Losing one’s job can be a traumatic experience at any time, but especially during a global pandemic. And particularly when opportunities are scarce.

In the wake of COVID-19, aviation professionals cannot network in the customary way. They cannot attend industry events to help build connections. They cannot even shake hands.

We understand it’s a stressful and frustrating situation to find oneself in.

I know the frustration first-hand. In fact, I witnessed it just a few months ago when I was on a team to help some out-of-work employees. Our CEO and I were able to tap some brand-new tools and resources from our newly revamped aviation outplacement service called Your Best Foot Forward™.

We’ve custom-designed the outplacement program for these COVID-challenged times.

What is Outplacement?

When a flight department experiences a merger or closure, they typically want to do the right thing on behalf of their departing employees. So they turn to API’s outplacement coaches to set their team members up for success.

Corporations come to API because we know business aviation inside and out. It’s a ‘win-win.’ For starters, the employees get industry-specific career coaching. And the employers demonstrate their concern while putting their brand in a positive light.

At API, our outplacement program offers at least two months of career coaching and job-search training. Our goal is to help each participant prepare to re-enter the workforce. We help them put their “best foot forward” as they search for their next role.

 

API’s Aviation Outplacement Service vs. Generalists

API’s aviation outplacement service differs from companywide programs in the following ways:

Aviation network access

At API, our career coaches have over 80 years of combined experience. This affords us a massive network of industry contacts. We’re in a ‘who-you-know’ industry, and we know most aviation directors and their plans for hiring.

Understanding of aviation-speak

An outplacement generalist will serve the needs of the entire company. Thus, they’re unlikely to grasp the nuances of business aviation. At API, our career coaches are well-versed in aviation lingo. We understand the requirements for flight hours, type ratings, aircraft equipment and certifications. And we know important acronyms such as “CAM,” “A&P” and “IS-BAO.”

Experience with families

API maintains a “big-picture” approach in every hiring scenario. For example, we think about how the hiring process (and end result) might affect the candidate’s family. It may require a cross-country relocation. Additionally, it might mean sending a key-contributing parent away for lengthy training.

 

One of the individuals that API worked with, a Challenger 604 Captain, had this to say about our assistance:

“Being offered this service definitely helped me feel better about my employer. The gift of it has shown me that my employer did care about my wellbeing and my future, despite my departure from the company. I would hope that anyone being laid off would have the benefit of a service such as this.”

 

Your Best Foot Forward: New Platform & Updates

As mentioned above, we recently re-launched our aviation outplacement service. When working with clients, we start with individual virtual meetings with each participant to set expectations. In particular, we want to learn what they hope to gain from our program. Following small group instruction, we work with participants to develop personalized career strategies.

Below are some of the recent updates to API’s Your Best Foot Forward service:

Virtual platform

Since COVID-19 limits face-to-face interaction, our new virtual offering is more compelling. And necessary. We are still engaging with participants in a compassionate and collaborative way. We just do so now using online video technology. What’s more, all workshop training materials are accessible via a secured website.

Emotional support

Realizing their “new reality,” it’s easy for outplaced employees to fall into a fragile state of mind. This can impede their ability to move quickly and assuredly when finding a new job. That’s why we’ve honed our focus on the all-important emotional component. Since our motto is “It’s About People,” we make sure to take care of our people! Thus, we invest the time to understand what makes each person’s situation unique.

Branding

Many of our outplacement participants haven’t searched for a job in a decade or more. Thus, an API coach will help them review and update their social media footprint. We also make them aware of popular job application sites. Keep in mind, a comprehensive LinkedIn profile is as important as a print resume. Both need to be chock-full of keywords. This helps jobseekers stand out to recruiters and hiring managers.

Resumes

Did you know that people (even computers) make a judgment about resumes within six seconds? That’s why jobseekers need expertly written resumes. In response, we now provide even more resume templates for our participants. These are designed to make it past an electronic scanner, corporate recruiter or aviation director.

Cover letters

A tailored cover letter highlights relevant experience. It also helps add important context and color to a resume. So we’ve refined our cover letter component to help resumes shine.

Interviewing

In these post-COVID times, jobseekers are more likely to have a video interview than an in-person interview. Hence, an API coach will explain new interviewing techniques and protocols. And we’ll ensure that participants are comfortable using new technology.

 

Outplacement: What to Expect

It’s important to recognize that we’re here to help bridge the gap from one job to another. To set participants up for success, we provide access to contemporary tools to support their job search.

During the process, participants will benefit from our industry connections and resourcefulness. In all things—and particularly now, during this pandemic—we’re going above and beyond.

Participants in Your Best Foot Forward can expect to:

  • Understand the emotions of a job loss and how to work through the grief process.
  • Evaluate their current situation and set career goals.
  • Develop networks – especially now, networking happens virtually via email and phone calls. LinkedIn is a great resource.
  • Target and understand the current job market.
  • Research potential employers.
  • Hone their personal brand – in person, on paper and online.
  • Compose the perfect resume and cover letter for each opportunity.
  • Prepare for interviews with real-time expertise.
  • Receive guidance for interviews in a virtual setting or in-person, while socially distanced.
  • Navigate the contract market, understanding the benefits and pitfalls of being a contractor.

We also encourage participants to become API Registered Professionals™. This helps us determine if they’re eligible for our client project positions. Registering with API can also help bring job search goals and experience into focus.

We’re Here to Help!

This year, we’ve seen the impact of one of the most destructive events ever to hit the aviation job market.

At API, our hearts go out to the bizav professionals affected by job loss during the pandemic. It’s wreaked havoc on your livelihoods and lives. For our part, we’ve been doing everything we can to help aviation professionals weather the storm.

And land on their feet quickly.

One last thing to keep in mind . . .

If you’ve heard rumblings about your department downsizing or closing, please reach out. Talk to your Director and/or HR partner. Share this article to educate them about our aviation-specific expertise. It’s very much a “best practice” that your severance package include an aviation outplacement service. We are here to help make that happen, and will use absolute discretion in doing so. Just ask.

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