Alumni Spotlight: Rick Uskert

Richard Uskert 2x3_6367Rick Uskert graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach in 1996 with a degree in Aircraft Engineering Technology.  He is currently a Senior Engineer at Textron Systems Unmanned Systems.

What has been your career path since graduating from Embry-Riddle?

My career started during one of the slumps in the aerospace industry and I took a job with a company in NW Indiana designing industrial equipment. After a few months, I interviewed with a consulting engineering firm in the Chicago suburbs which providing structural and fatigue fracture analysis to the aviation industry, both commercial and military. The guys I worked for and with were brilliant, having written fatigue analysis and damage tolerance of structures content for several publications; however, I as a more creative person at heart – and still am – so post-damage analysis wasn’t a path I wished to pursue.

The next five years were spent working in the medical industry, designing instruments for minimally invasive open heart surgery, stents, airway management and many other products. As the company manufactured product for many of the big companies, such as Abbott, CTI and Stryker, I touched many products which were mainstays of the operating room and in-home care products during the 1990’s and 2000’s.

From there I turned back to aviation and, while working at Pratt & Whitney, furthered my education and career through a Master’s degree in Management and New Product Development at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Hartford, CT. During my time at P&W, I worked with a great team in the Compression Systems Module Center (CSMC) designing and analyzing composite components for the F119 and F135 engines which power the F-22 and F-35 aircraft.

My next hop was to Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis to design Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMC) components for the hot section of advanced technology gas turbine engines. The composite technologies used between the front end of the P&W and the back end of the RR engines couldn’t be more dissimilar and each had their quirks and limitations which needed to be accounted for in the product designs, which made each task challenging. Working at the leading edge of ceramic matrix composite technology application has led to a number of patent applications for our team.

Currently, I work for Textron Systems Unmanned Systems, formerly AAI, in Maryland as a Sr. Aero/Mech Engineer, responsible for managing project tasking and the associated resources to integrate new product onto the legacy Shadow UAVs, increase capabilities through airframe upgrades and provide product designs to future systems.

You have worked in a variety of fields, what lessons have you gained from varied experiences?

The first lesson I learned was engineering is engineering and the fundamentals are the same. Designing a product to save someone’s life in the operating room is not much different than designing one to protect a soldier’s life on the battlefield. Each project starts with requirements, progresses through material selection, design analysis and manufacturing. I’m simplifying here, but the fundamentals are the same; one only needs a willingness to learn the differences in materials and how best use them in each application.

With each employment change, I have been able to draw upon knowledge I gained from past experiences, all the way back to the beginning of my career, even though it has been based upon dissimilar products and/or industries.

I have also learned what I enjoyed the most, and personally that is working in a small company environment. Those companies are the most dynamic and they offer opportunities to act in multiple roles and to get one’s hands dirty building product. That has been most enjoyable for me.

I have worked with a number of great, experienced teams; resulting in products which have helped many people continue their own lives and professions. Because of this, I do not look for a greatest accomplishment in my career, as I associate that with an object and I tend to be more of an experience type of person. That being said, I have considered meeting soldiers who have stated that our products have been responsible for their safe return from the field as well as people which have used the medical products I helped develop as highlights to my career. Those instances act as reminders as to why I choose to work on these products.

What advice do you have for graduating students to be successful in the job search?

Everyone is encouraged to research the company and the job they are considering applying for as best as they can. Many times a job posting is very general, especially for entry level positions, so one should understand the type of products that company and/or division develops. Make sure that is what you want to work on and tailor your experiences to that company. It takes time and effort; however, it allows you to stand out as a candidate.

All companies are interested in understanding what you have accomplished individually and as a team member. Include two or three examples of this information on your resume in a concise manner. If you are invited for an interview, be excited about being there and confident in presenting your product: yourself. During the interview process, we are judging your personality and how well you may fit with those already established on the team in addition to your technical ability.

Finally, look for opportunities that may not be the vision of your dream job, as one does not fall into that position upon walking off campus. These other experiences open doors in the future, allowing you to set a path towards that end goal, as it changes over your career.



Ten Ways Job-Seekers Bomb Job Interviews

Dr. Randall Hansen posted a great article on the Quintessential Careers Blog in regards to various ways job-seeks can bomb job interviews.Quint Careers

Below is the article:

10 Ways to Bomb Your Job Interview

1. Late to the interview. Repeat this mantra: I will ALWAYS be on time for job interviews. There’s no excuse for being late to an interview, and even if by some amazing chance the employer finds the time to interview, you have dug a hole that very few job-seekers ever recover from. Plan ahead, take a test run, and leave early enough for contingencies (accident, road construction, weather). And if it’s a Webcam, Skype, Google Hangout interview, there is NO excuse for not being online for the start of the interview.

