Carmen Ellis and her first-timers takeaway! #FloridaACE17

Carmen Carter, M.S. – Assistant Director for On Campus Recruitment – Career and Talent Development – FIU


FloridaAce was such a wonderful conference, as a career service professional it is always invigorating listening to other institutions and learning about the programs and initiatives that they’re implementing to help students. I received so many takeaways and cool ideas that I plan on using at Florida International University. I valued meeting colleagues from other institutions as well as hearing from employers/ recruiters on ways we can work better together.

Congratulations to the 2017 John T. Brownlee Leadership Award Recipient, John Sheehy

Alicia Smyth, 2017-18 Past President, Florida Association of Colleges & Employers

Brownlee Award Recipient, John Sheehy, with two of his three nominators, Erin Minta and Sandi Ohman

The Florida Association of Colleges & Employers is proud to announce that this year’s John T. Brownlee Leadership Award recipient is John Sheehy. John has been a Career Development Coordinator and Student Success Coach at Stetson University, working with business students, for over 11 years. John has been a member of FloridaACE since 2010 and immediately began serving as co-chair of the Conference Registration Committee. Additionally, he has served in leadership roles over the years for the On-site Logistics Committee and President’s Council. John’s enthusiasm for service also earned him the New Member Award in 2012.

It was John’s efforts in his role as Chair of the Colleges of Central Florida Career Consortium (CCFCC) that helped him to stand out as a leader within FloridaACE. For instance, John came up with the idea to develop a registration reimbursement program to incentivize CCFCC members to submit program proposals to present at the FloridaACE Annual Conference. Members who were accepted were entered into a drawing. In the past two years, six FloridaACE conference registrations have been paid for by CCFCC. Additionally, each member school was able to receive reimbursement for up to two members to attend the 2016 FloridaACE Drive-In Conference. During John’s time as Chair, he also established the annual CCFCC reception at the FloridaACE conference, created a chair position for social media and marketing, established committees, and promoted the idea of creating awards for high achieving members and students of member institutions. FloridaACE was also able to partner with CCFCC to co-sponsor SoACE’s President’s Reception last year when their annual conference was in Florida.

The John T. Brownlee Leadership Award was established in 1987 by the Florida Association of Colleges & Employers (FloridaACE) in recognition of John T. Brownlee’s contribution and tireless efforts on behalf of the organization. It is the highest honor that a member of FloridaACE can receive and the list of recipients is a “who’s-who” of outstanding career services and human resources professionals who have led the way to make FloridaACE the exemplary organization that it is today.

In order to be considered for the Brownlee Leadership Award, a member must receive two letters of nomination. John received three. Excerpts from the nominations John received:

“John has been dedicated to his profession through his work on the leadership team of the CCFCC.  His enthusiasm and passion are evident in his commitment to the members of this group as well as the students served.  John regularly schedules meetings, connects its members to professional development opportunities and just plain gets things done.” – Mark Colvenbach, Director, Office of Career Services, The University of Tampa


“John’s leadership style includes modelling collaboration, professionalism, service to the industry, persistence, and vision.  As the Treasurer for CCFCC, I grew under his leadership because the single-minded pursuit of his vision pushed us to expand as a consortium and to develop individually as professionals.  Additionally, John is quick to make newcomers feel welcome and to encourage service and engagement, thereby assisting new career services professionals to develop swiftly and to become successful practitioners, while simultaneously ensuring the progress and ongoing success of organizations such as CCFCC and FloridaACE.  I consider it a privilege to have worked so closely with him these last 3 years, and to have witnessed his exemplary leadership.“

– Erin Minta, Program Manager, Career Services, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University


“John’s passion and enthusiasm has spilled over into the FloridaACE organization.  He has suggested and led sponsorship opportunities by CCFCC at the FloridaACE conference, encouraged volunteer and presenter opportunities by CCFCC members, and led by example by volunteering himself at previous conferences and events.”

