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Hi Max:

There is no doubt about it, times are tough right now. That is as true for 200hr CFIs as it is for 5000hr ATPs. My opinion is that this too, shall pass. :)

 

I have learned a few things about job hunting in the industry over the years, none of it is proprietary information, but allow me to echo what some say; as I have seen it work.

 

1. TENACITY: No one can work harder for you than you can. ALWAYS FOLLOW-UP. Most of the job my friends and I have received are because we kept at 'em until they say "no." Every company has thin staff, everyone is busy, and everyone has a stack of resumes. You have two options...quit now and chalk up the helicopter thing to a pipe dream, or make it happen. I say again, ALWAYS FOLLOW UP

 

2. EDUCATE YOURSELF: Consider job-hunting a learned skill, treat it like a school course. Be your own salesman. Pick up a couple of sales books, read online articles about interviews, job searching, career fairs, etc. Learn about elevator pitches, cold calls, professional written correspondence, and how to network and follow-up. (See Rule #1)

 

3. NETWORK: This is a commonly used word with varied meaning. Rather than thinking of it as formal begging (I picture an 18th century street urchin at Heli Expo, prattling around with outstretched arms and open hands) Think of it as industry education. When you meet people, ask them about who they are, their experience, and what their company does. People love to talk about themselves, and all the information is beneficial.

 

4. STAY POSITIVE: This is a bit "granola" but depression is a very real symptom of a tough job market. Enough time without results can leave you doubting your self-worth, and it snowballs. Find something...anything to keep your mind active and participating within the industry. Read forums, articles, go to safety seminars, etc. (See Rule #3)

 

I wish I could offer more specific information, but I don't know of any schools that are hiring. :( However, I am starting to see my friends get the jobs they want, and have started seeing more job postings, and I believe things will be getting progressively better from this point forward.

 

Regarding the resume, I have been dissapointed with "aviation themed" formats that I have come across. I created a hybrid format after three hours at Barnes & Noble and several resume books.

 

Hope it helps.

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I was wondering if anyone has any tips that would give me the leading edge on getting hired.

 

Might be asking in the wrong place...lots of 200+ CFIs here that can't get hired. If your school didn't hire you, you're in a tight spot: schools train 5 times the CFIs they need, so unless there are flight schools opening everywhere, there's always going to be a surplus of CFIs. And the longer you're an unemployed CFI the greater the disadvantage you're at. Did your school offer you any suggestions? Mine (Silverhawk), sent me a link to the Indian Aviation Authority and told me to go there--apparently they need pilots.

 

My suggestions:

 

  • Ask your school what their CFI needs are, and how you can get to the top of the list. It's already a long shot if they didn't hire you already, but it's probably your best chance.
  • See if BoatPix needs CFIs/contract pilots. They have several requirements (weight, 300 hrs TT, for example), and they mostly train the pilots they need. But occasionally they'll bring on a 200-hr pilot from another school.
  • Road trip. Go to schools and HAI. Expect most owners to not even take your resume when you hand it to them. Got an interview for a friend of mine a year ago when she happened to walk in the day after the school's CFI got hired to the GOM. I guess I'd hit the small ones who won't be churning out CFIs as regularly.
  • Hang around your local FBO in a non-threatening way. Get to know the operators, and see if one will take you on doing something else (driving the fuel truck, working on their web site, washing blades, whatever).
  • Take your Instrument Ground Instructor test and get that endorsement. See if a school will hire you to do their instrument ground.
  • Plan B. Hunker down, save money, get another job, and hope things get better. Try and fly as often as you can. Try not to get too bitter.

 

I'd cautiously advise getting additional training. Hasn't helped me or anybody else I know, and it's expensive. Well, $400 for an HAI course isn't much in the grand scheme of things. But if you get a break and find somebody who has the need for an instructor, maybe something like that will stand out on your resume.

 

Also, I was wondering if any employers in the industry have an example of an award winning resume that they would be willing to share.

 

Lyn and I wrote an eBook on resume writing for pilots. You can get that here (I don't get anything from you buying it). It includes templates and examples. If you have specific questions, I did the low-time pilot section, and you can ask on my site.

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kodoz- I meant to tell you how much I enjoyed your website. Checked it out again after the last Heli Expo...great job.

 

Max- I would echo many of the comments, but remember so many of the HAI and FAA safety events are free. I just attended one, cost nothing, free lunch, free beer social and 10 hours hanging out with pilots from all walks of life.

 

How can any student...or anyone looking for a job pass these up?