2. Bad attire/grooming. I will never forget the time a graduating college student arrived to an interview dressed in a beautiful and expensive suit, crisp white shirt, and power tie… until he got closer and we saw he was wearing sandals. The rest of the interview, the interviewer kept dropping snarky sandal comments; the interview was over before it started. You should ALWAYS dress the part and be well-groomed — even for Webcam interviews.

3. Limited eye contact. Making eye contact is a sign of confidence — and employers want to hire confident job-seekers. Don’t start at the interviewer, but practice making frequent eye contact. In a panel interview, make eye contact with every person. If you have a hard time looking directly into someone else’s eyes, focus on looking at the bridge of each person’s nose.

4. Weak knowledge of employer. Nothing turns off an employer faster than a job applicant who appears to know little of the organization — or the job itself. One of the most important things you should do upon obtaining an interview is to research the employer — both for your own knowledge, but also so you can speak intelligently of the organization — as well as ask intelligent questions.

5. Bland, weak, or boring interview responses. Find the middle ground between providing too little detail — and not providing enough. Your interview responses should be crisp, short, and to-the-point. Know your accomplishments and practice answering typical job interview questions. If you are relatively inexperienced (or it’s been a long time since you have been on an interview), conduct at least one mock interview.

6. Lack of enthusiasm. Do not interview when you’re tired — and do not overcompensate with one too many energy drinks. Try and maintain a strong, but not over-the-top energy level throughout the interview so that the employer knows you are definitely interested in the job.

7. Appearing desperate. Even if you NEED the job, if you appear too eager, too willing, too desperate, many employers will see this as a weakness — just as they see someone who is currently unemployed as a weakness. Express your interest in the job, but don’t cross the line.

8. Willing to take any job. You MUST know the job you seek — and then SHOW the employer why you are qualified for it. If you appear unfocused — or willing to take any job “just so you can work for such a great employer” — you will likely NOT be asked back for another interview. Employers hire job specialists these days.

9. Complaining about past jobs/bosses. Never — NEVER — talk negatively about an employer or manager… even if you hate your current (or last) job, you MUST put a positive spin on it. Focus on yourself, not the negatives of the job.

10. Failing to ask questions. We actually had a job-seeker recently tell us that she thought it was rude to ask questions in a job interview! Quite the opposite. Many hiring managers will make the assumption you do not really care about the job if you don’t ask questions in the interview. But do NOT ask obvious questions you could have learned from doing the proper research. And — if not discussed in the interview — your last question should always be about the next steps in the hiring process.


To read the full article, please visit the Quintessential Careers Blog:


The Prescott, AZ’s Industry/Career Expo is TODAY, October 2!

The Prescott, AZ Industry/Career Expo is today, Thursday, October 2 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm in the Activity Center.

Prescott Expo - 2014

Below is a list of companies attending Prescott’s Industry/Career Expo Today!

2013 Expo Success Story: Chao Zheng

Chao W. Zheng is an Aerospace Engineering major at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach and just Chaofinished a summer internship with Rockwell Collins.

Below is his first-hand experience at the Industry/Career Expo 2013 held in Daytona Beach, FL.

My name is Chao Zheng and I am currently a junior majoring in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Business Administration at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Over the summer of 2014, I was hired by Rockwell Collins as a Systems Engineer intern working in the Coast Guard & VIP Rotary Platform team. During my time there, I worked on two programs: 1) VH-60N/3D Presidential Helicopter “Marine One” and 2) MH-65E Coast Guard Helicopter “Dolphin”.

During the Embry-Riddle industry career expo, I checked out numerous companies but didn’t have any luck with any of the companies despite going through interviews. During that semester, I was waiting for a Boeing internship offer so I didn’t apply to a lot of other companies. When the spring semester came by, I told myself that I shouldn’t limit my options. That’s when I saw an email about Rockwell Collins coming on campus and they are looking for summer interns and co-ops.

