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.



2013 Expo Success Story: Daniel Castrillo

Daniel Castrillo is currently a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering at Embry-Riddle Daniel CastrilloAeronautical University and recently begin a co-op rotation with Gulfstream.

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

I walked into the 2013 Career Expo week not expecting much; little did I know that by the time that week ended I would have set up my future with the world’s largest leading business aviation company. I had prepared weeks in advance for the events to come that week. In order to properly prepare myself, I attended as many of the Career Services events as my schedule allowed. Getting to know the Career Services staff is very helpful in preparing for the Career Expo due to their wealth in knowledge of obtaining a job at the career expo. Luckily for me, I had Sandi Ohman and Lisa Kollar as my UNIV 101 professors during my first semester at Riddle, and I will never forget how they inspired me to work hard for my dreams and obtain a co-op.

My first introduction to Gulfstream came in the fall of 2011 when they came on campus for the 2011 Career Expo, I immediately fell in love with the company and after sitting through their information session I decided to go up and talk to the Campus Relations Consultant, Cassie Batayias. After talking for a few minutes she invited me to interview with her and her team the next day. Although I could not receive an offer since I had just started as a freshman, it was an opportunity for me to network with some professional engineers and get familiar with Gulfstream’s interviewing process. The following fall of 2012 I applied for the Co-Op position with Gulfstream, I attended the Meet and Greet event they held on campus but mostly kept to myself and then attended the information session. I interviewed the next day with two of Gulfstream’s engineers for the position. Unfortunately I did not get the position and I was heartbroken. Being rejected from your dream job hurts and I almost didn’t bother applying the next year. Fortunately I decided not to give up on my dreams and applied again for the position the following year. I attended the Meet and Greet event that Gulfstream held in the Fall of 2013 and this time I tried to talk to everyone from Gulfstream that I could. I believe it is important to show them your face and engage them in an intelligent conversation so they can put your face to your name later on when they’re deciding who gets the job. I then attended the information session and stayed after to talk to Mrs. Batayias to once again introduce myself and converse with her.

The next day was the interview and I made sure to dress my absolute best. It is crucial to come into the interview with plenty of resumes, a list of intelligent questions to ask the interviewers, a notepad, and a pen. To help myself stand out from the other students being interviewed, I brought thank you cards but did not fill them out till after the interview. After the interview was over, I sat down in a chair and wrote out my thank you cards, placing personal thoughts and ideas that stemmed from the interview. Make sure to thank the person for interviewing you and try to sell yourself in the card by repeating your strengths and what you can bring to the table for them. After finishing with the interview, it was time to wait. I attended the Industry/Career Ex[p the next day and went up to the Gulfstream booth to show my face one last time so that they could remember me, I talked to a few more people and left. After 3 of the longest weeks of my life, I was called by Mrs. Batayias with an offer to take my talents to Gulfstream. It was honestly one of the happiest moments of my life because with the Co-Op position there is a 95% chance of obtaining a full-time position with Gulfstream as soon as I graduate.  Not only because of that but because of all the exciting work I will get to be doing here at Gulfstream.

Overall I recommend preparing weeks in advance before the career expo, and talking to and listening to what the career services staff has to say. It was Sandi Ohman’s idea to use the thank you cards and I honestly believe they played a big role in obtaining the position. The best thing you can do is to make yourself stand out from the rest of the competition by any means possible.




Resume Tip: References (how to handle)

ReferencesIf references are requested by an employer, list them on a separate sheet. Do not include references on the resume. The letterhead should match your resume. Do not volunteer reference information unless asked for by an employer. If no amount of references are specified list a minimum of 3 professional references. These should be people who have direct knowledge of your job performance and professional abilities. Make sure to get their approval first, and they are prepared if contacted. It is a good idea to provide your references with a copy of your resume so they can adequately speak about your experiences. List contact’s name, title, company, complete address, phone number with area code, and e-mail address. Only list the email address if it is checked frequently.

Consider leaving off the line “References available upon Request.” This line is optional as it is a given that you will provide references or additional information upon request. The line can serve the purpose of signaling the end of your resume, but if you are trying to conserve space, leave it off.

Sample resumes are available on the Career Services website (

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

Resume Tip: Remove Clichés and Fluff from the Resume

deletebuttonpicRecently there has been press about an overabundance of overly used words on resumes “Experience” and “LinkedIn,” like detail-oriented, driven and team player, to name a few.  While some of these words can be useful, you need to eliminate as much as possible the clichés or fluff words from your resume, job search documentation or online profiles to ensure that readers see your value.

As you build or evaluate your resume, you should keep wording that establishes your expertise and accomplishments, enhances the document or further clarifies information.  Otherwise, remove the words or phrases that do not further your candidacy for employment (aka fluff) or that seem to be on everyone else’s resume (clichés).

Now, having common wording or a few fluffy words on the resume is not typically a deal breaker, but it probably leaves less-than-desirable impressions on the reader.  First, a list of overly common words may lead to assumptions that you can’t think outside of the box or be creative and that you may not really know how you can help the company’s bottom line.  Second, filler words make it harder for a reader to understand what you want to communication and forces them to weed through the extras to get to the point.  Third, an inability to deliver on the resume may signal to the reader that you have poor communication, persuasion or other skills that a company may expect from a candidate.

