Job-Hunting Tips for Aviation Careers
Nearly finished with your training program in an aviation-related field? Whether you’re a technician or a pilot, it’s time to start thinking about landing your first job. Months before graduation, you should be gearing up to begin your search for employment. In this article, Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology reviews a few key tips for success in the job hunt.
Know Your Stuff
First, make sure you’ve been conscientious during your training program. Have you done your best to earn the highest grades you possibly can? Are you on track to earn ratings and licenses many employers require—or prefer?
Keeping your grades and attendance dialled in and preparing for your examinations will prevent you from having an unexpected gap on your resume where your Airframe & Powerplant or Certified Flight Instructor rating should be.
Know Your Target Companies
Do some Internet research—or work with your school’s career center—to identify a few key employers you’d like to work for. These may be employers who:
- Are actively looking for skills like yours
- Are located convenient to where you live
- Have a good track record when it comes to benefits, pay, and advancement
- Offer continuing education for your area of expertise
Make the effort to learn everything you can about each of your targets’ companies. This includes basic facts such as key executives, company history, and the company headquarters. It also includes finding out about the key products manufacturers make, or about fleet aircraft, routes or hubs used by airlines. In addition, you should make the effort to find out a little about each company’s corporate philosophy or culture.
Tailor Your Recruitment Materials
The point of performing company research is not to be able to wow interviewers with a recitation of facts you’ve learned. It’s to help you craft a personalized sales pitch to each employer, giving them specific examples of how your skills, experience, and personal qualities fit with their company goals and culture.
Use what you’ve learned about the companies you want to work for to tailor your resume and cover letter individually, highlighting the aspects of your background that will resonate the most with each job opening. This may seem like a lot of extra effort, but it can pay off.
The aviation industry is very competitive, but also very personable. Make the effort to attend job fairs and networking nights in order to get your name—and resume—in front of potential employers. Ask your flight school instructors if they have connections you can send your resume to, or who might know about jobs that aren’t listed. Most of all, use your school’s career services department. Their job is quite literally to help you find a job. If you’re a veteran, you may have additional networking resources at your services—find out about them.
Online aviation job websites are also useful. They certainly make it easier to send out your resume to a ton of employers with just a few clicks. However, they should be used along with person-to-person networking, not as a substitute for it.
Remember that hunting for employment is, in itself, a full-time job. Aviation is a competitive industry, and even though the job market is improving, it may take you some time to land a solid job. Persist. Keep sending out good-quality, well-researched applications. Keep making the time to meet people or attend fairs. Keep looking. You’ve gained the skills, and the job will follow.