 

And yes, if you want a few things to help stand out, list a few of the safety seminars you have attended, your memberships and your FAASTeam card.

 

Goldy

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Guest Maximinious

thank you for the great responses. As far as getting hired at the school that I finished my ratings at .... I have an interview in 2 weeks. In the meantime I wanted to prepare my next steps in case I don't get hired. There are five guys that just finished at the same time I did. They are all great guys that bring something different to the table and I wish them the best of luck.

 

I am not sure if my school is going to be hiring at all, but they give all of their students a chance to interview for an instructor job upon completing all the ratings. In the meantime its back to waiting tables :D

 

I will definitely check out the boat pix thing. But the Tuna boat thing is out of the question. I have heard some really bad things about that path.

 

I wish I had the money to travel and visit different schools, but I spent every last cent I had on training in the R-44 to get my 25 hours. I will stay focused and figure out a way to make my dream of becoming a professional pilot come true. The important thing is that I got this far when all the odds were against me. I will make this happen one way or another! Thank you for all the great suggestions.

 

Can anyone else send me a stellar resume they may have?

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First thing, since you already have a CFI, you do not need a Ground Instructor Certificate to teach ground school. The regulations do allow you to do so, even if you don't flight instruct.

 

As for job searching. I have been on the other side of the desk many times during my career and I can tell you that there are many things that will turn off a prospective employer. For your interview show up on time or a little early. Bring your logbook(s), it is surprising that there is one in every crowd who doesn't. Dress neatly. I don't expect to see an Armani suit, but for a flight instructor I like to see slacks, shirt and tie. A sport coat or jacket is a nice addition. Look professional. While I and most others on the other side of the desk understand that accidents happen, I would suggest you bring an extra shirt, just in case. Also shire your shoes. You would be surprised at how many people who interview have scuffed, unshined shoes.

 

Above all be ready to go to work. If the company is interested in you, one question they will most likely ask you is 'When can you start?' A surprisingly large number of the ones hired gave the answer 'Yesterday' or 'Last Week'. If you are employed, show your new employer that you respect your current employer. 'I really feel I need to give my current employer two weeks'. They respect that, after all they want you to treat them the same way.

 

As for your resume. There are things that I see or don't see that makes me place that resume in the 'call at last resort' pile. You need to write your resume for the lowest common denominator. The lowest common denominator is a brand new secretary who doesn't know anything about aviation. While this is generally not the case in most flight school or small operators, it can be the case in larger companies. Breakdown your flight time. There are industry resume guru's that tell you to only list total time, PIC and pilot certificates. I know of cases where the individual did not get interviewed because he didn't list his radiotelphone operators permit, or didn't list his night and instrument time. If you don't have them already, get a passport and a radiotelephone operators permit. They are required for international operations. Wait you say, I fly helicopters. There are many operators out there that have international operations. Plus pick up a contract or two in Mexico, Haiti, etc. Getting the first passport is a pain in the butt, but after that is reasonably painless. If they are hiring for a specific contract that has specific requirements, you need to show that you meet those requirements. It isn't a major issue for you at this point in time, but I suggest you get into the habit.

 

For a brand new pilot/instructor, I like to see some work history. I don't care if it was sweeping floors or waiting tables. I like to see some sort of work history. Why? I like to know that you had to show up on time and could take instructions and understand what work is about. Also show where this employer is located. This is an industry made up of many small operators, so it is likely that there are more than one 'Jim Bob's Helicopter Service'. If they were flying jobs, show what you were flying for that employer. I am not alone in believing that what you fly to earn a living is more important than all the types you have flown.

 

One very important point. If you answer an employment ad, follow the directions on applying. It is a TEST! Can you follow directions. If you can't, why should they hire you and give you control of an expensive company asset? You have just shown them you can't follow simple directions, why would they expect you to follow company poliy and procedures?

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Max- I would echo many of the comments, but remember so many of the HAI and FAA safety events are free. I just attended one, cost nothing, free lunch, free beer social and 10 hours hanging out with pilots from all walks of life.

 

Yup, I forgot about the HAI workshops--the CFI mentoring, Lyn's mini-career workshop, and pilot mentoring workshop are all free. The first 2 are very valuable for a new CFI.

 

 

(and thanks Goldy)

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Take your Instrument Ground Instructor test and get that endorsement. See if a school will hire you to do their instrument ground.

 

First thing, since you already have a CFI, you do not need a Ground Instructor Certificate to teach ground school. The regulations do allow you to do so, even if you don't flight instruct.

 

Unless he has a CFII, wouldn't he need the IGI to be able to teach instrument ground?