Companies expect candidates to communicate clearly and effectively, so avoid using empty filler on your resume.  Instead, use clear, concise, powerful wording that conveys your value to a potential employer.

Resume Tip: GPA

GPAListing your GPA on your resume is typically suggested practice. If you choose to leave the GPA off your resume, then be prepared to be able to answer why your GPA is not listed. Some companies screen by GPA and having it on your resume could increase your chances for an interview. If your GPA is low, then it is a judgment call if you want to list it.

Additional Tip: If your major GPA is higher than your cumulative GPA, then you could list both on your resume.

Sample resumes are available on the Career Services website (

Resume Tip: Language Skills Section

Thank you in different languagesLanguage skills are a valued commodity for many companies and should be included on a resume. With languages, you can create a section dedicated to that function, or you can include it in an overall “Skills” section.

If you include a language on your resume, you need to be proficient in it. If you can speak the language but not read or write it, specify your actual abilities with that language, possibly by listing different comprehension levels.

Additional tips:
If your native language is English and live in the United States, please do not include that as a language skill.  If you are from the United States but are seeking employment in a global location, you can list English as a language skill.  If you are from a location that does not speak English as a native language, please include English as a language skill.

Sample resumes are available on the Career Services website (

New College Grad Ultimate Checklist for Resume Success

Dr. Randall Hansen posted a great article on the Quintessential Careers Blog in regards to a new college grad checklist for creating the best resume for the job search.

Here is the article in its entirety.

Quint CareersReview your resume for these best practices:

I have…

Not used a resume template to create my resume;
Used standard fonts (no more than 2) in normal size (11-12 pt.);
Placed my name at the top my resume in a bold style;
Listed the best two methods to reach me (typically cell, email);
Used a professional/appropriate email address; no Yahoo or “babydoll;”
A well-formed headline and/or branding statement;
A Summary of Qualifications section with 3-4 targeted bullet points;
An Education section that follows next, containing only my college experience;
An Education section that lists my college degree, honors and awards, and GPA (if above a 3.0);
An Experience section that follows next, listing all relevant entries in reverse chronological order;
Included relevant jobs, internships, and volunteering in my Experience section;
Listed each experience entry by the job title, employer, city, state, and start/end dates;
Written 3-4 bulleted phrases for each experience — highlighting my accomplishments, not duties;
Started each experience bullet point with a strong action verb;
Quantified my accomplishments, where possible;
Included extracurricular activities, only if relevant;
Kept my resume to one (full) page;
Not listed any references or names of supervisors;
Reviewed other samples of good new college graduate resumes;
Spell checked and proofread every single word on my resume;
Made refinements to my resume to help better navigate employer applicant tracking systems;
Received critiques from key people in my network and made appropriate revisions.

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

Remember that your resume should be tailored for the specific position you are seeking.  The above are just suggestions to consider when writing your resume.




Tailor your Resume for YOU

resumetipspicBy Emily Ferraro

Embarking on a job search can often lead one through a lot of stress, uncertainty, and even sometimes doubt.  It’s important to remind yourself that you are just as important to an employer as they are to you. After all, there are two components to this process: the employer and YOU. More often than not, students are so eager to get a position that they forget what makes them unique and important compared to other applicants. Tailoring your resume isn’t just for the employer; it’s the first step in realizing your potential with a company. Of course, you need to appeal to an employer to get the job, but you must first appeal to yourself. Start by preparing your resume and cover letter with these tips in mind and be prepared to know your worth!

1. Ask yourself, “Why is it important to tailor my resume?”-

  • Imagine you are an employer receiving hundreds of applications for only one position. When you come across one that has a clear objective/statement that includes the position and company within your goals, you know right away that this resume is just for you. Scanning through the resume, you see that the resume highlights experiences and skills needed for the position in mind because they translate to the position description. Overall, you like to see that an applicant has taken the time to make his or her resume “made to order,” and this is the first step in impressing you.  This is the scenario you want to create when an employer finds your resume. It shows that you comprehend the position and the company’s vision while showing your ability to communicate your skills – a lot like a preview of what’s to come in an interview.
  • Staying true to the position description and highlighting your transferable skills help you understand the position. This is important because you should comprehend as much as you can about what this position requires and what you can bring to the role. It also prevents you from including fibs or extra material that doesn’t pertain. The rule is always quality over quantity. Looking impressive means that you present the real skills, show your true potential, and understand why you are important.

2. Use these methods when tailoring-

  • Most common tactic used when tailoring documents is incorporating keywords or buzzwords. I challenge you to think deeper, don’t just copy paste the words from the position but think about how you can present those key words in the bullet points of your past experiences.
  • Use transferable skills and action verbs! Employers scanning your resume want to see two things: 1. “What did you do?” 2. “How did you do it?” – sweet and simple. Jazz it up with action verbs to set up the skillset you are trying to demonstrate.
  • Get rid of redundancy. Like I mentioned before, quality reigns over quantity. Try not to list everything you have done on your resume and instead incorporate what is most pertinent to this position.

