In the field of aviation, making money shouldn’t be a student’s priority, according to a recent panel discussion.
The Ohio State Center for Aviation Studies held its third annual Aviation Career Night Wednesday, an opportunity for students to get career advice and network with professionals.
The session attracted more than 120 people, with a student-to-professional ratio of about one-to-one, said Jim Oppermann, OSU lecturer and event moderator.
Focused on what employers are looking for in employees and how students can be marketable, the four-person panel — representing various careers within the aviation field – participated in an interactive discussion with the professionals in the audience.
Passion, endurance, confidence and positivity were all labeled as character traits that help make individuals stand out among the herd of job applicants.
“Be yourself, care about what you are doing. Do not make money your first option,” said panelist Susan Dugan, representing Flight Safety International, an aviation training company.
The panel said a common interview question asks applicants to recall a particular situation, task, action and resolution, known as a STAR question. If answered well, these STAR questions allow applicants to boast about their skills and experience, said panelist and Southwest Airlines pilot Matt Tallarico.
“No canned answers, they don’t want to hear what someone else said. It’s got to be your story,” he said, adding that these questions give the applicant an opportunity to answer how they “handled it as a leader.”
Some students said they like the yearly event because of its networking opportunities.
“I’m an aviation student and there’s not that much offered for aviation students, so this is pretty much our career fair,” said Jamie Vick, a second-year in aviation management and logistics, a duel specialization in the Fisher College of Business. “I hit it off with a guy who’s a consultant with exactly what I want to do.”
Besides the specific aviation-related information given by the panel, some students said they valued the discussion of interview tactics.
“I really liked the interview strategies that they gave, and that can be brought in to everybody, not just aviation majors,” said Lesia Mural, a fourth-year in civil engineering.
Since its inception, the Aviation Career Night has grown in participants year after year, but the event still retains its original purpose, Oppermann said.
“The key to the whole thing is bringing in these (professionals) for the students. It’s not a recruiting event, it’s a conversation,” he said.
Held in the Blackwell Ballroom, the event cost the Center for Aviation Studies about $600, said Brian Strzempkowski, assistant to the director at the Center of Aviation Studies, in an email Thursday.