– Sandi Ohman, Assistant Director, Career Services, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

On behalf of FloridaACE, congratulations to John receiving this award! Having worked with John for many years through both FloridaACE and CCFCC, it was a sincere honor to announce John as the recipient and to hand him the award on stage at the Annual Conference this year. It is truly inspiring to see someone’s leadership, hard work, enthusiasm, passion, and service rewarded when you know first-hand how well-deserved it is.

The call for nominations for the 2018 John T. Brownlee Leadership Award will be announced in the November. Please consider nominating a dedicated FloridaACE member who has made a significant contribution to the association and/or the career services or university relations/college recruiting professions. Board members are not eligible. A list of past award recipients and selection criteria can be found on the Brownlee Leadership Award page of the FloridaACE website.


Meagan is looking forward to getting involved at #FloridaACE18

Meagan Jones – Assistant Director of Career Planning – Saint Leo University Meagan Jones

“I was very excited to attend the FloridaACE conference as a first time attendee. I had the opportunity to meet and connect with numerous employers, vendors and professionals in the field. FloridaACE members welcomed first time attendees with open arms which allowed for an exchange of wonderful pleasantries, and as a result long lasting personal and professional friendships were established! In the future, I am looking forward to attending FloridaACE next year as well as getting involved in several committees!”

Christine Richard has this to say about her first time at #FloridaACE17

Christine Richard – MST Internship Coordinator – Indian River State College

Christine Richard

As a first time attendee at #FloridaACE17, I appreciated the opportunity to network at such a beautiful and relaxing resort!   The roundtables and workshops were a great way to hear about current trends and to network with peers.   The presenters were professional and provided valuable information and great ideas on their topics.  I especially appreciated the discussions on resumes and internships.   I came away refreshed and ready to implement new initiatives that will benefit our students!

Looking forward to #FloridaACE18!

1st Timer’s Take on #FloridaACE17


Devyn Montalvo, MSW  – Director of Career Services & Community Outreach – Webber International University 

“As a first time attendee of Florida ACE, I was very pleased with the event and cannot wait to return next year. I chose to commute instead of staying at the hotel, and I can confidently say it was worth the almost three hours of driving each day. I would do it again in a heartbeat!”

Advance Your Cause After an Interview: Send a Thank You Note

Advance Your Cause After an Interview:  Send a Thank you Note


By Bob Nealon

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” – Oscar Wilde

Recently, I was a part of our office’s hiring committee for two positions for which we were hiring.  One of the positions was a full-time position managing our social media and student engagement.  The other position was for our front desk student career ambassador position for which we were looking to hire two individuals.

I am happy to report that we found the right candidate for each of these positions with one person already producing results on the job and the other two starting in August as the fall semester commences.  However, the hiring and interview process for these positions revealed some surprising candidate activity, or lack of activity, in this case.

One commonly-offered interview tip is to send a thank you note within 24 hours of an interview to each person with whom you met during the interview process.   This is not a revolutionary suggestion as it is probably something you’ve heard many times.  Additionally, you might make the assumption that most candidates do this as regular practice during their quest to land the right job opportunity.

Unfortunately, a recent CareerBuilder survey1 of 3,244 private sector full-time workers across industries and company sizes found that 57 percent of candidates don’t send thank you notes after an interview.  Think about this for a second.  Approximately 6 out of 10 candidates don’t take the time to say thanks for the opportunity for the professional courtesy they’ve received from the prospective employer.

Additionally, in an Accountemps survey2, over 90 percent of HR managers indicated that it was helpful for a candidate to send a post-interview thank you e-mail / note.  This validates even further the importance of sending a thank you e-mail / note.