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I will definitely check out the boat pix thing. But the Tuna boat thing is out of the question. I have heard some really bad things about that path.

 

I'd take tuna boats over Boatpix anyday.

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I'd put in a few aviation-related references or letters of recommendation.

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Guest Maximinious

I'd put in a few aviation-related references or letters of recommendation.

 

A resume should only be one page. Are you saying I should send a letter of recommendation with my resume or should I put a statement at the bottom of my resume indicating that I have references and letters of recommendation available upon request?

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should I put a statement at the bottom of my resume indicating that I have references and letters of recommendation available upon request?

 

Overall I like your resume. You could do a few things to organize some of the info better (think about what info a potential employer would want to see, and put that first...also, when the HR person/owner staples your cover letter to your resume, where's that staple going to go?).

 

I don't like the "Environmental..." section. I'd take it out and add a little more about your jobs. I like how you draw out your teaching experience. With that and all your jobs, I'd add some sort of tangible accomplishment to go with each, or some unique responsibility that you were given that's relevant to something a flight school would want.

 

I wouldn't add anything about references/letters of recommendation.

 

One critical omission: do you have your SFAR73 CFI endorsements, and in what aircraft?

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First of all, like almost every resume I have seen from low time pilots, I keep seeing flight times down to the decimal point. Just round out to the nearest number. I would suggest that you put your employment history before your education. If you have both a land line and a cell phone list both numbers. As for the medical, I haven't seen an operator that attaches any importance to no restrictions. It used to be a big deal for the airlines, but that day is long gone. I would list my time in type times below all the other flight times. Also be careful about list personal information. Height, weight, marriage status, etc. With bigger companies, it could get your resume thrown out, due to EEOC concerns. Usually an issue with bigger companies. Be very careful of using terms like CC or XC for cross country. Write your resume for the lowest common denominator. The lowest common denominator in this business is a brand new Chief Pilot or HR secretary on their first day on the job.

 

After your first job or two, I would leave the flight training out of your Education section. If you have a degree from some sort of secondary education, you can stop right there. If not include High School.

 

As for environmental conditions, I wouldn't bother. If you have high DA experience, put a line in your flight times covering DA above what ever altitude you pick. As for moderate winds, it depends on where you are. Like in Oklahoma, a moderate wind is a wind that doesn't move the chain they use for a wind sock.

 

Making a comment 'over 1,300 successful incident free landings' could come back to haunt you. Many Chief Pilots have their own rules of thumb about checking flight times. Remember, they have been around for awhile and on an annual basis, see hundreds, if not thousands of resume each year. I know of one Chief Pilot who uses the rule of thumb that the average helicopter leg is 20 to 25 minutes. Especially when talking about flight instructors. So someone with 600 hours and makes a claim like the one above, he would be asking 'what about the other 200 landings?'

 

I don't list references. I state they are available on request. You don't want your references bothered by phone calls unless the employer is interested in you. It also lets you know that someone is interested. When you do get such a call, be sure to call your references and give them a heads up.

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I don't list references. I state they are available on request.

 

That's what I meant to say. On mine, I say "references available from XXX upon request..."

 

I also include a cover letter dedicated to the company/flight school I'm applying to, but that's another story all together.

 

As far as formatting your resume goes, Lyn has a nice little ebook about aviation resumes you may want to check out.

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Making a comment 'over 1,300 successful incident free landings' could come back to haunt you. Many Chief Pilots have their own rules of thumb about checking flight times. Remember, they have been around for awhile and on an annual basis, see hundreds, if not thousands of resume each year. I know of one Chief Pilot who uses the rule of thumb that the average helicopter leg is 20 to 25 minutes. Especially when talking about flight instructors. So someone with 600 hours and makes a claim like the one above, he would be asking 'what about the other 200 landings?'

 

I don't quite get that, however I just thought it would be nice to have a least one big number on my resume? :huh:

 

As for the decimal points, its more of a psychological thing. When you're told that you are useless until you have at least 1000hrs, you write down every single second your in the helicopter!

 

And besides, maybe we'll get lucky, and get an employer who is far-sighted and doesn't see it? ;)

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Guest Maximinious

I don't quite get that, however I just thought it would be nice to have a least one big number on my resume? :huh:

 

As for the decimal points, its more of a psychological thing. When you're told that you are useless until you have at least 1000hrs, you write down every single second your in the helicopter!

 

And besides, maybe we'll get lucky, and get an employer who is far-sighted and doesn't see it? ;)

 

I'm done with my resume and its lookin good! Thanks for the suggestions.

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