-Tip: Keep a master resume that includes all of your experiences, projects and involvement. Then pick and choose what you want to keep/omit based on what the requirements and skills are for the position. Save the new one as the resume for the specific position in which you are applying by including the company name in the file name (ex: Last name_NASAresume).

  •  Always prove your bullets with supporting examples. A lawyer making their case would never walk into a courtroom without supporting evidence to back their claim. . Think of your bullet points as the supporting evidence; always state your skill but provide a specific example of how you developed that skill. (For example, “Developed research skills by gathering data received from satellite, analyzing for patterns, and formulating the information into organized spreadsheet documents.”)

But you’re not quite done there. Just as important as it is to have a tailored resume, your cover letter will give you an additional edge, and having accomplished your resume means you’re on the right track towards creating a strong cover letter.

  • Even when an employer states that a cover letter is not necessary, I would always recommend writing one. This is the first place to show your ability to go above and beyond what is required of you.
  • When an employer looks over the submitted applications, the candidates with cover letters have put their applications into another category that shows their drive, ability to communicate transferable skills, and an extra ambitious attitude for the position.

Here are some additional tips for tailoring a cover letter:

  • Pick 2-3 specific experiences from your resume that you wish to elaborate on.
  • Organize your paragraphs to show your key skills. In one paragraph, highlight a needed skillset from the position and support it with evidence from your resume. In the next paragraph, highlight a different skillset also needed for the position and demonstrate how you have accomplished those skills.
  • Use the models and examples on our website for more insight on what a cover letter should possess for your specific degree program.

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.


Tips for Writing a Federal Resume

By Valerie Kielmovitch

USAJOBS2Applying for federal jobs is not a quick and easy process.  It takes time and patience to ensure your resume is ready and tailored to specific available positions.  To begin this process, I suggest you create a profile on  This website is where the majority of federal positions are listed.

A federal resume is typically anywhere from two to five pages in length and encompasses general and specialized skill sets you have obtained throughout your education and experiences.  In the past, Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities statements (KSAs) were a separate document that had to be written, but now they should be intertwined in your federal resume.

Once logged into the USAJobs system, you have the option to ‘Build New Resume’ or ‘Upload New Resume.’  You can store up to five resumes in the system.  If you choose to build a resume in the system, it will take you through several pages to complete, including elaborating on your experiences, education, and references.  Upon finishing, you can preview and even print the document for your records.

Ways to make your federal resume standout from other applicants:

  • Read the description thoroughly and tailor your resume based on the requirements and duties in the position.
  • As mentioned above, integrate your KSAs within the document.
  • Highlight your specialized skills and how they relate to the position.  Human Resources (HR) managers receive an overwhelming number of resumes and ensuring your document stands out from the rest is imperative.
  • Add keywords from the position announcement found in the mission, duties, and qualifications sections to align your resume with what the hiring manager is seeking.
  • Provide examples demonstrating your experiences within the field in which you are applying.  Highlighting past performance assists in proving good future work performance.
  • If able, really highlight your specialized experience on the first page of your resume, so HR is drawn to your document, which should entice them to continue reading the document.
  • Ensure the resume is easy to read and well formatted.  Spelling and grammatical mistakes could easily eliminate you from the candidate pool.

The biggest difference between a business resume and federal resume is the length.  However, a federal resume should be very detailed and descriptive to help HR ensure you fit the criteria and grade level of the position you seek in the federal government.

Prior to submitting your application, ensure you have provided all documents requested in the position announcement. Continue to monitor federal job postings as application timelines vary in length, and some are even a week at the most.

Remember to use your resources such as the Career Services website and the EagleHire Network.  Having others read over your resume prior to submitting will help catch any mistakes.

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.

Get Your Resume to Employers Attending the Industry/Career Expo!

EagleHire Network LogoStudents and alumni of Embry-Riddle, you can get your resume to employers recruiting at the Industry/Career Expos, even if you can’t attend!

Through the EagleHire Network, resume books are available allowing you to submit your resume to companies attending both Industry/Career Expos.

To publish your resume to any of the resume books in the system, log into your EagleHire Network account and mouse over “Documents” in the upper navigation bar, then select “Publish a Resume.”  You will then select from career focus-specific resume books in the system.

We are encouraging Expo exhibitors at both the Daytona Beach and Prescott campuses to log in and access the resume books in the system.

Note that if you haven’t already uploaded a resume into the system, it will first need to be approved before you can publish your resume to the resume books in EagleHire.

Resume Book Tips:

  • If you already have one or more resumes published in EagleHire, double-check to make sure your documents are up to date with your current contact information and most recent experience.
  • Only submit your resume to those resume books that apply to your level of experience and areas of expertise/career focus. Submitting your resume to every resume book, including those with no relevancy to your background, will not increase your chance of getting a phone call…if anything, it may decrease your chances.
  • Be proactive – research the companies attending the Industry/Career Expos at the Daytona Beach and Prescott campuses and apply online to any opportunities of interest.
  • Submit your resume to resume books even if you plan on attending the events. There are many linked employers in EagleHire who have access to log in to the system and search for resumes at any time throughout the year.
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