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Prospective Employer COLD CALLS, how do you go about it?

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#1 weswood151

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 16:14

I'm a 1500 hour Army (OH/AH) pilot that is planning to retire in three years w/ hopefully 2k hours.  I'm interested in utility, powerline, ag work but I don't know what these companies are really looking for.  There are a few companies that I think I'm interested in, but I don't know if just showing up at their hangers is a good idea.  I haven't had a lot of luck with chief pilots returning emails, so I'm thinking this may not be an effective method.  I am planning on checking out Heli-Success the year before I get out, but I'd like to start shaping my personal training goals towards the jobs I'd like.

 

How do you go about approaching an employer you are interested in?

 

Or;

 

If you are an employer, what are some acceptable ways for a pilot to ask you about traits/training that you are interested in?

 

Thanks Ahead of Time


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#2 Wally

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 20:36

The first thing I did was select potential employers. A lot of research (at least pre-internet) before I could make a list of potential jobs. Theres company reputation in general and finding people who know/knew people who know/knew people in the company, on and on until you can talk to somebody inside or recently there. You want to find out how the hiring process works, impressions of the job, how to make initial contact and how to follow up, follow up, FOLLOW UP!

Youre not nagging, youre demonstrating initiative and sincere desire. I never took a short-term job, I always intended to retire from whatever position I was pursuing. I was going to do whatever the company needed done and eager for for training. This was before the gig economy and common contract work, but I think that a productive pilot is still extremely valuable to the company. I. Was. Going. To. Be. That. Pilot.

You wont get a lot of of response from Chief Pilots unless you have a connection, the whole purpose of the research. Chief Pilots are busy people, so in anything beyond Mom and Pop operation, somebody else will be screening applicants. Its good to know who that is for your follow up.

A professional cold call is not directly a sales call, its an opportunity for introduction. The Mark I Eyeball is the most effective sales tool you have IF you make a good impression. You want to be a person, somebody- not just a name with the qualifications.

I would not just show up at the hangar unless its a very, very small operation. I made a lot of cold calls over a couple of years, and just showing up was only productive once. That was enough to start a 35 year civilian career.

Edited by Wally, 26 July 2017 - 20:42.

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Just a pilot (retired, so I have a LOT of time)...


#3 mudkow60

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 10:36

Call.  Locate where you want to work, and Google the contact info.

 

I have made so many random connections by just calling and being transferred.  Don't underestimate the importance of connections, and people willing to help.  Save the contact info... I had forces come into play that I had connected with a year or so prior.  And, give back to those that are asking for help.

 

Just my 2 cents...


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#4 weswood151

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 07:33

Thanks for the input guys.  I'd say I'm really in the research phase of this operation than actual application.  Part of me is chomping at the bit just to move on to the next phase of my career, but I want to do everything I can while still gainfully employed to set myself up for success when I retire.  I don't get the impression on these forums that helicopter pilots in the civilian world are that highly regarded by employers (probably just a little saltiness shining through), so at the end of the day, I just don't want to be another nuisance. 

 

- Wes



#5 r22butters

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 11:31

...I don't get the impression on these forums that helicopter pilots in the civilian world are that highly regarded by employers...


Na, na, na, we treach y'all right out here!


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The only dream I have left is to live long enough to see the pilot shortage. Its been about fifteen years since they first told me it was coming, so,...

Aaaaaaaany day now! :D

#6 My Rotor

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Posted 29 July 2017 - 22:57

As an employer in the health care field, I would say that it never hurts to make a cold call about a potential position.  It shows interest as well as initiative on the part of the caller and will usually generate a response of some type.  There have been times where the interested candidate made us think of where we could use the individual and sometimes a job will be created in these situations. I think its worth your time and effort.



#7 avbug

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Posted 03 August 2017 - 14:22

I've never had a job by other than by filling out an application and "cold calling." Research the company. Most airline prospects understand that you should know the company, company history, principals and officers, stock trends, expansion plans, corporate culture, etc, as part of your preparation. Know your target, both because it shows genuine interest, and because it helps you understand how to approach to show how you fit their needs.

