Lately, I’ve been hearing from a handful of aviation candidates who are new to job hunting.
Some of them feel like job-hunt novices, mainly because they’ve been at the same company for the past 10 years—and in some cases, even 20. Needless to say, the market’s changed radically over that time period.
Now, as they report, they’re either inspired to job hunt by sensing opportunity in the marketplace or they’re forced by circumstances to seek out another prospect.
As I’ve been talking to them, they list the following reasons for their decision to see what’s out there in the job market:
- Job burnout
- Professional and/or financial stagnation
- Changing life circumstances (for self or the aircraft owner)
- Flight department closure
- Aircraft sale
Dealing with Change
For a lot of these newly hatched job seekers, their entry into the job market has been surprising. Not only are they finding that the search process has changed, but they’re also dealing with other issues, including:
- Feelings of loyalty to their current company and/or principal passengers.
- Mourning a job that, once upon a time, they thought they might retire from.
- Facing the possibility of needing to relocate to find work, after living and raising their families in one location.
- Being “rusty” when it comes to 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.
One candidate told me, “I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m like a fish-out-of-water with this. I don’t know where to start.”
So just how does an aviation candidate begin job hunting?
Know What You Want
First things first: sit down with your family and jot down your goals—articulate the “why” and what you’re seeking.
Something like this: “My wife and I sat down and hashed it out; $180K is our bottom line. I’m currently making $220K, but I could go lower if need be, but to a minimum of $180K. We’re ready to move here and here, but not here. And I want a schedule that allows me some predictable time with my family.
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 be shorter than others. And that’s OK. I suggest you include as many meaningful extra duties you’ve handled as possible, while using your loyalty and job longevity to your benefit.
Be sure to list your flight hours and type ratings front and center, and put dates and locations on everything. Also remember to quantify your accomplishments and how you met and exceeded your goals. Don’t forget to mention your professional development experiences.
Link Up with LinkedIn
LinkedIn is still a must-do for any serious job seeker, so keep your LinkedIn profile looking professional. Make sure you have a good head shot, and update the content with relevant keywords. 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 job hunters don’t realize the box is available, but it happens to be one of things we check during background searches).
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 on your name. And, for better or worse, anything you’ve done or do online is bound to leave a trail
Seek out job-hunting 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 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 fit.)
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.
It’s a small world out there, especially in our tight-knit industry. That means that networking is almost always going to be the way you find your next job.
It will either happen as a referral to a recruiting firm like API, or through a referral to a flight department. But, however it happens, you’ll likely land your next position via word of mouth.
Here are a few great tips:
- Research the company 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 answers.
- Be prepared to have a lunch or dinner—even a car ride to or from the airport.
- Be 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 fit.
Tap an API Resource!
I can’t end this without saying how important I think API can be to the entire process of returning to the job market. Remember that we serve as a safe place where you can get thoughtful, caring answers. And if you’re unsure of the job-search process and what’s changed, we can reassure you and support your reintroduction to the market and boost your confidence.
One of the most satisfying things for me is when a candidate says, “Win or lose, get the job or not get the job, I have learned so much and I didn’t have to do it alone.”
That’s music to my ears.