One of the scariest parts about applying for an airline job are those probing questions that you would rather not answer because you’re afraid the response you provide will sink your chances of getting hired. Hopefully this article will alleviate your fears because the reality is that most of these concerns exist only in your head. There are very few issues that are truly showstoppers with respect to getting hired by the airlines as long as you’re honest and upfront on your application.
If you are entering the world of civilian flying from the military, regulations and arcane acronyms are nothing new to you. The Air Force has the Dash-1 Checklist; the Navy has the NATOPS. Conversations with the folks in your squadron can take on a language all of its own, filled with terms and slang that few outside of the world of military aviation would understand. The language of squadron life is one of the things that makes military flying such an exclusive club.
Part 1 of Understanding the Commuting Lifestyle generated some great questions and commentary for the BogiDope staff. We focused on the how to commute and highlighted some of the benefits and challenges associated with that lifestyle. We received questions from lots of folks who asked, “What’s best—commuting to my airline job or commuting to my Guard or Reserve unit?”
When you get your new airline job there will be many uncertainties. On your first day of class, you’ll show up knowing little more than the name of the airline that you are employed by. You probably won’t even know the location of your new base and which aircraft you will fly. Sure, there will be rumors about the options that will be available for your class, but surprises are not at all uncommon. Two or three days into your company indoctrination, you and your classmates will gather in a room and someone responsible for staffing will announce the availab
The airline application process can seem endless. The amount of paperwork is immense; there is the application itself, the resume, cover letter, a list of everyplace you’ve lived for ten years, every job you’ve had, copies of every identification document in existence, your logbooks—you’ll quickly begin to feel like you need to hire a personal assistant to handle the process. Somewhere along the way, you’ll need to get between three and five recommendation letters. You’ll be asking people to write a well composed note to your future empl
If you ask anyone who has read Cockpit to Cockpit (www.cockpit2cockpit.com), they will tell you one of my recurring themes throughout the book is “getting a job is a full-time job.” Your success in career transition is directly proportional to the amount of effort you put into it. Early in the book I discuss some of the reasons why the airlines love to hire military pilots, but many military pilots in transition make the mistake of thinking that their aviation experience alone will get them hired at a major airline.
One of the things that made it frustrating trying to figure out whether to stay in the Air Force or get out was the lack of concrete information about the airline industry. I think we worry about making someone angry by asking directly and we don't necessarily even know whom to ask in the first place. The information I needed was all out there (AirlinePilotCentral.com is outstanding) but I didn't know how to put it all together.
I recently got hired by a major airline and have been asked several times for advice on applications, interviews, etc. from other hopeful future airline pilots. One of the questions I’ve repeatedly fielded is: “My app has been in the system for a while, but I haven't heard from anyone. What can I do to make my application more attractive?” I’m writing this in hopes of sharing my advice with a larger audience.
Being an airline pilot is a cool job. As a pilot, you get a view of the world that is unmatched in any other profession. You don’t go to an office—your place of business goes as far as the fuel in the tanks. As a pilot you don’t have to wait months for a project to come to fruition; you see the results of your work immediately. Being an airline pilot is also the ultimate in responsibility. Few professions require the faith that the public places in you every time they board your aircraft.
It’s a shopper’s market if you are looking for an airline job today. For the first time in many years, a pilot entering the airline business for the first time has a range of possible options of employment. With the shortage of available pilots, regional airlines are offering enticing incentives like signing bonuses. Even the major airlines are having to increase the value of their contracts—the pay scales for Delta’s recently ratified agreement are particularly eye popping.