A lot of applications are just that; completing a paper or online application and waiting, or sending a resume. Research comes more into play when you first meet. In other cases, though, that resume-delivery by hand turns into a job interview, and you'd best be prepared.

If you will be making a road trip to deliver resumes (a hand shake is more memorable to a prospective emoloyer than a stamp, and far more so than an email), customize all your resumes. Don't just have a Professional Objective that says "Employment as Pilot." It should be specific. "Long term employment as EC-135 Pilot for H&H Aviation." The cover letter should be addressed to a specific person, because you researched the company ti know the chief pilots name, or head of HR. Plan your trip for ten companies, or whatever your target number is, with customized resumes and cover letters for each. Know if they accept in-person deliveries of resumes. It doesnt hurt to give a courtesy call to ensure its okay to drop a resume by.

I had one prospect tell me that he didnt want someone dropping a resume. I told him I was in the neighborhood, had heard great things about him and the company, and asked if it would be alright to stop in to shake his hand. He invited me over. We chatted for about fifteen minutes before he asked if I had a resume. I did, in the car. I left with an invite to return for a checkride, and left that with a job. The resume had been addressed to him, along with the cover letter. The content of both werevtsilored specifically to his company's operation, and aircraft. I was sure to address the flying I'd done in the areas they operated, appropriate training and experience, etc.

Several resume deliveries have resulted in checkrides on the spot, and job offers. The key is ti arrive prepared. Cold calling is best done not cold.

Bear in mind that depending on the state of the economy, you msy end up submitting a lot of applications and resumes before you find a job, or the job you want. Be open to possibilities. Dont focus too narrowly on a particular aircraft, company, assignment, or jo, lest you miss something else. Apply broadly, but research and prepare. There have been several companies for whom I've compiled large reports in preoaration for applying. The largest prep file I did was over 600 pages. The shortest about 40.

The 600 page file started with company history, but expanded into research on the interview process, including a compilation of known interview questions. The operator notoriously has the most difficult, arduous, and lengthy hiring process in the world in aviation, and my thinking was that if I could adequately prepare for that, I could prepare for any other interview. Ultimately, I didnt submit, dedided it was not worth the trouble. I dont recommend it. I do recommend taking the time to prepare for an interview or application, however. It will boost your chances of success substantially, and every appkication and interview is rehearsal for the next.
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#8 helonorth

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Posted 03 August 2017 - 14:51

 The largest prep file I did was over 600 pages. 

The 600 page file started with company history, but expanded into research on the interview process, including a compilation of known interview questions. The operator notoriously has the most difficult, arduous, and lengthy hiring process in the world in aviation,

 

What? How many months did you spend on this before you "decided it was not worth the trouble"? My guess is you probably never got an interview.


Edited by helonorth, 03 August 2017 - 14:53.

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#9 mudkow60

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Posted 03 August 2017 - 20:50

I've never had a job by other than by filling out an application and "cold calling." Research the company. Most airline prospects understand that you should know the company, company history, principals and officers, stock trends, expansion plans, corporate culture, etc, as part of your preparation. Know your target, both because it shows genuine interest, and because it helps you understand how to approach to show how you fit their needs.

A lot of applications are just that; completing a paper or online application and waiting, or sending a resume. Research comes more into play when you first meet. In other cases, though, that resume-delivery by hand turns into a job interview, and you'd best be prepared.

If you will be making a road trip to deliver resumes (a hand shake is more memorable to a prospective emoloyer than a stamp, and far more so than an email), customize all your resumes. Don't just have a Professional Objective that says "Employment as Pilot." It should be specific. "Long term employment as EC-135 Pilot for H&H Aviation." The cover letter should be addressed to a specific person, because you researched the company ti know the chief pilots name, or head of HR. Plan your trip for ten companies, or whatever your target number is, with customized resumes and cover letters for each. Know if they accept in-person deliveries of resumes. It doesnt hurt to give a courtesy call to ensure its okay to drop a resume by.

