2020 Q3From the BoardROTOR Magazine

Finding Your Next Opportunity

By June 16, 2020March 26th, 2021No Comments

Pandemic or no, these job-hunting tips will pay off.

Low oil prices and the widespread disruption caused by COVID‑19 have created tough times for many in our industry. I’d like to pass on some sage advice from a few people who’ve experienced hiring, firing, and furloughs during the pandemic.

Never miss an opportunity to interview. Don’t cancel an interview because things look promising with your first-choice company (and never, never be an interview no-show). Take that interview and do your best to make a good impression for future opportunities. Your first choice may not be a good fit, or your position may be cut—keep as many doors open as possible.

Don’t ghost prospective employers. So you’ve gotten a job offer—great. But don’t burn bridges with the other companies you’re talking to. Reach out and let them know your decision. Thank them for their interest and leave the door open to future encounters. Even after I’d accepted a job with Company A, I thanked Company B for the opportunity to interview with such an outstanding organization. I explained that I’d chosen Company A because it fit my needs at the time (I could build more flight time there). When Company A unexpectedly laid me off, I still had a solid connection at my second choice, Company B, and I was immediately picked up.

Work on your resume. Don’t make recruiters wonder if you meet the job requirements. In your email to HR, detail how you meet the required qualifications, using the exact wording from the job posting. You should also list that information in the top one-third of your resume; assume that HR won’t read any further unless they see most of what they need. Check out these aviation resume templates for both pilots and maintenance techs for ways to improve yours.

Keep your email address professional. Don’t let your email address reference your age or your preferences in politics, religion, or sports. Avoid using vintage email services, such as aol or Hotmail; many older email domains are more prone to be labeled as spam.

Avoid making offensive or negative comments on social media. Even when you’re in the most private of social media groups, making negative, tasteless, or offensive comments online tends to be noticed. Being the moderator of—or even being associated with—a group with an unprofessional reputation can harm your job opportunities.

Be available, not desperate, and explain the difference. Applying to all six of a company’s open positions may look desperate. However, a call or an email to HR can explain that you’re geographically ready to relocate anywhere (or that you consider them to be a destination company, or whatever the case may be). That personal explanation can make all the difference. Of course, applying for jobs you don’t actually want is a waste of the company’s time and yours.

Know that HR personnel will ask about you in the industry. They’re incredibly well connected and will reach out to their HR, pilot, and maintenance connections at your previous places of employment or school. They’ll quickly learn your colleagues’ assessment of your professionalism, work history, ethical standards, and attitude. Assume your HR contact knows your reputation better than you do.

HAI will host its annual Military-to-Civilian Transition Workshop and Helicopter Industry Job Fair at HAI HELI-EXPO 2021 in New Orleans. Both events are free for job seekers. Explore your options so we can all get back to keeping the rotors turning.

Looking forward to seeing all of you at Expo!

Author

  • Stacy Sheard’s aviation career began as a US Army Huey and Black Hawk pilot. After leaving the military to pursue a commercial flying career, Stacy flew in the charter, tour, news-gathering, air ambulance, and corporate aviation sectors; she was also a production test pilot for Sikorsky. She is currently an AW139 corporate captain with Fanatics/EJM. Stacy was first elected to the HAI Board of Directors in 2016 and is the 2020–21 chair.

Stacy Sheard

Stacy Sheard

Stacy Sheard’s aviation career began as a US Army Huey and Black Hawk pilot. After leaving the military to pursue a commercial flying career, Stacy flew in the charter, tour, news-gathering, air ambulance, and corporate aviation sectors; she was also a production test pilot for Sikorsky. She is currently an AW139 corporate captain with Fanatics/EJM. Stacy was first elected to the HAI Board of Directors in 2016 and is the 2020–21 chair.