If these statistics don’t have an impact on you, consider our office’s hiring process mentioned earlier.  Sadly, we experienced candidate behavior mirroring the CareerBuilder findings during our hiring process for the two positions.  Here is what we experienced:

  • For the full-time position – we interviewed four candidates with only two sending thank you e-mails / notes (50 percent didn’t send a thank you)
  • For the two part-time positions – we interviewed nine candidates with only one sending a thank you e-mail / note (89 percent didn’t send a thank you)

 Successful interviewing ultimately comes down to three key components including:

  1. Communicating Your VALUE (Prove you can produce results)
  2. Establishing a FIT (Establish your values, personality, skills, and more are a fit)
  3. Enhancing Your LIKEABILITY (Show your temperament and personality align with the hiring manager and team)

While this post is not about these three components, I believe sending a thank you e-mail / note relates to enhancing your likeability factor.   Let’s face it, people hire people they like.  It is that simple.

I encourage candidates to be their authentic self during the interview; however, do what you can to enhance your likeability factor.  I maintain that the thank you e-mail / note can help a candidate build upon the likeability factor that they built during the interview.

When should I send the Thank you note?

Sooner is better, but don’t wait too long to send.  A good rule to follow is to send the thank you note within 24 hours after the conclusion of the interview.  However, don’t pre-write the thank you note and hand it to the interviewer as you are leaving either.  It won’t leave the impression that you want it to in this case.  Plus, a pre-written thank you won’t allow you to include something noteworthy you learned during the interview.

How should I send the Thank you note?

 If the prospective employer’s hiring timeline is greater than a week, consider sending a handwritten thank you note through snail mail.   This would allow plenty of time for your thank you to arrive through the mail.  Sending a handwritten note is a lost art that takes both effort and time to create, both of which tell the interviewer(s) that you are serious about the position and doing anything you can to enhance your case that you are the right candidate for the position.  One downside to the handwritten thank you note is that the space for your message is limited.

If the hiring timeline is shorter than a week, I suggest that you send an e-mail to ensure that the individuals with whom you interviewed receive your thank you note.  You could send the interviewer(s) the thank you in both formats too.  One benefit to e-mail is that you have additional space to send a more detailed message to the interviewer(s) with whom you met.

The bottom line here is that you need to send a thank you note.

Who should receive the Thank You note?

Send your thank you note to each person with whom you met during your interview.  Personalizing the note is always best, whether you are sending via snail mail or e-mail.  For instance, if you met with three interviewers during your interview, then send three separate, personalized notes.

If you developed rapport with the receptionist or executive support administrator while you were waiting in the lobby or someone went above and beyond to make you feel welcome during your visit, I also encourage you to send a thank you note to this individual too.  It is common practice for executives (both HR and hiring managers) to ask the receptionist or executive support about their experience with the candidate along with their general observations (i.e. what was the candidate doing?, was the candidate friendly?, etc.).  Positive feedback from those in the front office can go a long way in advancing the candidate forward in the hiring process.

What should I write in my Thank You note?

You’ll want to keep your thank you note brief whether you send in an e-mail format or a handwritten note.

Below is an example you can use as you craft your own thank you e-mail to an interviewer.

Consider that this example is only to give you an idea of how to format your own e-mail.  Obviously, you might include some information you learned during the interview as a part of your e-mail.  Hopefully, the example will highlight some of the general information you’ll want to include.

E-mail Example:

Subject Line:

Thank You – Social Media Coordinator Interview – <First Name> <Last Name>

E-mail Message Content:

Dear <Salutation – Mr./Ms.> <Last Name>:

Thank you for allowing me to interview for your Social Media Coordinator position this morning.  I enjoyed learning more about your specific needs for the Social Media Coordinator position at <company name>.

After learning more about the position, your job seems to be an excellent match for my skills and interests.

The creative approach to social media initiatives you described today enhanced my desire to join your team.

In addition to my enthusiasm about your position, I bring <skill A>, <skill B>, and <skill C> that will allow me to deliver excellent results to your team, while demonstrating a strong team-first mentality.

I appreciate the time allocated to our conversation. I am very interested in working for you and look forward to hearing from you regarding this position.  Thank you again for your consideration.