I had one prospect tell me that he didnt want someone dropping a resume. I told him I was in the neighborhood, had heard great things about him and the company, and asked if it would be alright to stop in to shake his hand. He invited me over. We chatted for about fifteen minutes before he asked if I had a resume. I did, in the car. I left with an invite to return for a checkride, and left that with a job. The resume had been addressed to him, along with the cover letter. The content of both werevtsilored specifically to his company's operation, and aircraft. I was sure to address the flying I'd done in the areas they operated, appropriate training and experience, etc.

Several resume deliveries have resulted in checkrides on the spot, and job offers. The key is ti arrive prepared. Cold calling is best done not cold.

Bear in mind that depending on the state of the economy, you msy end up submitting a lot of applications and resumes before you find a job, or the job you want. Be open to possibilities. Dont focus too narrowly on a particular aircraft, company, assignment, or jo, lest you miss something else. Apply broadly, but research and prepare. There have been several companies for whom I've compiled large reports in preoaration for applying. The largest prep file I did was over 600 pages. The shortest about 40.

The 600 page file started with company history, but expanded into research on the interview process, including a compilation of known interview questions. The operator notoriously has the most difficult, arduous, and lengthy hiring process in the world in aviation, and my thinking was that if I could adequately prepare for that, I could prepare for any other interview. Ultimately, I didnt submit, dedided it was not worth the trouble. I dont recommend it. I do recommend taking the time to prepare for an interview or application, however. It will boost your chances of success substantially, and every appkication and interview is rehearsal for the next.

Um... ok... this sounds... strange.



#10 r22butters

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Posted 03 August 2017 - 22:39



I don't know if this is helpful, I was just mesmerized by her cleavage. :D
The only dream I have left is to live long enough to see the pilot shortage. Its been about fifteen years since they first told me it was coming, so,...

Aaaaaaaany day now! :D

#11 500F

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 10:50

A face to face does make you more memorable but unless you are in the neighborhood, its hardly worth the cost.

 

A bit of adivice...

 

In the powerline sector HEC is steadily growing, which means all of the powerline companies are looking for guys that are good with a long line right now. Many utilities require 500 hours of precision long line time before they let you put a lineman on the line. If you are not close to that your best bet at this point is looking for an employer that can help you make the transition. Get a couple years of logging, seismic, christmas trees or other long line experience and then go for a power line job once you have that. Fire fighting is better than nothing, but it is not considered precision by most.

 

Most, if not all of the the jobs I have seen that hire guys with no long line experience offer sub-par pay,  grueling schedules, and are often in Alaska or some other remote area. Lets face it, if they wanted to pay 20-30k a year more and offer a comfortable schedule and accomidations there is no shortage or experienced longline pilots out there that would be interested. Be ready to suck it up and deal with that for a year or two, but don't compromise on safety. The aircraft should be airworthy, and the schedule should offer enough rest that you aren't flying fatigued. 

 

Regardless of what any employer tells you, If a powerline employer hires you with 0 long line time you have going to be doing powerline patrol only.  Long line skill is a prerequisite for just about everything in power line work, including platform work and wire stringing. They are not going to give you 500 hours worth of training and few powerline companies do any significant amount of long line work suitable to hone your long line skills from 10 hours to 500. 

 

Ag is a whole different industry, the two rarely cross paths. The one exception I can think of is JBI up in New Hampshire. They might be a good place to start. 



#12 weswood151

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 11:17

Avbug,

 

Thanks for your extensive guidance.  I've heard a lot of similar advice in the Airline circles and it makes sense that it would translate into the helicopter world.  The "road trip" is roughly what I plan to do, although it might involve an airplane.  The issue I'm running into is that the smaller operators in utility/fire have very little on the web.  I'm also a step or two away from the actual pursuit of a job.  I'm more in the R&D phase to determine what kind of training I can accomplish prior to leaving the Army that makes me a better candidate for the type of work I'd like to do.  So, the "cold calls" would be more of an inquiry on what they are looking for in pilots.  I am continuously maintaining a list of desirable companies, following their work and when they are hiring etc.

