You know the internet is filled with information to help you get an aviation job, but where to start? Start here, with a description of dozens of sites and how to best use them.
April 30, 2003
You are resolute in your pursuit of a flying career. Despite what the pundits have stated in their gloomy predictions about the state of the economy, no matter that there are still many qualified aviators on furlough from their airline jobs, regardless of forecasts that predict a soft job market and a slow recovery for the aviation industry, your goal of earning a living as a professional flyer has not been diminished one iota. You charge ahead earning ratings, building time, and gathering experience.
Once it is time for the job hunt, there is an absolutely fabulous resource available to every airman that simply was not available a decade ago. You see, back in the "old days," the job seeker invested hours and hours researching potential openings. Trips to the library to scan newspapers and magazines from across the country coupled with countless phone calls to aviation's employers asking, "Are you hiring?" were the norm. If an interview was granted, the applicant scrambled to learn something about the company by contacting acquaintances that might be employed there, or obtained a printed annual report through some source.
The Internet -- the World Wide Web -- has become an essential search tool. Although networking is still the best avenue to securing employment, the WWW is brimming with opportunity once a surfer begins mining the best sites.
Employer Web Sites
From Atlas Air to Zantop, virtually every aviation business has produced a Web site. Not only can information be found about the history and financial performance of the enterprise -- always a good bit of knowledge to have in an interview -- but the hiring criteria is often spelled out.
One of the industry's robust regional airlines is SkyWest. These folks fly into such easy-to-take places like Jackson Hole, Monterey, and San Francisco. Simply by visiting their Web site, the aspiring SkyWest Flight Officer will learn about the following requisites for employment:
- 1,000 hours total flight time
- 100 hours multi-engine time
- 100 hours instrument time
- Must be at least 21 years of age
- United States citizenship or legal residency, work permit, or green card
- Fluency in English, both verbal and written
- Positive and professional image
- Excellent decision-making skills
- Stable employment history
- Good communication skills
Many companies post current job openings.
Delta Connection Academy is a premiere airline-training academy. By simply logging onto their Web site, positions at the school, sometimes entry-level assignments, can be found. At the time of this writing, Delta Connection Academy was in search of both a Chief Flight Instructor and Manager of Flight Standards.
Free Job Information Sites
There are numerous Web sites out there that advertise free job information. One of the best, although postings are generally oriented toward highly experienced professional pilots, is Climb to 350.
This address will lead the job miner to a myriad of current positions, many of them overseas. However, in a recent visit, it was discovered that a major New Hampshire-based college was in need of flight instructors. The site also lists non-flying jobs for maintenance personnel, management staff, and more.
Another source of free job listings can be discovered at Aviation Job Search. This site, unlike others, does appear to have a current database of job openings. Positions are listed within 20 different categories including pilot, engineering, operations, training/instructors, finance, customer service, and air traffic control.
Also try surfing these additional job sites, which may or may not charge a fee depending on the services desired:
Subscription Job Information Sites
Some caution is advised here. There are some "entrepreneurs" who tout the fact that they have the "real scoop" on available employment and will happily take your money to deliver useless or outdated information.
Before conveying cash to any of these providers, contact them and inquire about a "free trial" period.
A sound and unique service is offered by the Aviation Employment Placement Service ( AEPS ). For a modest subscription fee of $12.00 monthly, the subscriber will not only be able to access a database of available job opportunities across the entire spectrum of the industry, but AEPS will build a personal resume for the member. Potential employers have the power to access information on each AEPS member and may, indeed, select individuals for initial contact.
AEPS subscribers also receive e-mail alerts each time a potential employer posts a job or sends an inquiry targeted to the member's interest.
AEPS has offered a free 10-day trial period.
Additional subscription sites that might be worth looking at include Aviation Jobs Online and Av Jobs.
Some day, some enterprising individual will launch a Web site for the 250-hour Commercial Pilot. Until that happens, the low-timer hunting for jobs will have to be creative.
Of course, the newly-minted professional pilot will most likely seek out that first CFI job. Here are some ideas.
The first stop should be to the Web site for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Flight schools from around the country are soliciting resumes from fresh and veteran flight instructors. CFIs can also post a resume that can be reviewed by flight-school operators.
A quick tour of Be A Pilot, the industry's new-pilot promotional effort that has yielded attractive results, lists a large number of flight schools that are affiliated with the program. One can almost be assured that the links to participating training organizations will be "hot." Furthermore, these flight-training enterprises are more likely than not to be active marketers and, thus, offer possibilities for employment.
No matter what your interest, a creative way in which to narrow the field of potential employers is at AIRbase ONE. This site is essentially a "Yellow Pages" directory for aviation.
Banner towing is one path in which to build time for bigger jobs down the road. By entering "Banner Towing" in the keyword search engine at airbase1.com, some 25 companies pop up that could be a source of employment.
Getting The "Gouge" Web Sites
The WWW is brimming with "insider" information on how to snag a pilot seat or prepare for an interview.
If that job at SkyWest is firmly in one's career sites, surf to Sky West Pilot. This address will take the prospector to pages of useful information on how best to survive the recruitment process.
"WILLFLYFORFOOD" is an operation that had almost developed a cult following among those headed to the regional airlines. This site has been up and down and has changed servers periodically. The last known address is: www.willflyforfood.cc/.
WILLFLYFORFOOD has served as a clearinghouse for information on exactly what to expect in airline interviews by receiving input from both successful and unsuccessful applicants. This feedback, which can be quite detailed, is posted in the form of messages to specific airlines' message boards.
From time to time, the webmaster for the site apparently has been frustrated by crass and obscene postings and has temporarily shut down the site. Nonetheless, try to connect by using the address above, or go to the search engine at YAHOO and type in WILLFLYFORFOOD to learn of address changes.
A fairly recent Internet addition to "getting the scoop" on the interview process at airlines and fractional operators is Aviation Interviews. The webmaster only seeks a "free will donation" for information that is just about priceless.
Another resource not to be overlooked are aviation bulletin boards hosted by online providers such as America Online. By typing in the keyword "Aviation," the net skimmer will be taken to several bulletin boards aimed specifically at careers, major airlines, and regional carriers. Yes, some useful information can be gleaned from the boards. However, be careful! Do not be surprised to find numerous caustic messages from truly classless, profane whiners who, in their rantings, demean the industry.
Where Do I Start?
If all this is confusing, bear in mind that only the surface has been scratched. A good starting point for anybody looking to extract information from the World Wide Web is Landings.com. At the bottom of the home page is a mix of topics for any aviation interest.
By clicking on "Miscellaneous," the surfer will be taken to a page where another click on "Careers/Employment" will offer nearly fifty links to a variety of paid and free job information resources. Some links are "cold" as companies go in and out of business, but enough are "hot" to be useful.
A click on its "Airlines" topic will reveal the Web site addresses for all kinds of large and small airline and charter operators.
Similar to Landings.com is Aero.com. Also, try Aerolink.
Even your everyday, run-of-the-mill search engine can be profitable. Going to Yahoo and typing in "Pilot Jobs" resulted in 16 addresses. Simply changing the entry to "Pilot Employment" yielded 22 links to job resources.
Now, about those naysayers who proclaim aviation is on the skids: Just ply the WWW as suggested. There's work to be had! We're alive and well, thank you!