<First Name> <Last Name>

Email Address


Phone Number
LinkedIn URL | Website URL


Handwritten Thank you Note

Below are some general suggestions for sending a handwritten thank you note via snail mail:

  • Make sure to use an embossed or monogrammed blank card.
  • Include both your return address and the delivery address on the envelope, so your note should begin with the date, followed by the greeting on the next line.
  • The body of your note will follow the greeting.
  • Close with your contact information: “I can be reached via e-mail at or via telephone (561) 555-1212.”
  • Include a complimentary close followed by a comma (Example: Sincerely,)
  • Include your signature after the complimentary close.
  • Make sure your handwriting is at its very best, and your grammar and spelling are correct.


Handwritten Note Example:

 July 12, 2017

Dear <Salutation – Mr./Ms.> <Last Name>:

Thank you for allowing me to interview for your Social Media Coordinator position.  After learning about your needs, I believe my background and experience are an excellent match.

Also, the creative approach to social media initiatives you described today enhanced my desire to join your team.

I am confident my experience will allow me to produce results for you. I look forward to hearing from you soon regarding this position.  If you need additional information, please feel free to call me at (561) 555-1212 or via e-mail at <email handle>  Thanks again!


<First Name> <Last Name>

Sometimes the obvious things are overlooked.  Don’t let not sending a thank you note stand in the way of your job search success.  Make sure to send your thank you within 24 hours after an interview to each person with whom you met.

Gratitude is always the right way to go.  Here’s to your success!


CareerBuilder Press Release. (2016, July 28). CareerBuilder Survey Reveals Five Common Job Seeker Pitfalls That Will Hinder Any Career Search.  Retrieved from:

2 Accountemps Press Release. (2012, June 14). Farewell to the Handwritten Thank you Note? Retrieved from: you

About the author:

For almost 10 years, Bob Nealon has been a South Florida-based career coach, focused on training and coaching college students and professional-level clients to achieve success in their employment search campaign and careers. He has trained over 5,000 clients with strategies on how to best compete in today’s ultra-competitive market to land the job and advance their career.

He holds a master’s degree in Sports Administration from Indiana State University and is a multi-credentialed career coach holding industry certifications as a Certified Professional Career Coach, Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Employment Interview Professional, Certified Empowerment and Motivational Coach, Global Career Development Facilitator, and Florida Certified Workforce Professional.

Currently, he is a career coach at Lynn University within the Hannifan Center for Career Connections in Boca Raton, Florida.  If you have questions about interviewing and the importance of practice, feel free to contact him via e-mail at

Mastering the Employment Interview: Practice Makes Perfect!

Robert (Bob) Nealon – Career Coach – Lynn University 


Many job search candidates are afraid of interviewing or, at the very least, extremely uncomfortable with the employment interview. What makes the interviewing process so problematic for many is that a high percentage of hiring professionals (HR managers, recruiters, hiring managers) feel that today’s job candidates don’t interview well and can’t articulate their value proposition (what they can do for the company to improve performance) to a prospective employer.

Don’t believe me? Here is your proof. Test this out by asking any job seeker one simple question:

“Tell me why I should hire you and how you see yourself contributing to our organization in a couple of brief sentences?”

Sadly, you’ll find that many job seekers simply aren’t prepared to effectively answer this important question. In fact, most candidates will swing and miss, completely missing the mark, and ramble on during an interview never really highlighting how they deliver performance results within the role. Therefore, the candidate doesn’t convince the hiring authority that they can be effective within the role, and, doesn’t receive an invitation to the next step in the hiring process or job offer.

Taking it a step further, statistics indicate that greater than 90 percent of hiring managers believe most job candidates interview at either an average or below average level.1 This is a scary statistic, especially considering that it is during the interview that a job candidate can earn the job offer, allowing them to earn income and achieve their career goals.

Having trained over 5,000 college students and professional-level clients, I can validate the cited statistic’s accuracy through my many interview skills training sessions and mock interviews with clients. Most are in such a rush to blast their resume anywhere and everywhere through popular online job boards that they don’t take the time to effectively prepare for an interview as a part of their job search process.

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