose a shirt.  What if it has a spot on it?  What if your shoes have a scuff?

Preparing in advance allows you time to recover if you have prepared incorrectly or if other issues arise.  Do not put off preparation.  It is virtually impossible to over-prepare.

But here is the ultimate key to the Seven P’s – it allows you to relax leading up to and in the interview.  The military and professional sports teams stress the Seven P’s because a well-planned and trained team does not worry in combat/competition about what they should do…they just act on instinct because they have prepared for all possibilities.  If you wait until the last minute, you will be stressed and tense throughout the process.  Your stress will be very visible to the interviewer.  If you prepare well in advance, it gives your brain time to process the information you’ve taken in, prepare great questions, and then relax.  When you are in the moment, the interviewer will sense your calm and your preparation telling them you are a capable, responsible potential employee.

A New Year Resolution for Your Job Search

By Kristy Amburgey

What better way to start a New Year than to set New Year’s resolutions!  And an even better start is to stick with your resolutions.  As we ease into 2014, I would like to encourage you to set new job search resolutions.  It could be something as simple as re-connecting with a previous co-worker or as beneficial as initiating a conversation about how you can successfully help a potential employer.  With any resolution, it is imperative to follow-through with the promises you make to yourself.

Part of that action, that movement forward, is thinking about the New Year as a clean slate, tabula rasa.  You can evaluate what occurred last year or even years prior, examining what worked, did not work or could use a few modifications.  But don’t dwell on the past and don’t allow it to define your New Year. By recognizing past struggles or frustrations but then deciding to move forward to fill your clean slate, you are on your way to achieving your goals.

In 2014, resolve to take action and create your own path as the New Year brings new opportunities.

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 Spotlight: Lauren Clarke

Lauren ClarkeLauren Clarke is a May 2011 and May 2013 graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  She completed her Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science and an Associate of Science in Aviation Maintenance Science with Airframe and PowerPlant certifications at the Daytona Beach campus.  She is currently a Pilot/Mechanic for Airtec, an aviation and technology integration company.

Tell us about your current employer.  What is unique about Airtec? 

As a recent Embry-Riddle graduate, I am fortunate to have landed a great job at a company called Airtec, an aviation and technology integration company in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.  I graduated from ERAU in May 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Science and an Associate’s in Aviation Maintenance Science to include my flight ratings up to Multi-commercial and my Airframe and Powerplant certificates.  The summer after graduation, I had an internship at Cape Air in Hyannis, Massachusetts, as a mechanic, and before I had even finished there, I had applied and been offered a job here at Airtec. Upon completing my internship, I moved to Southern Maryland and became Airtec’s newest employee.

Unique is an excellent way to describe Airtec.  From the aircraft we operate to the missions we fly, everything is unique. We fly support missions for organizations like the Atlantic Test Ranges, NASA Wallops Flight Facility, the Surface/Aviation Interoperability Laboratory (SAIL) and the Atlantic Targets and Marine Operations (ATMO) Division. These missions can vary from objectives like range safety and maritime radar surveillance to airborne telemetry. Just this morning I flew a mission for Dahlgren Naval Surface Warfare Center to assist in data collection to establish the floor of their restricted airspaces. These are just some of the countless ways that our clients take advantage of our fleet and equipment.

The fleet here at St. Mary’s Airport consists of three King Air twin turboprop aircraft, including A100, 200T and B200C models, a Beechcraft Baron, Cirrus SR22 and a few other exciting aircraft. These aircraft do not have elaborately decorated cabins with plush leather seats and a mini bar but instead are stripped out and equipped with racks of telemetry and radar equipment.  Some of our technology capabilities include APS 143 Radar, 360 degree belly mounts, satellite data link systems, L/S band auto-tracking telemetry systems and real-time communications relay. We have GPS moving maps, VOR, ILS, and ADF navigation equipment in most of our aircraft. We also have TACAN and aircraft carrier landing and approach systems, which are very unusual for a civilian organization. These aircraft are specially modified with 2.5 KVA, 3-phase, 400 hertz, 115 VAC inverters to power the radar and other project equipment.