Getting Hired

I first heard about Rockwell Collins through my high school’s Airframe & Powerplant training with their radio systems. Immediately, I went online and did some research about the company and was really impressed by the ethical working environment. So, I brushed up my resume from my COM 219 Tech writing class, went to the Rockwell Collins meet & greet and immediately got another interview offer the next day. At that time, I didn’t keep my hopes high because a lot of the applicants were seniors or graduates so as a sophomore, I feel like I didn’t stand out. So about one month went by, and I got an email from the Rockwell recruiter saying that I am one of their top candidates and requested to have an online interview with a team manager. Little did I know, my manager Matt Mulnik was the head of the Coast Guard & Presidential Helicopter team and one week after my interview with him-I was officially hired.

What I did as an Intern

As an Intern with Rockwell Collins, I was working on two Government Systems program under the rotary wings department. Throughout my 11 weeks internship, I spend about 70% of my time with the Presidential helicopter program and about 30% with the Coast Guard program. As a Systems Engineer, I was working with a couple of test leads performing testing on the helicopter’s avionics systems. Some of the test include: Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS), Communication, GPS, Map updates, Radio frequencies, CSFIR (black box), engine simulations, overload systems test and quite a few classified tests. In addition to testing, I learned how to script programs using python that will automatically start the systems up and perform tests without an engineer physically starting the helicopter.

Memorable Events

The most memorable event on my summer internship actually took place in the longest meeting in my life. The meeting was a MH-65E Coast Guard Helicopter TRR (Test Readiness Review) and it is a three day meeting (8AM-4:30PM) where the team leads showed the Coast Guard customers what we will be testing for the next month. On the second day of the meeting, I was approached by one of the Coast Guard captain and I found out that around half of the Coast Guard serviceman and women were Embry-Riddle graduates. It was very surprising because it really showed me how big Riddle’s network really is. In addition to that, in the same meeting, I met another fine gentlemen who graduated from my high school back in the 70s with his Airframe & Powerplant licenses but he is a team lead for NavAir. During that simple exchange, I was really glad to be there because I feel like I belong there with all these alumni who really took their career into the next level.

Summaries and Lesson Learned

What I learned from this internship is the importance of team work and how learning in the real world differs from learning in a classroom. I was very eager to learn because everything was interesting to me and my colleagues have no trouble teaching me the many things that I don’t know. Some of my colleagues were part of the Black Hawk helicopter program back when it first came into production. I feel much reward to work with many engineers who had 20, 30 and even 40 years of experiences.

Due to the nature of my work and position, pictures and project samples were strictly classified and I am unable to share a lot of details due to confidentiality issues.


First Impressions

By: Stephanie Rozboril

When meeting a recruiter or interviewer for the first time, your intial impression can really make an impact. First ImpressionSometimes before you even have an opportunity to speak, they are already beginning to assess you. There are several things to keep in mind to avoid sending the wrong message before your interview or opportunity even begins!

Appearance: Dress to impress! Make sure that your attire is professional, clean and wrinkle free, and appropriate in fit (nothing low cut or too small/big). They will notice more than what you’re wearing so ensure you look well groomed (hair and fingernails especially) and your breath is fresh. A smile and a poised approach will also help to show confidence.

Handshake: Nothing is worse than a limp lifeless handshake. Make sure you perfect yours ahead of time and have it be one that is strong and accompanied by direct eye contact and a smile.

Communication Style: If you are not excited about an opportunity with a company, the company won’t be excited about you. Make sure that you show interest in the discussion, ask questions, and remain confident and enthusiastic. Speak clearly and professionally, make eye contact, and try to mirror the body language and communication style of the recruiter or interviewer.

Resume: When applying online for a position, your resume and application are the only impression you are able to give. To ensure your success make sure that your resume has been tailored to the specific position you are applying for. You should also consider the value of having someone else look over the document to provide feedback and catch any grammatical errors. When filling out an online application be thorough, ensure you answer questions completely, and use your resume as a guide to help you.

The Career Services office at Embry-Riddle is here to help you perfect all of your first impression skills. Take advantage of the services we offer to help you prepare for success!  To learn more about making a first impression, please visit our website:

Stephanie Rozboril is new to the career services office and serves as the engineering program manager and also supports our homeland security, space physics, computer science, and computational mathematics students. She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University since 2012, where she worked in the Alumni Relations Office supporting future and current graduates. Stephanie enjoys working with students to help them achieve their professional goals and become successful in today’s competitive job market.

Employer Advice Spotlight: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

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.

