Improving Your Pilot Employment Prospects
Making Yourself More Employable After Flight School
Stay In Touch
The aviation industry is a very small world. You never know who you are going to bump into again throughout your career and who might be able to help you out on the way. Regardless of your training background, stay in contract with the fellow aviators you meet and old class friends. Keep track of which airlines they are applying/interviewing/working for as they might be able to provide you with valuable information or even recommend you for a job a few years down the line. Speak to them on a regular basis – working together and sharing information increases everyone’s chances.
The need to keep track of your airline applications can not be overstated. Maintaining an up-to-date spreadsheet allows you to keep a record of when you applied to each airline, whether you have received a response, if you met the minimum requirements and if they were actively recruiting etc. Keep note of if you have received a reply – have they put your CV on file for six months? By keeping all of this information documented and organised, you can reapply at set intervals. If there is no changes to either your circumstances (such as additional flying qualifications) or the airline’s recruitment status, we would recommend sending an up-to-date CV and cover letter every six months. Send airlines an application too frequently, or not keeping track of your applications, may not be looked on favorably by an airline.
Personalise your Pilot Application
Each airline job is different – sending out a generic CV and Cover Letter for a piloting job is unlikely to impress an airline and can be easily spotted. Tailor both your CV and Cover Letter specifically for the individual airline, considering the company culture, routes, fleet, expansion plans, career prospects etc. For assistance in this, visit our Career Hub section.
Network and Build Pilot Contacts
Get out there and meet new people. Many general aviation flying jobs that are excellent for hour building such as aerial survey or parachute dropping won’t be advertised and pilot recruitment for these roles is often through word of mouth.
Consider signing up to your local flying club even if you can’t afford to fly on a regular basis. Just offering to help out when you can willl go a long way to getting recognised and building contacts. The flying club members and instructors are likely to be from a range of backgrounds, and might include current airline pilots who might have inside information regarding future pilot recruitment.
Pilot cecruitment can often be carried out by recommendations from the airline’s current pilots. If you’ve impressed a fellow flying club member with your attitude and flying skills it could lead to your first commercial pilot job. You might also be luckily enough to get some free maintenance flights or a “free seat” in an aircraft which is all time in the logbook!
Be proactive in your research. Look at the latest airline orders – which airlines are expanding, when are they expecting to take delivery of their new aircraft? If an airline is taking delivery of an air frame in the next few months, they may well need new pilots to fly it, therefore target your applications appropriately. Building up a picture of the industry can help you choose which airlines to send your CV and Cover Letters to.
If you’re applying for smaller outfits such as regional airlines or corporate companies, sometimes taking a direct approach can be effective. For example, turning up at a company’s office and directly handing your CV to the chief pilot will allow you to demonstrate that you have the personality for the job, show you are very keen and put a face to the CV. The chief pilot is much more likely to remember you after personal interaction rather than someone who has emailed them a CV which might put you higher up on the list of people they want to interview when they next recruit. You might even be lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, just when they need to recruit additional crew!
Set yourself targets. If you are working in a job that isn’t aviation based after completing training, it is very easy to be become disheartened and loose motivation. To stop this happening, set yourself a target of applying to one or two companies a day or every other day (whilst keeping track of whom you’ve applied to!).