A Pilot Must Know Who Is Hiring and Who Will Hire You

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First, as a pilot candidate, you should find out who is hiring. In its monthly Job Report newsletters, FAPA provides information to its members on hiring activity throughout the aviation industry. Another source of information, if you know how to use it, is the aviation press, i.e., such publications as Aviation Daily, Air Transport World, Aviation Week & Space Technology, Career Pilot Magazine, Flight Crew, Air Line Pilot (published by ALPA), Airline Executive, Commuter Air, etc. The clever pilot can often deduce from seemingly minor reports in such publications that a particular carrier is about to go on a hiring binge. If you are lucky enough to have this kind of "future sight," you will have an edge on other applicants because you will be able to get your application in early, along with a brief cover letter in which, you reveal your knowledgeability by referring to the press reports that first tipped you off about the carrier's hiring needs.

Even without future sight, simply being well informed will enable you to launch a more effective job search. Take note: According to FAPA, its members consistently are among the first in the newly hired training classes.

Second, you should become fully informed with regard to both the minimum and the average requirements of the airlines that are hiring. You can waste time, money and energy applying to airlines that are not hiring or that required qualifications you do not have; you can even waste time if the pool of applicants includes a large number of pilots better qualified than you because in such a case, you may fall too far below the airline's average profile. (One precautionary measure you can take is to compare your qualifications with each airline's average pilot candidate profile as published in the feature articles and new-hire class surveys of FAPA's Career Pilot Magazine.).

Remember that airline pilot candidate standards change continually, moving up and down with the supply of and demand for qualified applicants. Of the companies that are hiring, you should determine who currently is a potential employer, given your qualifications and experience. FAPA's Directory of Employers provides an annually updated listing of minimum qualifications, starting salaries, equipment, domiciles and more. Being realistic about your qualifications, you should apply first to those companies for which you are eligible to work (apply with 10 to 20 companies, more if possible).

A third step you should take is to list those companies for which you would like to work. Many people become discouraged because they set goals that are unreachable, but there are also those who set their aim below their potential. You cannot be accepted if you do not apply. Your strategy should be to apply as soon as you are minimally qualified, then keep periodically updating your file with the airline as you improve your qualifications.

Acquire an Accurate Address List and the Right Contact Names

Once you know who is hiring and where you want to apply, you will need current addresses. The annual FAPA Directory of Employers includes current addresses and recommended contact names. Address changes and new employment information are published in the monthly Job Report newsletter.

There are other sources for obtaining the appropriate company addresses, many of which can be found at the local library. The World Aviation Directory (WAD) is the most comprehensive manual; it includes addresses and general information for specific companies. However, the contact names listed in the WAD are not necessarily the ones to use as contacts on employment correspondence sent to the companies.

The National Business Aircraft Association (corporate) has a listing of corporations with flight departments. This publication can be found in the local library; it includes addresses, contact names and aircraft types in the fleet.

There is nothing to keep you from calling the company and talking with the switchboard operator. Whenever possible, you should ask for a contact name and the title of the person actually responsible for recruitment, along with the address. Without fail, the spelling of the person's name should be verified.
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