Airtec hires and trains the crews that operate these aircraft. We have all-inclusive flight crews for our missions.  That is to say that we hire and train our own pilots, mechanics, radar operators and project engineers.  Here at St. Mary’s, we have 31 employees, plus twenty more throughout our projects around the world. Our pilots are trained on the entire fleet and are capable of transferring from one aircraft to another at a moment’s notice. With the wide variety of missions we perform, it is common, if not inevitable, that we rarely fly the same aircraft twice in a row. The mechanics are also capable of maintaining the entire fleet. This entails anything from repairing air conditioners (a LOT), to changing landing gear, to designing and installing the racks of equipment in the back, to installing the multitude of antennas that our aircraft necessitate.

Unlike most civilian operations, Airtec is a company that would be difficult for a prospective employee to prepare for. Those that come from prior military service have an easy time transitioning into the mission-oriented mindset that is required but have a more difficult time switching from the jets they are used to into turboprops and recip aircraft. On the other hand, employees with prior airline experience have less difficulty with the type of aircraft we fly but more trouble with the missions and the language used by our mostly military clients. As a recent Embry-Riddle graduate without military or airline experience, one of my challenges as a pilot is to transition into both new aircraft and military missions. As a mechanic, I also face a variety of challenges at Airtec. Mechanics with a history in the airlines usually haven’t worked on every part of an aircraft from tip to tail like we do here, and general aviation mechanics rarely have an opportunity to work with the kind of technology that we have on our planes. Military mechanics, as well, are trained in occupational specialties and would not be used to the diversity of maintenance functions we perform here.

Airtec is an exciting place to work and offers great variety for an employee like me with both maintenance and flight skills. No two weeks are exactly the same, and I continually look forward to going to work each day.  In my first job out of college, I am gaining experience in ways I could never have imagined and anticipate many years of interesting assignments.

LCAT2As an alumna, what career advice do you have for upcoming graduates?

Network! I only heard about this company by reaching out to the aviation community and making contact with the right person. Thanks to him, I got an introduction to the President of Airtec, Steve Bildman, also a graduate of Embry-Riddle. Coming in with a recommendation from a well-respected member of the Southern Maryland aviation industry gave me a great advantage from the start. After that it was a matter of being the right person with the right qualifications and the right attitude. At the time of my visit, Airtec was not actively seeking applicants, but as my boss likes to call it, I was a “triple-threat” by not only having my mechanic certificates and pilot certificates, but also being a graduate of the same school as both the President and the Chief Pilot. These three attributes, along with a recommendation from a dependable source, encouraged my employers to create a position for me as a full-time pilot/mechanic, a job that they had never tried before.

Had I been discouraged by the fact that this company was not actively looking for new employees or that my qualifications didn’t match those that the website dictated, I would never have gone out for this job. I am so glad that I did, and I encourage everyone at Riddle to do the same. Apply for everything and anything no matter what the “required qualifications”.  You never know who might read your application and think you could be the perfect candidate for any number of reasons. Take every sit-down interview you can get and don’t sell yourself short. You are coming out of the best aviation program in the country, and people in the industry know it.

I also highly encourage every student at Riddle to take advantage of all the training you can manage while you’re in school. And I don’t just mean in the flight department. Expand your horizons and learn as much about the entire industry as you can. If I had not stayed on after my Aeronautical Science degree to get my Maintenance degree as well, I would not have been considered for a position at this company. Even if you don’t do maintenance as a career, the understanding of your aircraft that the courses provide can give a pilot candidate a huge leg up in the industry to have that knowledge base. Even in flight, get as much training as you can. At Riddle I completed the Upset Recovery Training, gaining skills that made me feel like a more proficient and confident pilot. Finally, a note to the full-timers working in the flight line: Don’t forget that you get free tuition as a full-time employee. Don’t let that opportunity go to waste! Take advantage!

What is the biggest highlight of your career so far?

I cannot possibly choose one thing to be the highlight of my career any more. Every day is a new and exciting adventure in this company.  Being a new pilot with few flying hours and little experience, everything I do here is brand new to me. The transition into King Airs from Cessnas has been a big leap and is a change that I am still getting used to and will probably continue to get used to for a long time. They are great airplanes to fly, and I can’t see myself tiring of them any time soon. Almost weekly I set new personal records. I set new highest altitudes and lowest altitudes, fastest speeds and longest flights. I’ve had the opportunity to witness some amazing things in the short time that I have worked here. I’ve seen NASA rocket launches from 13,000 feet. I’ve seen an aerial refueling of an F-35 from a C-130 and seen an X-47 UAV flying with its chase F-18. Already I’ve seen and done more than I ever could have imagined, and there is only more to come!

