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Are you new to a business aviation job search? It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about where to begin. Many of our candidates say they feel like a fish out of water when it comes to finding employment. They tell us they are unsure whether to leave their current employer or even how to go about beginning a job search. 

As a recruiter, I speak with candidates daily who struggle with the aviation job search process. Especially those who have been with the same company for 10 or 20 years. The fact is that the search landscape has changed drastically over the years. Many business aviation professionals are exploring the market because they’re either inspired by new opportunities or driven by fear.

Commons Reasons to Start a Job Search

Are you ready to explore new job opportunities? Understanding the following few dynamics that might compel you to look for a new job will help set the stage for your search.  

  • Flight department instability or pending closure
  • Lack of leadership or communication
  • Job burnout due to poor work/life balance
  • Professional and/or financial stagnation
  • Changing life circumstances (for self or the aircraft owner)
  • Aircraft sale
  • Merger or acquisition

Dealing with Change

For many new job seekers, entering the job market can be a surprising experience. Not only are they finding that the search process has changed, but they’re also dealing with several other issues, including:

  • Feelings of loyalty to their current company and/or principal passengers.
  • Regrets about leaving a job they once thought they would retire from.
  • Facing the possibility of needing to relocate to find work after living and raising their families in one location.
  • Being “rusty” in managing the job-search process because they’ve been out of the job market for years.
  • Difficulty gauging their value in the current job market.

So, with all this in mind, how can you begin an aviation job search?

Know What You Want

First things first: sit down with your family and jot down your goals—articulate the “why” of your decision and what you’re seeking.

It goes something like this: “My wife and I sat down and hashed it out; $210K is our bottom line. I’m currently making $245K, but I could go lower, if need be, but just to a minimum of $200K. We’re ready to move here and here, but not here. And I want a schedule that allows for a comfortable work/life balance. 

To help formulate your decision, here are some recommended API articles:

How Strategic Goal-Setting Can Boost Your Life and Career

AINsight: Reflections and Celebrations

Update your Resume

One critical area that’s seen dramatic change is the resume-writing exercise. If you’ve only worked at one company for a decade, your resume will likely be shorter than others. And that’s OK. I suggest that you include as many meaningful extra duties you’ve handled as possible, while, at the same time, leveraging your loyalty and job longevity to your benefit.

Be sure to list—front and center—your latest maintenance certifications or flight hours for the last 12 months and type ratings. Put dates and locations on everything (e.g., most recent class dates). Don’t forget to mention your professional development experiences. Also remember to quantify your accomplishments and how you met and exceeded your goals.

Another couple of good reads:

How to Format a Resume Aviation Recruiters Will Notice

9 Resume-Writing Tips from a Bizav Recruiter

Invest in a Professional Headshot

One thing we always tell our Registered Professionals: update your headshot. That is, take a photo of you from the waist up. A high-quality headshot conveys professionalism, attention to detail and confidence. After all, your image serves as a first impression for potential employers and can significantly influence their perception of you. At API, when we present our top candidates for consideration to a hiring manager, we always submit a professional headshot, along with the individual’s resume and key talking points.

When taking a headshot, it is important to wear professional business attire as that aligns with our industry. We recommend wearing a solid color business suit jacket for men and women. Avoid patterns in your jacket, tie, blouse or shirt.

If hiring a professional photographer, expect to pay $100 to $300, depending on the location and photographer’s experience. For a DIY approach, using a smartphone with a high-resolution camera, a tripod, and proper lighting can yield excellent results. Select a neutral background and take multiple shots to select the best one. Tip: Share your image with an API recruiter to get our opinion. Good lighting is essential; natural light is often the best, so positioning yourself near a window can provide soft, even lighting. 

Link Up with LinkedIn

Using LinkedIn is still a must-do for any serious job seeker, so keep your profile on that platform looking professional. Make sure you have a good head shot, and that your work history is current. You’ll also want to update your summary with relevant keywords and phrases (e.g., A&P, Certified Aviation Manager, Gulfstream G650 captain, Part 91, Part 135, or business aviation). That way, if someone is recruiting for a position you qualify for, you’re sure to be found.

