At some point in your working life, you’re going to decide to make a career change. That means you’ll be headed for the hiring process. Are you ready?
Have you been in your current position for a while? If you’re accustomed to the pace and particulars of your job, it may be challenging to make a change. But it’s definitely something worth trying.
The question is, however, how do you differentiate yourself from those who are pursuing the same job? And, if you were the recruiter, would you hire you?
I’ve seen plenty of candidates fail during the hiring process for one reason: they simply don’t stand out from the rest of the pack.
That’s why, you want to ensure that your cover letter is most memorable. Especially you’re up against a sea of cover letters and resumes.
How to Stand Out During the Hiring Process
Below are 10 valuable tips to help ensure that you will stand out from the crowd during the hiring process.
1. Set up a Professional Email Account
Email is a critical business tool for anyone looking for a job. Whether you’re emailing a recruiter or directly to the flight department, set up a professional email address. Then use it exclusively for career purposes. All job-related documents (sent or received) can be stored in this professional email account.
You’ll also want to create an email name that is professional-sounding. SherylBarden@sampleemail.com is certainly more acceptable for HR managers. Much more so than, say, BardenFamily78@sampleemail.com. Google’s “Gmail” is the most popular free email service used among our candidates, so take advantage of it.
And, a word to the wise: if you’re still using an older email account such as AOL, this may date you, technologically speaking.
2. Create an Eye-catching Resume and Cover Letter
First and foremost, make sure you’re very specific about detailing the positive impact you’ve made in your past corporate roles. Use bullet points to quantify your value.
Always look for the correctness of little details, such as acronyms that aren’t spelled out (e.g., SMS, FOQA and IS-BAO). And check for poor grammar, punctuation and misspellings. Have a trusted colleague review and critique your resume before sending it.
Uncomfortable writing the content and/or formatting the information in a MS Word template yourself? Consider hiring a resume-writing firm. A professional editor will strengthen your content. They will also make it visually appealing.
3. Send a “For Your Consideration” Package
This is an attention-grabbing compilation of your professional documents. It’s definitely an “old school” approach. But we recommend that you mail in an oversized envelope to companies you’re interested in working for. It should contain your resume, a “consideration” cover letter and a list of references and credentials.
Tell the hiring managers that you’re very interested in working for their business aviation organization so that, in the event they’re hiring for a position that matches your skill sets, you will be among the first to be considered.
If it’s done well enough, this package is likely to “wow” the aviation director and/or HR representative, who’ll make note of your professional and comprehensive approach.
4. Create a Professional Portfolio
A portfolio is a reflection of your career, and it serves as proof of your performance, training and skills development and accomplishments. I recommend investing in an attractive leather case that you can use to store copies of documents. Include your resume, written references, Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) and/or Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certificates, letters of recommendation, etc.
The portfolio might also include a “leave-behind” document. This is a write-up that explains (in a compelling way) why you should be selected for the position. It’s a move that will leave a lasting impression on a prospective employer.
5. Follow-up Immediately After the Interview
This tip is critical for any candidate. For nearly any interview situation, a follow-up email to the hiring manager and/or recruiter is expected the day you complete your interview. At a minimum, the very next day. This is both a courtesy and an indicator that you are truly interested in the position.
I would take this a step further and mail a handwritten letter as well. It’s even better if you can send it the same day as the interview.
If someone referred you as a candidate during the hiring process, be sure to thank them with a small gift. And remember to treat everyone with a great deal of respect. Be sure to continually demonstrate your appreciation for his or her consideration.
6. Be Mindful of your Appearance
Unless you’re told to dress more casually, dress “to the nines” for your interview. Sure, you won’t wear a suit every day to your new job. But you’ll definitely want to don one during the interview process. Remember, you’re looking to stand out.
Leave the fancy jewelry at home and skip the cologne/perfume, however. You want the hiring manager and/or recruiter to be impressed with your credentials; not your watch or your scent.
7. Be Prepared and Punctual
Would you be late for a flight? Of course not. So don’t be late for your interview either. And, just like a flight, you’ll be bored showing up too early. So don’t arrive more than 15 minutes before your scheduled interview time.
If you do, you’ll likely be an imposition to whomever you’re meeting with, which will only result in you standing out in a negative way. If it’s going to be your first time at the job interview location, check Google Maps the night before. That way you don’t get lost on the way.
Most importantly, know who will be in the interview ahead of time. And anticipate the questions you think they might ask. Finally, don’t forget to put your phone on vibrate mode, or turn it off altogether!
8. Partner With a Recruiter
Remember that when a job is posted online, it could attract hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants.
A highly experienced recruiter will use their connections with the organization that you’re interested in. And, he or she might even be able to find out about opportunities for new jobs before they are published online.
This gives you a great advantage—especially if you can secure an interview and win them over before the position even has a chance to show up on the job site.
9. Expand Your Networking
The business aviation industry still maintains a focus on maintaining strong human connections and networking, so making a personal connection during the hiring process will play an important role in candidate selection.
At API, we tell our candidates that nine times out of 10, they will get their job through their personal network, which could include receiving a referral from your former college roommate, an industry contact, a neighbor, your church pastor or even a recruiter.
Make a point of attending key industry events where you’ll be able to touch base with your many people from your network in a single setting. Take business cards and connect with them on LinkedIn, so that your name will be top of mind when they return home.
10. Be Human
No matter if you’re a flight attendant, flight technician or pilot, you’re going to need a lot more than an impressive resume—especially if you’ll be flying with a crew on a 10-hour flight to China. Face-to-face communication is paramount.
The hiring manager is going to want to know that you will be a good fit within the culture of the organization and that you share the same values as your colleagues.
Hiring Process 201
Remember, hiring managers and HR representatives see dozens, if not hundreds, of applicants for a plethora of jobs over a single month’s time. They review just as many resumes during that same time period.
Using some of the tips I have mentioned above will make your interview and resume stand out from the others, and quite possibly give you just the right advantage you will need to secure your next job.
Lastly, don’t forget that most recruiters in business aviation are truly excited about bringing eager individuals into their organization, so show them that you are just as passionate as they are to get started!