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

Do you remember the old computer game and TV show that taught geography through a fun, traveling secret agent persona? The agents would travel the globe learning about their destinations and travel routes in order to capture Carmen. The problem was that this series was produced in the late 1980s and early 1990s before MapQuest and Google Maps. The agents would have no problem catching Carmen today. And think of playing this game if you had Google glasses!

So let me put this gently – in today’s world with iPhones, Google Maps, Wi-Fi access all over and a million apps to help you get to where you are going…DON’T BE LATE FOR AN INTERVIEW!

Nothing says “throw my resume in the wastebasket” to an interviewer quicker than you being late. Being late to the interview for any reason demonstrates what you are going to be like as an employee: late, irresponsible, demanding, and generally a terrible employee. Showing up late for your interview or anything else is just disrespectful. I don’t know about you, but I’d be sure I was actually early for an interview.

Here are a few tips for being on time to your interview.

1) Don’t just map the location out on Google Maps or another app. That is not enough. What if the GPS is wrong? What if the company recently moved? What if there is an accident and the road you want to take is closed? If the company is local, drive the route the day before to know exactly where to be.
2) Leave 30 minutes earlier than you think you should. It is far better to sit in the parking lot reviewing your notes and qualifications than it is to be rushed because you’re late.
3) When you are late, you rush and make mistakes making the situation worse. Imagine being 15 minutes late for your interview and running into the building to save time? Now you are late and sweaty. Not a good start.
4) “Early IS on time”. Think about it for a second. It also means that, “on time = late and late = forgotten”.
5) No matter how early you are, do not go into the building/office more than 10 minutes early. You seem too eager.
6) Bring some cold water for your trip and turn on the AC. When most people are nervous, they perspire. Use at least these two tricks to help reduce your anxiety.
7) Get gas the day before. Having to get gas will put you behind schedule. And nobody wants to smell like gas when they walk into a room.

If something happens and even with all your pre-planning you are going to be late, call well before your interview time to give the interviewer notice. Leave a clear, concise message.

Part of the world outside the university setting is timeliness. You are expected to be places and do things on time, if not in advance. Show that you are prepared for that leap by being at your scheduled location prior to the time you were given. I promise you the interviewer will be putting a “bonus point” in your column while others are getting dinged.

And by the way…I don’t think the agents ever found Carmen. Maybe you will see her on your way to your interview if you aren’t running too late!

Employer Advice Spotlight: Don’t Bother Showing Up If…

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. 

questions-to-ask-during-an-interview-40You spent time researching and finding the company with which you want to interview.  You emailed and called and asked for the interview.  You met with a career counselor and prepared a great cover letter and resume.  You bought a new shirt/blouse, and your outfit looks great.  But you shouldn’t bother even walking in the office door if you haven’t prepared well thought out questions in advance.  I can almost guarantee your failure if you don’t have questions prepared or if the questions are too rudimentary.

Start by thinking about the Seven P’s.  Prepare in advance by reviewing any materials you were sent, the company’s web site, their company financial filings from the last few quarters,, etc.  This preparation will not only help you learn about the company but give you plenty of ideas about questions to ask.  Here are some ideas to start your brain thinking about questions you should ask.

1)      If you read conflicting information from/about the company, you should ask a question about it.  For example, if one quarterly statement says they invested in something (another company, technology, etc.) and in a subsequent quarter the company takes a write down on that investment, you should ask about it.  Bad investments and write downs are like a questioner’s field day.

2)      If you are interviewing for a new/expanding part of the business, ask about the company’s expectations for that area.  What does management expect?  What are the goals?  How quickly do they expect a return on their investment?

3)      Sites like Glassdoor will tell you how current and former employees view their jobs and the company.  For example, if several former employees comment about the lack of flexibility with time off, you should ask questions about the company’s commitment to employee health and well-being.

4)      Figure out who their competitors are and research them thoroughly.  The competitions’ positioning will tell you a lot about how your interviewer is positioned in the marketplace.  Are they a leader in their field or a follower?  “I saw that XYZ has this new technology in the marketplace.  How are you planning to counter that and retain market share?”  This tells your interviewer that you have immersed yourself in their business and want to know how you will help them be successful in the future.

Now here is the kicker – you MUST ask these three questions at the end of your interview.  No matter what.  No matter how uncomfortable you are asking these, you must do it.  I also include a note about why you are asking these questions too.