LCAT3What are your plans for the future?

To be completely honest, the only future I can see right now is what’s in store for me at Airtec. I am thoroughly enjoying my work here, and I see a lot of potential for personal growth within this company. Right now I am SIC in all of our aircraft, so my most immediate goal is to upgrade to PIC in the Baron. Eventually I’d like to do the same in the King Airs, but that will take a while longer. I have already learned an immense amount about these aircraft from a mechanical standpoint, and I am excited to continue to do so. I think I can grow to be an outstanding mechanic if I put effort into absorbing as much knowledge as I can while I’m here. I am also eager to learn as much as I can about the equipment we have installed on our aircraft. Once I master the flight and maintenance aspects of this job, I’d like to explore the radar operator opportunities the company offers. It is very unusual for a civilian like me to have the opportunity to work around this kind of technology, much less to get to operate it. So for now my plans for the future are to take full advantage of all the opportunities this company can supply.

Save the Date for Career Week 360°

Introducing Career Week 360°!

The Daytona Beach Campus is hosting a week long series of career-related events on March 3-7, 2014.  The week will encourage job seekers to take a complete 360° view of their professional future, from planning to practicing.  There will be a two-day employer showcase, guest speakers, a networking skill builder session and more.

The agenda will continue to be updated as we get closer to the event.

Spring 2014 Career Week Summary Flyer

 

 

Employer Spotlight: Cessna Aircraft RSA Rotational Program

Old planeClyde Vernon Cessna designed the very first Cessna in 1911 — a monoplane of spruce and linen. Sixteen years later, Clyde Cessna put his passion for flying and his love for aviation into action, and Cessna Aircraft Company was born. Little did Clyde Cessna realize, he was establishing a tradition of change which would make Cessna Aircraft Company the preeminent general aviation manufacturer.

In Cessna’s first decade, the company earned a reputation for safety and performance that it still holds today. More than eight decades later, Clyde Cessna’s passion and vision are mirrored every day by the people who work for Cessna. Whether in an office or in the factory, every Cessna employee is driven by a spirit of innovation and passion for aviation.

Cessna continues to lead the industry in aerospace engineering for general aviation. From our first standard-setting monoplane design to our super-midsize business jets flown by the world’s greatest leaders today, our company continues to dominate the world’s skies. We attribute our ongoing success to the tireless passion of our people and the undying loyalty of our customers. Cessna is looking for the best, brightest professionals to join our team and work to advance our position as world leaders in aviation.

Please tell us about Cessna Aircraft Company’s Rotational Sales Program and Sales Operations Internship positions.

The Rotational Sales Development Program and the Sales Operations Internship are the first steps in preparing early career individuals for success in sales at Cessna.  Both positions provide an exciting and fun atmosphere to grow and develop within the Sales Occupation.

new planesThe development program features 6 unique rotations: Sales Operations, Jet Contracts, Customer Service, Marketing, Propeller Business Team and Jet Business Team.  Throughout each of those rotations, the participants will gain operational and business experience while participating in tactical day-to-day responsibilities and significant projects for the functional leaders.

The Sales Operations internship will focus on the Sales Operations rotation of the Rotational Sales Development Program.  Interns will have the opportunity to work along-side the Rotational Sales Development Program participants and Cessna’s top notch Sales Operations team.  This internship gives students the opportunity to gain first-hand experience supporting the zone field sales personnel by communicating with prospects regarding Citation Sales and marketing matters.

Please give us the profile of your ideal candidate for these positions.

Cessna strives to bring the best and brightest professionals to fill every position within the company.  Ideal candidates for the Sales positions possess passion, energy, drive and are self-motivated with high intellectual horsepower.   Aviation experience is not required to be successful at Cessna.  Instead, candidates should be inspired by a challenge and demonstrate an interest or passion in working in the aviation field.

What can a candidate do to be successful when applying for Cessna?

Candidates should be sure to highlight their extracurricular activities as well as their professional presence throughout the application process.  It is important that Cessna’s employees get a complete picture of the students both inside and outside of the classroom.

