It seems that getting a job these days with any commercial or corporate aviation entity can seem rather tough. Gone are the days where Eastern Airlines roamed the streets looking for potential pilots to fill their growing fleet of 727s.
However, just because the glory days of aviation hiring are gone doesn’t mean that you can’t land a job with a reputable company with decent prospects for growth and promotion. Being a military pilot definitely helps, regardless of what many may say. The training and discipline you received is highly regarded among the industry and enhances your credibility amongst your peers. So what exactly are the big airlines and executive transportation companies looking for?
Hours…And Lots of Them
Well, for starters, they want hours. Lots and lots of hours. Not to mention, they want pilots with ratings/endorsements/certificates. Anything you can do to continue your progression in the civil and commercial aviation world helps. And these days where seats are rare and competition fierce, any edge you can give yourself helps.
What else are they looking for? Well, they want to know you can work together with other crewmembers to accomplish the job safely and efficiently. For some single-seat types, this may prove difficult. However, if you have a solid track record of demonstrated flight leadership, i.e. 2/4 ship leads (section/division for the Navy/Marine Corps brethren), then this can make up for some of the lack of exposure to multi-place aircraft.
So, you have the hours and quals, what now? How do you get your foot in the door and actually get an interview or an offer? Now that’s the million-dollar question. However, it’s not as hard as it sounds.
A Top Notch Resume
First, update your résumé and then review it. Over and over again. Interviewers give your resume a very cursory glance at best. If there are any simple grammatical or spelling errors, this almost certainly means you’re not getting an interview. Next, start making some calls to your old squadron mates who may be flying for some of the legacy carriers. See what they say about the company and if they have any contacts in HR either there or elsewhere. These guys are probably your best resource to get the pulse of the industry. Finally, contact some of the aviation-oriented headhunters out there. They may be few and far between, but at least you can work on your interview skills and techniques as well as get guidance from those with experience.
Check out the Free Pilot and Resume Tools that come with every Airployment.com account.
There are numerous other ways to get an interview, including calling hiring departments at various airlines and commercial aviation firms, and of course, using the internet to search for potential hiring periods. Bottom line, with the amount of competition out there these days, you’ll need to work hard to sell yourself to a company. You need a proven track record and healthy grasp on how the civilian aviation hiring process works. Remember, check your ego at the door and be ready to go if the company calls.