Lots of people look to make changes in the new year – be healthier, try new hobbies, meet new people and possibly even land a new job. Maybe this is the first job you’ve looked for in some time – you might be out of practice when it comes to the hunt, or might struggle to fit applying for jobs into your busy schedule. This article is here to help you get started and provide you the tools you need to secure a new role.
The aviation industry is an extremely competitive sector and can demand candidates who are highly technical with a wide skill set. As a result, it is important to showcase your skills throughout your application to make recruiters aware of your abilities and qualifications.
Here are our top ten tips to find the best roles and get yourself an interview.
Identify your key skills
Instead of searching for job titles, you might find it more beneficial to search for jobs based on certain skills. A job title only tells part of the story, and you may overlook certain vacancies even though their required skill set is very similar to yours, resulting in a missed opportunity.
Spend some time identifying your main skills and look for jobs based on these qualities. You may find that you uncover roles that you have previously overlooked based on the job title, potentially leading you on a different and more interesting career path.
Job titles are constantly changing, so it is wise not to put too much focus on traditional titles as this could limit your options.
Utilise social media
LinkedIn is often seen as the modern day CV and is usually the first port of call for recruiters when assessing candidates ahead of offering them an interview. As such, it is important to create a strong and up-to-date profile. Pilots for example, should ensure their profile is fully updated with their latest qualifications, certifications and training, while cabin crew members may want to include additional skills like languages and hospitality related training.
The endorsed skills section is a good way to showcase your talents, but stick to desirable skills. Recruiters probably don’t care that an engineer can use Microsoft Word. Focus on adding skills that are key to a person in your profession, make sure the most impressive skills are at the top and delete any that you deem to be meaningless.
Make sure your profile reads well and isn’t littered with jargon, you want it to be short and punchy, just like a cover letter in order to provide a summary of your skills and experience. It can also be extremely helpful to ask colleagues and managers to provide a testimonial in the recommendations section.
Job hunters should adjust their privacy settings on Twitter & Facebook, recruiters are sure to look at your social media history, so you don’t want an embarrassing tweet from a few years ago to affect your chances. Restricting the visibility of your profile is much easier than trawling through years of posts to check if there is anything that might be taken the wrong way by a potential employer.
Staying on the subject of LinkedIn and social media, it is worth reiterating the power of networking.
Although it may seem a little cheeky, messaging a current employee of a company you want to work for is a good way to gain insight into how the company works and what they are looking for in an individual. Avoid attempting to add people you don’t know, instead send individuals a polite message, asking if they could answer a few questions.
Joining discussion groups can also be a clever way to get yourself known by the decision makers at big airlines and aviation firms. Follow companies you are interested in working for and comment on posts but be careful not to spam the page and reply to everything, there is such a thing as being too keen. Also, ensure you also keep your posts strictly professional.
Avoid applying for every vacancy you see that may be of some interest – some jobs loosely related to your skill set may not be a good long term option, which would ultimately be a waste of your time. Narrow your search to just focus on the best jobs related to your skills and career goals, a skilled aviation professional can afford to be fussy.
It is important to do some research for every job you apply for, use websites such as Glassdoor.com to read anonymous employee reviews about airlines to get an understanding what the working conditions are like and what potential career progression there is. You may know of someone working for the company, so look through your LinkedIn connections and drop them a message to get their perspective on things.
Shortlisting the best available vacancies will allow you to put more time and effort into the application, as opposed to applying for a dozen jobs with more generic applications.
Ensure each application is different
Tailor your CV so it is specific to each job. Even though you are only applying for jobs within the aviation industry, you do not want to submit a generic application which applies to general parts of the job. Each role will have different requirements, so you should make sure your CV and cover letter are applicable and will help you stand out.
It is easy to make errors when sending out a template cover letter to numerous jobs, such as getting the job title wrong, or even leaving in the wrong company name. You can pretty much guarantee that you will not be offered an interview if you are making these sort of careless errors, as it shows a lack of enthusiasm and attention to detail.
Creating a unique CV and cover letter can give applicants a real edge as an experienced hiring manager can easily spot a standard application that has been used for numerous vacancies.
Create an interesting cover letter
It is important to not just repeat what is available in your CV when creating a cover letter, instead you should provide additional background information and try to sell yourself to the company. The cover letter should focus on answering questions such as; ‘why you want to work for the airline’, ‘why you are perfect for the role’ and ‘what career path you have taken so far’.
It is also helpful to give the employer something to respond to, something along the lines of ‘ I am looking forward to hearing from you to discuss the opportunity’, this shows that you are keen and available.
Even if the job post does not specifically mention a cover letter, it makes sense to send one anyway as it can only strengthen your application.
Have someone proofread your application
It sounds very simple but the best way to avoid any costly mistakes in your application is to have a friend or family member read it before you send it to the employer. Don’t be overly reliant on the word processor’s spell check, check it yourself and if possible have a second pair of eyes take a look too. Ideally this person would be someone who works in the aviation industry and can offer suggestions; this can be especially useful if the individual has worked at the airline you are applying for.
Don’t be afraid to spread your wings
It would be great if you could find your dream job in your hometown but considering the competitive nature of the aviation industry, it is wise to broaden your search to a commutable area in order to increase your chances of finding a suitable role.
Pilots, cabin crew and some engineers/ technicians will be required to work and spend time in countries across the world, so can afford to be flexible when it comes to their UK base as it is possible that they may spend a lot of time away from it.
There are also fantastic opportunities in the sector overseas, particularly in places like the Middle East, Australia and North America. Read more about the pros and cons of working abroad here.
Stay in touch with your references
Building relationships is important when trying to progress your career so don’t forget your previous bosses and colleagues. If you plan on using someone as a reference then try and keep in touch as much as possible. It could be as simple as the occasional social media comment, or a quick message to ask how things are going.
Managers at firms with a high staff turnover may have to give a lot of references, so these will sometimes be short and sweet, leaving no real impression. A person is more likely to give a glowing reference to a person they are still in contact with.
In an ever-changing sector, it is vital to stay on top of new qualifications and technology changes, particularly in technical jobs. For example, a technician or engineer should have the latest health and safety certificates and be aware of current practices, while pilots should have the latest licences.
An individual will be a more attractive proposition to a recruiter if they show a willingness to learn and improve their skills. Candidates who have out of date qualifications or haven’t completed any new training in the last few years, may appear less enthusiastic about their profession so it is important to stay aware of any industry changes.