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Staying Productive During the Job Hunt

4 October, 2023
Nourhan El-Tourgman

Former Simtech Alumnus, Nourhan El-Tourgman: Staying Productive During the Job Hunt

After finishing your training, it may take a while to get your first flying job. Some of us are lucky enough to find a job very soon after finishing our training, others go through multiple applications and assessments before we get our first job. This period of uncertainty can be especially difficult because you don’t know how long you will be waiting around for. Below, I have listed a couple of things you can do to stay productive during your job search.

1. Update your CV

It is important that your CV highlights all your valuable qualities, as well as experience. And don’t be afraid to include things that are non-aviation related. Employers are often looking for well-rounded individuals – and that means having hobbies that are outside of Aviation. These are the kind of things that make you stand out and really show your personality.

I would highly recommend getting your CV looked over by an airline preparation company or someone involved in pilot recruitment. We often think we know what recruiters are looking for, but we don’t. Pilot CVs are short, snappy and to the point. Those in recruitment will be able to give you valuable feedback regarding content and structure, to increase your chances of succeeding to the next level of the recruitment process.

  • Ensure your CV is up-to-date with all your valuable qualities and experiences.
  • Include non-aviation-related aspects that make you stand out and show your personality.
  • Get your CV reviewed by an airline preparation company or someone involved in pilot recruitment for valuable feedback.

2. ATPL Revision

We all want to leave them behind once we have passed them, but this is the time when your ATPL knowledge is most relevant. Technical interviews are involved in most assessment processes. You could be tested on anything in the 14 ATPL subjects. Although it is difficult to cover everything in great depth, you will be expected to demonstrate a satisfactory understanding of core elements of each subject.

As you know, some of the ATPL subjects are particularly dense, so revising them may take some time. In most cases, you will not be given a lot of notice for an assessment day, so it would be advantageous to be prepared as much as possible, so you are able to spend remaining time reviewing technical knowledge, rather than revising from scratch. This will increase your chances of passing the technical interview.

  • Keep your ATPL knowledge fresh as technical interviews are common in assessment processes.
  • Demonstrate a satisfactory understanding of core elements in each ATPL subject.
  • Be prepared to spend time reviewing technical knowledge, increasing your chances of passing the technical interview.

3. Cover Letters

Although cover letters should be company specific, it is beneficial to create a generic template that shows your values, personality, and work experience. Every company will differ from one to another, so you will need to alter cover letters depending on company history, current operations, financial position, plans for expansion and company values.

Cover letters give you the opportunity to ‘sell’ yourself to the company and help them understand why they should give you the opportunity to progress to the next stage of the recruitment process. As well as your CV, I would also recommend having your cover letters looked over by someone in pilot recruitment.

  • Create a generic template showcasing your values, personality, and work experience.
  • Tailor cover letters for each company based on its history, operations, and values.
  • Practice writing cover letters to make the process more natural.
  • Have your cover letters reviewed by someone in pilot recruitment for feedback.

4. Home Flight Simulator

Setting up a basic home flight simulator is extremely beneficial for those who do not have the opportunity to fly often. By doing so, you will have the ability to practice both VFR and IFR flying so that your handing and procedural skills stay sharp. Our IFR ‘scan’ is the first thing to deteriorate when we do not fly for long periods of time, and this is an aspect which is heavily assessed during simulator assessments.

You will be expected to demonstrate raw data approaches, manual holding patterns and general handling (e.g., rate one and steep turns). In a real simulator assessment, you are given 20-30 minutes to demonstrate your ability to fly manually, therefore, having prior practice would be extremely valuable.

  • Set up a basic home flight simulator for regular practice, especially if you can’t fly often.
  • Practice VFR and IFR flying to keep your handling and procedural skills sharp.
  • Prior practice is valuable for simulator assessments, which may include raw data approaches and manual handling.

5. Networking

Upon completion of training, the amount of guidance you have going forward, is quite limited. By networking, you can meet new people, share your experiences, and receive valuable advice on matters you are unsure about. Networking is a great way to exchange information. It gives you the opportunity to gain knowledge by speaking to industry professionals who have been in similar positions to you.

It is also an opportunity to be noticed. Networking is an avenue for growth. There is high potential to stand out to high-profile individuals who may be able to present exciting opportunities to you.

  • Network to meet new people, share experiences, and receive valuable advice.
  • Gain knowledge from industry professionals who have been in similar positions.
  • Stand out to high-profile individuals who may present exciting opportunities.

6. Revalidations

Keeping track of revalidation dates for your medicals and ratings can be quite difficult. Particularly, if you hold more than one licence, and/or multiple ratings. Having a system in place would be extremely useful to help you keep track of it all. Even if it’s as simple as flagging them on your phone calendar or creating a spreadsheet to document it all.

It is also helpful to book them in advance so that you do not have to worry about not finding availability that would suit you.

  • Keep track of revalidation dates for medicals and ratings.
  • Use a system, such as a phone calendar or spreadsheet, to document and track revalidation dates.
  • Book revalidations in advance to ensure suitable availability.

6. Aptitude Tests

Aptitude tests are commonly part of airline selection and assessment processes. Therefore, it would be particularly beneficial to have had some exposure to them previously, as some of them can be quite challenging. Quite often, when you have been sent a link to access the airline’s aptitude testing portal, you are only given a couple of days to complete them. This leaves very little room for practice. It would be beneficial to familiarise yourself with some common aptitude tests that are used as part of airline assessment processes.

  • Aptitude tests are common in airline selection processes.
  • Familiarize yourself with common aptitude tests used in airline assessments.
  • Exposure to these tests beforehand can be particularly beneficial.

By incorporating these strategies into your routine, you can stay proactive and enhance your chances of success during the job hunt.