A career fair is a place where recruiters from airlines and flight schools come together to talk to pilots who are interested in pursuing an aviation career. This is a great place to network with other pilots with similar goals as well as getting to know the recruiters from each airline. It is sort of a pre-interview, but way more relaxed. Part 1 of this blog will talk about what to do before you get to the job fair. In part 2, I will talk about what to do at the career fair and how to interact with the recruiters.
Before You Get There:
Select your Companies and Research:
After you have found and signed up for an event, the next thing to do is of course prepare yourself for what is to come. Of the companies that are attending, I recommend you make a list of the ones you are interested in.
Once you have narrowed your selection, try to learn a little bit about the company. Go to their website and read the “About Us” section. Another stop on there should be the careers page. Two things you really need to learn from here are what the hiring minimums are and how the application process works. If you are way below the company’s hiring minimums, you may want to talk to that company last to make sure you have time to talk to others. If at the end there is time, then go talk to them.
If there is anything you should know, that is how the application process is done. If you are a qualified pilot, I can almost guarantee you will be asked if you have applied. If you have not applied, most likely, your resume you just handed them will go to the bottom on the stack. Think of it from the recruiters point of view. A recruiter is here to seek interested and qualified pilots to fill positions. If you have not already applied, the recruiter assumes you are not as interested as others who have and will also know that you didn’t take the time to visit the company’s website.
There have been a number of times that I talk to people at a career fair who know very little of our company and no idea about our application process. The whole point of a career fair is about trying to get an interview. It will just make it that much harder to get one if you haven’t applied correctly.
Prepare Your Resume
I wish I could say “it goes without saying” that you should have a properly prepared resume, but I can’t. There are the few that come to the career fair without a proper resume and in my opinion, what’s the point of going. You need to have a properly organized resume! Notice I said organized.
For just about every industry there is a standard resume format. Well, the aviation industry has one too. It makes it much easier for the recruiter to read if you organize things in a way that makes sense. The only other thing I will say here about your resume is use professional resume paper. I know it’s a little more expensive, but it just looks that much nicer and keeps you even with the competition. Think of it this way, if you and another pilot with the exact same qualifications both hand in a resume, one on plain white paper and the other on resume paper, the one with the resume paper will get the call since they took that extra step.
Also, as a rule of thumb, print at least 3 resumes per company you would like to talk to. Chances are they will just take 1 copy of the resume, but you never know. You may have a recruiter that would like a couple of copies to have on hand for their colleagues. Just remember, it’s always better to have too many than not enough.
Eventually I will blog about how to prepare a resume, but for now just use mine as an example at imapilot.net. I haven’t updated it in a while, but the format is a good start for you to use.
Dress for Success
Check out the Dress to Impress blog post. What I will say here is that the job fair is a professional setting so wearing a business suit is a must.
Part 2 of this blog I will discuss what to do at the career fair. How to interact with other participants, approaching and talking to recruiters, and other things that go on.
Have you been to a pilot career fair? What else do you do to prepare yourself?