Students should remember that the hiring process is an opportunity for Cessna employees to determine which candidates are the most qualified and which of those candidates will fit well in the Cessna culture.  Students should also use the hiring process as an opportunity to judge whether Cessna is a good fit for them.  With that in mind, students shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions.

What is the best approach to a resume when applying to Cessna?

Resumes should be organized, clean and concise.  Students should highlight their educational, extracurricular and work experiences as they relate to the functional area in which they are applying.  For the sales positions, we encourage students to highlight how their experiences relate to the sales function, teamwork and customer facing activities.

It is important for students to remember their resume is just a snapshot of their experiences.  Candidates will have an opportunity to elaborate during the hiring process, so it is not necessary to add every detail to the resume.  Instead, students should add only the most important and most influential details of their experiences.

What additional opportunities are available for students and graduates at Cessna?

Endless!! Not only does Cessna have opportunities within the Sales field, there are open opportunities across the functional areas, including Customer Service, Engineering, Marketing, Finance and more.  New positions continue to be posted, so we encourage interested students to check the website often.  All open Cessna positions can be found at Cessna’s parent company Textron’s University Relations Job Site collegejobs.textron.com.  To view Cessna specific positions click Find a Job > Advanced Search > Recruiting Company – Cessna Aircraft > Search for Jobs.

textron logoThe opportunities go beyond Cessna to include all Textron Business Units.  Textron is the parent company of Cessna Aircraft, Bell Helicopter, Kautex, EZGO, Greenlee Tools, Jacobsen, Textron Systems and Textron Financial.  The Textron enterprise continues to grow as more companies are added to our family.   Students can explore positions at each of the Business Units, and their openings can be found by visiting Textron’s University Relations Job Site: collegejobs.textron.com.

Welcome Back to Campus and Happy New Year!

By Brian Carhide

welcome_backThe Daytona Beach Career Services Office is looking forward to assisting you in achieving your 2014 career development goals. Remember, it is never too early to begin working with our office on your career goals. This semester will be busy, with many companies already scheduled to visit the DB campus looking to recruit top talent.  This semester’s premier event will be Career Week 360°, March 3-7…remember to mark your calendars! Please stay abreast of all our spring events by keeping up with our marketing via ERAU Connection, EagleHire, Bb, Facebook, and weekly emails.

In the meantime, here are a few tips to get started:

  • Check out the EagleHire Network calendar for events, including presentations and company information sessions, being hosted on the residential campuses
  • Periodically check the EagleHire Network for full-time and co-op/internship opportunities, paying close attention to the closing dates of the postings; the earlier you review and apply to the positions, the better off you will be
  • During the spring semester, most companies recruit their summer internship positions; ensure you are eligible to participate in the Co-op/Internship Program and search for co-op/internship opportunities via the EagleHire Network by following the instructions for your campus
  • Residential campus students, schedule an appointment with your Program Manager to discuss your future career plans and co-op/internship or full-time opportunities
  • Within the EagleHire Network, you have access to CareerShift; CareerShift allows job seekers to search for companies within their geographical preferences, identify positions of interest from various job boards and company websites, find contact information for employers and organize your job search
  • Within the EagleHire Network, you have access to Career Spots; Career Spots allows viewing of 2-3 minute videos on topics to enhance your job seeking skills; videos on interviewing tips, job searching, internships, interview dress, and salary negotiation, to name a few, are available
  • Within the EagleHire Network, you have access to Going Global; Going Global is an excellent resource for students seeking opportunities abroad and for international students who want to learn which companies have historically provided visa sponsorships
  • Within the EagleHire Network, you have access to Perfect Interview; Perfect Interview creates a compelling and realistic “simulated interview” experience where you are asked challenging questions and must respond, just as you would in a real job interview
  • The Going Places blog will continue to showcase Embry-Riddle’s wonderful students and alumni and their advice, and we will bring you even more articles to help in your career development

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

Alumni Career Spotlight: Steve Dorton

Steve DortenSteve Dorton is currently a Human Factors Engineer at Sonalysts, Inc. working on various projects, primarily with the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Human Systems Integration (HSI) group.  He is an alum from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  He attained his Bachelor of Science in Safety Science (class of 2009) and Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems (class of 2011).  While at Embry-Riddle, Steve completed a safety coordinator internship and multiple academic projects, and he served as a graduate research assistant with the Department of Human Factors, researching integration of unmanned systems into the national airspace system for the FAA.  In addition, Steve was an active member of the campus community.  He served as a member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) and chapter president of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), and he held multiple executive positions within the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.

