The 4 P’s

The 4 P’s

The 4 P’s

While attending a recent career fair I heard these three words used by a recruiter when discussing strengths of applicants: Professional, Personality, and Patience.  I have a fourth P word that may be helpful, Perspective.

Professional can be widely applied and is often thought of with regard to how one appears in person or the work that they accomplish.  Stop and think about how this fits into pilot hiring; no one can see you, but they can see how you present yourself when they review your application and resume.  Over the years I have seen many different approaches to the description of duties on an application.  One of my all-time favorites was from a First Officer who described his job as a regional airline FO as ‘Assist in the duties of part 121 operations, get coffee’.  This approach is probably better suited to an application for a barista position rather than a big three airline job.  Use of unprofessional language gets noticed quickly in this business and can be a significant roadblock.

Personality is another trait that would seemingly be observed in person but alas, no one can see you yet, only your documents.  The words and phrases that you use to describe yourself are in fact an extension of your personality and you have a tremendous opportunity to let that shine.  This can be difficult on an application but is quite easy to accomplish on a resume.  Imagine a recruiter looking at 100 resumes over two days at a job fair.  It is a safe bet that nearly 90 of them are merely regurgitations of companies worked for and dates of service.  Find opportunities to showcase what makes you unique and how you have added value along the way.

Patience is the hardest one to embrace as it is often trumped by frustration.  We live in an immediate gratification world, but pilot hiring is old school, it often takes years to even get noticed.  Getting hired at a major is going to take time, and your best approach is to use that time wisely.  Do you have your college transcripts?  Are your documents current?  Have you started thinking about interview questions and stories to share?   Make sure that you are ready for the call when it comes.

Perspective can best be explained with a quick story.  After a terribly frustrating day in the office, I sat down in my mentor’s office and stated that it was hard to keep my glass half full when people keep poking holes in it.  The reply was simple and eloquent… “Charlie, you have to decide if you want to keep filling it, or let it empty.”  Don’t share with the recruiter that you can’t believe that all of your First Officers are leaving to the majors, instead, share the opportunities you have had to mentor new First Officers that will one day replace you.  It’s about perspective.

It’s like a dream vacation…

It’s like a dream vacation…

Being an airline applicant is a little like going on a dream vacation.

 

For months or even years, you have researched destinations looking at how to get there, where to stay and what to do.  Countless hours have gone into looking for the best excursions and prices, ensuring that you have packed all that you will need for the journey and examining every detail.  On your day of departure, the kids are at the grandparents, the neighbor has been briefed on how to take care of the dog, and yes, even the stove is off.  And then you get to the airport; the line for security is around the corner and when you make it to the front, the machine suddenly needs to be recalibrated.  Your arrival at the gate finds the flight moved to a different gate, on the other side of the airport.  The upgrade you were hoping for goes to someone else, and when you finally strap into that center seat in coach the Captain announces a delay to add fuel for ‘destination weather’.  A good plan has been thwarted by uncontrollable circumstances.

As pilots, we would never consider strapping ourselves into an airplane without knowing exactly where we are going, what time we are going to be where, and how much gas we are going to have when we get there.  We have plan ‘B’ and sometimes C, D & E in our pocket and have given consideration to a host of influential items.  We are in control. Being a pilot applicant for an airline is difficult.  We have no control over the scoring systems at the airlines, no influence over our selection for an interview, and no idea of where we stand in the pecking order.  Alternate plans seem despicable and, as frustration sets in, attention to detail wanes.   Refocus.

You have control of your application, your resume, and how you prepare for the interview process.  The trip you are planning for this time will last a lifetime.  The process will be much easier knowing that you have chosen to prepare.

The Role of Attitude in the Hiring Process

The Role of Attitude in the Hiring Process

The Role of Attitude in the Hiring Process

My wife is in the food and beverage industry and there is a hiring mantra in that business that says ‘hire for attitude, train for skill.’ This doesn’t work perfectly in aviation, but it does have striking comparisons.

All pilots have a skill set that, for the most part, is fairly similar.  PIC, SIC and total time all have different numerical values for each of us, but we all have numbers in those boxes.  Attitude is a completely different animal and is not translated well on paper by most pilots. We traditionally sell ourselves short with regards to job-related performance and recognition of characteristics that make us unique.  Attitude is everything to an employer and airlines are no exception.  Simply ‘performing the duties of Captain/First Officer for airline XYZ’ says absolutely nothing to the reader of your resume about what you do that makes you different.

In my last few posts, I have focused on what NOT to do or say, so I thought I would start off the new year with some things that you SHOULD be saying on your resume. It can be summarized in two words.  Action Verbs.  Here is a link to another great article that has a wonderful list of action verbs.

Very few of you will get an opportunity to meet with an airline this year. Those of you who do will want to leave the airline with a fantastically written document that encourages a closer look at you.  For those who won’t have the opportunity for face time, your only avenues to make an impression are your resume and application.  When you are writing descriptions of what you have done or are currently doing, don’t be afraid to use action verbs to help describe your positions, accomplishments, and accolades.  These words will generate interest in your work and will most certainly set you apart from other applicants who are simply ‘working for an airline’.

2016 is projected to continue to be a very competitive year for pilot hiring, and recruiters and managers want to know what it is about you that makes you different from the other applicants on file. Take the time to make an impactful statement about who you are, what you do, and most importantly how you will add value to your next airline.