 

-Wes



#13 weswood151

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 11:34

500F,

 

Thanks for the advice.  I think one of my biggest hurdles is going to be long line time.  I have zero long/short or any other line time being a scout attack pilot.  Do you know how well received the long line courses are?  I get the feeling that they are better than nothing, but they aren't going to get me a real long line job.  I guess the real question is, are they worth the money and if so, would you recommend any respected long line schools?

 

-Wes



#14 adam32

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 13:21

500F,
 
Thanks for the advice.  I think one of my biggest hurdles is going to be long line time.  I have zero long/short or any other line time being a scout attack pilot.  Do you know how well received the long line courses are?  I get the feeling that they are better than nothing, but they aren't going to get me a real long line job.  I guess the real question is, are they worth the money and if so, would you recommend any respected long line schools?
 
-Wes


Western Helicopter has a long line course that is well received.

Try it out before you set your sights on certain companies...some pilots, even with lots of hours just simply cannot fly a helicopter with a long line attached.

#15 500F

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Posted 04 August 2017 - 20:58

Long line work is fairly rare skill to have. I'd say only about 10% of civilian pilots can fly a line, only about 2% well enough to put a human on structures all day long. As Adam said, a decent percentage of guys that try never get it. Going to one of those schools will tell you if you are one of those guys, or if you are going to get it. Which is valuable information for you to decide your career path. It wont mean much to an employer however, since even if you have basic skills you wont meet the contract/insurance minimums. The only ones that will value it are the ones that hire guys with 0 long line time anyhow, it may be enough to move you to the front of the line with one of those employers.

 

Western used to be great, I've heard its been slipping since Pete and Bob retired, but that is just what I've heard from two friends that went.

 

Andreas, the senior construction pilot at Columbia runs Volo Mission, and he used to run LA helicopters. A good friend of mine took the course 10 years ago and said that it was very good. I can only imagine it has gotten better.



#16 avbug

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 16:41

Avbug,
 
Thanks for your extensive guidance.  I've heard a lot of similar advice in the Airline circles and it makes sense that it would translate into the helicopter world.  The "road trip" is roughly what I plan to do, although it might involve an airplane.  The issue I'm running into is that the smaller operators in utility/fire have very little on the web.  I'm also a step or two away from the actual pursuit of a job.  I'm more in the R&D phase to determine what kind of training I can accomplish prior to leaving the Army that makes me a better candidate for the type of work I'd like to do.  So, the "cold calls" would be more of an inquiry on what they are looking for in pilots.  I am continuously maintaining a list of desirable companies, following their work and when they are hiring etc.
 
-Wes


Dont overlook getting some insight from existing or former employees, or others in that segment of the industry who have some knowledge of a particular company.

With a small company, it's perfectly acceptable to call and say you'd like to forward a resume; ask to whom you should address the cover letter. While on the phone, ask if it's acceptable to drop it in person. You've just killed several birds with one stone.
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#17 avbug

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 16:43

Um... ok... this sounds... strange.


Are you all-military, no real world experience? If so, then yes, it may. Once out, the world does not owe you a living. You make your own.

#18 Guest_pokey_*

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 20:16

Um... ok... this sounds... strange.

 

You think this one is?  Do you remember the story about his car broke down, he walks to the airport & they were so impressed with his bullsh*t that they gave him a job on the spot flying a 747 !


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#19 helonorth

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 22:27

 

You think this one is?  Do you remember the story about his car broke down, he walks to the airport & they were so impressed with his bullsh*t that they gave him a job on the spot flying a 747 !

 

Is that the story where he had four flat tires? 



#20 adam32

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 23:29

 
Is that the story where he had four flat tires? 


I thought the flat tires were on the 747?





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