What do you do as a Human Factors Engineer for Sonalysts, Inc.?

My job entails performing a wide variety of duties across an even wider variety of technical areas. Currently, my prime responsibility is providing Human Factors Engineering services to the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Human Systems Integration (HSI) group. In the short time I have been here, I have performed applied research and systems engineering analysis across a wide variety of DoD acquisitions and research projects. Whenever the Navy or Marine Corps wants to develop, acquire, or modify a system, I work with other researchers to determine whether the system adequately accounts for the capabilities and limitations of the warfighter. The systems I work with range from handheld radios to software suites, or an entire Warship. In addition to all of that, I am currently standing up a Human-Autonomy Interaction Laboratory and performing basic and applied research on autonomous systems and developing technologies to increase the DoD’s capabilities. At any given time, I am working on three to five projects across different domains, which makes my job novel and always interesting.

How did you land your position?

Allison Popola, a fellow Human Factors & Systems (HFS) alumnus, had introduced me to her boss at a conference we were attending. With her help, I was able to secure an interview and ultimately attain my position here. After a rigorous round of interviews, I was extended an offer, which I excitedly took.

How do you enjoy working for a small government contractor? What are the advantages of working for a smaller company?

I cannot stress enough how much I enjoy the freedom of my job, which is primarily afforded by the small size and flat, matrix oriented structure of my company. We adopt a “kill what you eat” mentality, meaning that if you find a project or funding areas that interest you, then you are free to lead that project should you win it. The outcome of this policy is that I am free to research whatever interests me, so long as I am willing to put in the work to find it. Instead of being a cog in a large machine, I am free to pursue what interests me and have a large amount of autonomy (pun somewhat intended). I also get to spend most of my time with customers, be it attending meetings, working in a lab, or collecting data in the field. More importantly in a research-oriented field such as Human Factors, a primary advantage of being with a smaller company is that it is much, much simpler to have Internal Research & Development (IR&D) resources allocated to a technology or capability you would like to develop. I have been afforded a great deal of freedom and opportunity, which I strenuously believe is a core advantage of working for a smaller company.

What advice do you have for Human Factors graduates seeking full-time work in the field?

NCM_0067Having seen a decent amount of resumes thus far, the single most important thing I can say is to highlight your experiences. Of course, the prerequisite for this is to get out there and do stuff in the first place. List projects that you have worked on, what your role in that project was, and the project’s outcome. It is far more important to know that you did a functional analysis here, and data collection there, than it is to know that you made the Dean’s list five times. Smaller companies that allow a lot of freedom are especially attentive to whether or not you have done research or applied work, so that they can be assured you are a self-starter and will not need too much supervision. Your resume should tell a story of what you have been doing, up to the time at which they are reading it. If it paints a clear picture and you talk to the right people, you can circumvent the tedious process of key wording and shamelessly jamming your resume with metadata.

Secondly, be passionate about what you do. I will gladly work with somebody with less skills and experience that is fired up over what we are doing than somebody with immense knowledge that does not care. When the going gets tough, the people who care are the ones that work the hardest. Science is a grueling process, so if you can convey a genuine sense of interest for your field throughout your resume and interviews, then you are going to make an impact on the people who are hiring.

Finally, be professional. ERAU has an entire department dedicated to doing nothing but making you marketable and ready for a career. If you pay as much as you do for tuition, then you should take advantage of these resources (that is, above and beyond a resume check before the career expo). In no other aspect of your life would you pay so much for something and then use such little of its features. Know how to write emails and letters to prospective employers. Have an experience-oriented resume that has been reviewed by experts. Be punctual and dress appropriately for interviews. These are all very basic things that somehow seem to be overlooked on a regular basis.

There are many other considerations, but those three things are the most salient advice I would have for somebody trying to gain full-time work in our field.

Happy New Year

Have a safe and happy New Year!

New-Year-Fireworks

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