How Do I Get a Job in Aviation?
Getting a job in the aviation industry is just like anywhere else, with a few key differences.
John and I have created a decision tree to help people find the best way to go about it.
The question we get most often is one that we have also been, frankly, avoiding.
Sometimes, when people ask us this question, they obviously haven’t done any research whatsoever and sound like they’re asking for something completely irrational. (If you’re a high school dropout in Lagos, Nigeria and want to be a pilot next year,
So, it’s tangential to our mission of sales and marketing, but there’s clearly a need.
The Pilot Shortage Isn’t Just Pilots
You may have heard that many airlines are struggling to find enough qualified pilots. There are lots of reasons for this and many possible solutions.
But it’s not confined to pilots – many aviation companies, including ABCI clients, are struggling to find qualified pilots, mechanics, salespeople, dispatchers, chefs, line people, architects, and so on.
We usually offer three big ideas on any topic, but for this topic, there are really only two:
- Get (Really) Qualified, and
- Market Yourself
When someone asks us for help, if we were able to spend the time we would ask them a series of questions and give them advice based on their answers.
If you are already highly qualified for the job you want, then it simply remains to make sure you’re known to the people who make hiring decisions. Expand your network in the part of the industry you’re the most interested in. Choose a few companies that you would really like to work for, and get to know them really well.
This involves networking online, and in person whenever you can. Presenting yourself in a way that shows your competence but isn’t awkward or self-aggrandizing has evolved into an art that has previously been called “positioning” and is now called “personal branding.” This simply means ensuring that the conscious and subconscious communication you’re employing is consistent with the best truth of your abilities and aspirations.
It used to be just a nice resume and wearing the right thing to the interview, now great personal branding includes many other factors, including review of your social media profiles and some phrasing ideas for responses to tricky interview questions. Personal branding is an integral part of how to get a job in aviation!
What if I’m Not (Yet) Qualified?
It’s great to get some expert advice from people in the field.
If you want to be an airline pilot, there are no better mentors we know than senior Captains David Santo and Fred Mattfeld from AirlinePilotGateway.com
If you want to be involved with business aviation, there is an NBAA YoPros mentorship program that pairs young professionals with experienced mentors.
The right mentor can help you choose the best training programs, best internship opportunities, and point you in the direction of small changes that can make a big difference in your career.
What About You?
It’s a great time to pursue a career in aviation, whether you’re a young person or an older person looking for a change into this exciting industry.
We’d love to hear YOUR experiences and advice for how to get a job in aviation in the comments below!