We have all been there, that catch 22 that seems impossible to get out of. It took me personally 6 months to land my first job and it didn’t get much easier after that, but I have persevered and am flying for a company that I really enjoy. So never give up!
In this post I’ll go over a couple things that I have seen from a lot of new pilots who contact me asking about jobs.
The first thing I get all the time is that prospective pilots are not sure about the job and wonder if he/she should apply or not because they may not get in. What you are doing is making a choice without even having one in the first place, until you have an offer for an interview there is no choice to make, so apply and give yourself the chance at having a choice. You can always turn down an offer if you want to.
The more CV’s you have out there the better! (I’ll talk about CV’s at the end)
Try and network
If there are flying clubs around or events to go to, GO. This is where you’ll run into a lot of other pilots, probably some doing the same as you, and you never know you may start chatting to someone who knows someone who is looking for a pilot. I have had a few cross country ferry flights by doing just this.
Don’t be afraid to travel
This is another common thing I see with new pilots, not all of course. Once you have received your CPL don’t expect to find work in your hometown, or even your country, search the internet for jobs with a fleet of planes that you are more likely to get a job with and send them a CV, you never know if they are looking or not (Pilot Career Center) is good for this. Also have a look on the Job page here for something that you may like. If you are willing, the opportunities in Botswana and Namibia are always around, just find out when the hiring season is and go camp out for a few weeks to try your luck. (They may require a C206, C210 or airvan rating on your licence beforehand though)
There are jobs out there, you just need to go out and get one.
Once you have been invited for an interview you are on your way, but don’t think the hard part is over. I see all too often people showing up underprepared for the interview. So for starters try to keep refreshed on your basic CPL knowledge, Meteorology, Instrument Rules and Principles of Flight, these are the basics and your potential employee will want to know that you are current with these subjects, so they will ask. Study up on the plane and company you are applying for, know the basic systems of the planes and if possible its limitations. Knowing the company will also show you have done your homework and that you are really interested in working there. Lastly if you have to do a sim check go and do some practice sim flights at your local school to brush up on your skills, you don’t want to fail just because you forgot how to intercept a radial.
Writing a CV
I personally worked as a chief pilot a few years ago and received CV’s every day. I would look at a CV and if the details I wanted to know weren’t in that first page I would generally not look further. Try and keep your CV to one page, only put the most relevant information on it and include a headshot. Add a cover letter, giving a bit of information about why you think the company should hire you, what your strengths are, what are you doing now or were doing. The cover letter can either be the body of your email or a separate page to your CV. I have added downloadable examples to this post.
This information is what has helped me get my jobs, I am not saying it will work for everyone, but it did for me. I hope it helps or if anything points you in the right direction!