1)      Are there any red flags from our interview today that give you concern about my candidacy for the position?  The answer to this one questions tells you everything you need to know walking out the door.  If they say “No,” then you can pat yourself on the back and feel satisfied.  You also have made your interviewer cement in their minds that you are a great candidate for the job because the last thing they will remember saying is that, “I see no issues with you getting this job”.  If they say “Yes,” then you have a list of the issues they see with your candidacy.  This gives you items to follow up on after the interview to provide tangible proof the perceived issues are no longer viable.  You also have a list of things you need to improve on before your next interview.

2)      After our conversation today, I am more excited than ever about this opportunity.  When will you and your team be making a decision about candidates?  This question tells you when you can expect an answer.  This will help you lower your anxiety level about hearing back, and it also puts the interviewer on notice that they have to deliver you a response by a certain date.  If you don’t hear back from them by that date, you are green lighted to call and ask about the results.

3)      Are you the only person making this decision, or is there a group consensus?  Will I have the opportunity to meet with the others?  If it is a solo decision, you now know who the decision maker is.  And you just aced your interview with that person.  If it is a group decision, you now know who else at the company is involved, and you have asked to meet them too.  One of the rules in business is, “find a way to meet the person at the top because they ARE the decision maker.”

While the answers to these questions are critically important to you, the fact that you asked the questions in the first place is a huge “plus” for your candidacy.  To ask these questions, you must be prepared, and you must have confidence.  The interviewer is going to recognize those qualities in you immediately.

Please do not leave your interview without asking these three questions.  Asking these questions will move you to the top of the heap immediately.

Employer Advice Spotlight: Sometimes Overlooked Interview Items

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. 

78dc1fd7-7a8f-4b20-b084-8789c91af08dMost of what you read or hear about interviewing is about preparation, questions and speaking to your skills.  These items are 80-90% of the interviews success.  But the other 10-20% is often overlooked mostly because they are considered “soft skills” that most people are either not aware of or that make them uncomfortable.  Think of “cold calling”.  Most people think “telemarketer” and are repulsed by the idea of cold calling.  But those in business know it is a skill that is essential to the success of almost every organization.

Here are a few of the overlooked items that are important to your interviewing success.

1)      Take a look on the internet and study your interviewer(s).  LinkedIn is a great tool for this.  Best case scenario – you have a common connection that can recommend you.  Worst case scenario – you know the interviewers work history and where they went to college.  Knowing that they went to ERAU or MIT will make for an easier icebreaker than “wow, it’s hot out there.”

2)      Call or email the day before to confirm your appointment, the time, and location.  Confirming says to the interviewer that you are thorough and interested.  It also ensures that you are at the correct location on time.

3)      Be on time.

4)      Think about getting business cards for yourself.  Check out Vista Print.  Good cards will cost you $25-$30 and your University may have printing services too.  A card says you have planned and are serious.  It also ensures that you can exchange contact information with your interviewer.

5)      Get your interviewer’s card so you have all their contact information.  There is actually business etiquette to exchanging business cards.  Review it.

6)      Make eye contact.  Interviewers are turned off by people who don’t make eye contact.

7)      Bring a copy of your resume and any relevant work examples (see the Seven P’s).

8)      Ask the great questions you’ve prepared in advance.

9)      Please take a few minutes and ensure that you have a great business handshake.  Practice on friends and family.  “The Cold Fish” or “Grandmotherly” handshake is a kiss of death for your interview.

10)   Smile.  Research done in 2012 by professors at the University of Kansas has proven that smiling releases your AND others’ tension.

Most importantly you must write either a hand-written thank you note or an email within 24 hours of the interview.  This is an absolute.  No questions asked.  I can guarantee you that a spectacular interview gets knocked down several notches if the interviewer doesn’t receive a thank you note.

Your thank you is your opportunity to show gratitude for the interview opportunity, for you to rectify any issues the interviewer saw in your candidacy, and for you to reinforce your qualifications.  Not sending the thank you note screams unprofessional, rude, and a bad fit.

I actually suggest two thank you’s.  The first is electronic sent within 12 hours of your interview, a quick thank you that informs your interviewer you are sending a hand-written note.  The second is the hand-written note that is your main follow up tool.

Conventional wisdom is that hand-written notes are out of date and old news.  Business professionals know that hand-written notes leave lasting impressions of professionalism, class, and respect.  I have cemented dozens of business relationships simply by sending a hand-written thank you note.

Be prepared.  Have great questions to ask.  Be ready to address your skills.  Also, consider some of these areas that are often overlooked.  As a reminder, be classy and respected, not old news.

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

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.

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