A key tip is to ensure that you check the box that says you’re “open to new opportunities.” (Most aviation job hunters don’t realize the box is available, but it happens to be one of things we check during background searches).

Check out: The Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Aviation Professionals

Clean Up Your Social Media Profiles

If you’ve been out of the job loop, remember that social media is at the top of the list of recruitment tools. All your online profiles need to be reviewed and updated, because anyone hiring candidates these days will be conducting a Google search of your name and background. And, for better or worse, anything you’ve previously done or currently do online is bound to leave a trail.

Consider reading: How Social Media Can Help and Hurt You

Seek Out Aviation Job Search Forums

There’s a plethora of online resources where you can apply for jobs. Some are on Facebook, lots are on LinkedIn and there are several paid search engine sources. Even the NBAA has a job-search listing. (At API, we rarely advertise our recruitment projects as we are vetting every candidate in our database for the exact cultural “add.”)

Take a look at: Caution! Business Aviation Job Postings Ahead!

Apply with API!

Speaking about our database, be sure to sign up to become an API Registered Professional™. Our candidate registration process is a very good way to get you tuned up for a job search and transition. If you’ve got the skills, talents and character our discerning clients are looking for, you’ll want to be top of mind with our recruiting team.

See how API can help you with these articles:

Benefits of API Registered Professionals™

How to Use a Recruiter to Gain the Greatest Exposure


It’s a small world out there, especially in our tight-knit industry. Networking is almost always how you will find your next job. A good way to accomplish this is to be involved in your local business aviation regional associations. 

It may happen through a referral to a recruiting firm like API, or through a connection to a flight department. However it happens, you’ll likely land your next position via word of mouth.

When it comes to your network, be sure to notify your references that you’re starting your aviation job search. This way, they can be ready to support you and won’t be caught off guard when a recruiter reaches out to them.

Consider reading:

Networking your Local Network

Job References FAQ: Why They’re Important to Potential Employers

Practice for Your Interview

Here are a few great tips related to the all-important interviewing process:

  • Research the company thoroughly, and whomever you’re interviewing with.
  • Dress for success and know that it’s okay to be the best-dressed in the room.
  • Be mindful of how you’re being perceived—watch your body language.
  • Be confident and relaxed.
  • Go through a “warm up” interview process with API—practice your responses to questions.
  • Be prepared to have a lunch or dinner—even a car ride to or from the airport.
  • Stay alert and don’t let your guard down throughout the entire interview process.
  • Be yourself. Ultimately, the new company is hiring you for who you are—because you’re coming across as the right “cultural add.”

Take a look at these articles:

Master Your Aviation Interview: How to Stand Out on Video

Job Interviewing Do’s and Don’ts

Tap an API Resource!

I can’t stress enough how valuable API can be in your journey back into the job market. We offer a safe space where you can receive thoughtful, caring answers. If you’re unsure about the aviation job search process and what has changed, we can guide you. We’re happy to support your reentry into the market and help boost your confidence. Keep in mind, though, that we’ll be honest and tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.

One of our former candidates, a lead pilot, said it best in his testimonial: “API is the best resource for those looking for a job in business aviation.”

This pilot for a Part 91 flight department further explained his endorsement of us. “Because of their emphasis on fitting the right people to the right position and department,” he said, “I think that API is the best resource for those looking for a job in business aviation. The people at API are consummate professionals, and they’ve always provided me with great input to enhance my development as a business aviation professional. Working with API hasn’t just provided me with job opportunities I would not have found elsewhere, but it’s also helped me to efficiently develop professionally.”

In addition, one of our candidates, who is a passive job seeker, shared with us that he considers API to be his safety net. “Working for a high net-worth individual, you never know when a decision may be made to sell the aircraft. API has provided comfort in knowing I am prepared if that day should come.”

With all of the preceding food for thought, it’s good to keep a couple of things in mind. Remember that when you’re considering a change in your career, the uncertainty of what lies ahead can be overwhelming. But, being prepared and proactive can eliminate a lot of the stress you might encounter. Let API be your trusted partner and you’re bound to be ahead of the game.

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