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We will not say it is difficult to get a job at an airline once you get your commercial pilot licence. We would instead call it challenging or competitive. However, like with anything in life, those who try the hardest eventually get what they want. The key is to stay patient, focused and… Not ready to give up on your aim to become an employed airline pilot.
1. Choose a cadet program
If you are new to the industry and only mulling the idea of becoming a pilot, a cadet program is a great choice. Why? Because once you pass both the school and airline assessments, you receive a Letter of Intent (LOI) from the airline. It shows the airline’s intention to hire you if you match their expectations along the training process. It is not a 100% job assurance, but your opportunity to turn it into one by training hard to stand out from the crowd.
BAA Training has had experience with many cadet programs throughout the last decades: Wizz Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Avion Express, etc. For the moment, it offers a SmartLynx Airlines cadet program.
SmartLynx Airlines has recently announced its plans to employ 400 pilots to cater to the increased number of new aircraft deliveries planned. Therefore, supposedly, chances are high you’ll be in the loop after finishing their cadet program. In the upcoming weeks, BAA Training will launch one more cadet program with one of Spanish leading airlines.
2. Select a training organization with links to airlines
You are in good hands if you entrust your pilot training to an organization that cooperates with many airlines. The training organization can then refer you to one or more airlines it has a connection with. Again, there are no guarantees, but dedication and persistence make miracles happen, and people notice you.
For instance, BAA Training has strong links to Wizz Air, SmartLynx, Avion Express, KlasJet, etc. We often recommend our best students to them as part of our „Student aftercare program“. It ensures our trainees receive proper mentorship while studying and after they are done with their training. A couple of days ago, we recommended a bunch of our students to Wizz Air.
3. Try to secure an airline job interview at any price
While the previous points were more or less accomplishable, this one might sound surprising mainly because there’re not many ways to do it. However, if you decide to do your A320, B737NG of B737 MAX Type Rating and Base Training at BAA Training, you can rest assured we’ll schedule an interview with an airline for you.
But keep in mind the already familiar “mantra” – the guarantees are only for high-performing and hardworking students. If you feel you’ll prove you’re the one, start getting ready for the interview, or better wait. Because on top of the actual interview arrangement, at BAA Training (in Spain or Lithuania), you will cover a unique Airline Job preparation course with psychological coaching! You get this long-awaited ticket to the airline’s premises absolutely free of charge – you only pay for your Type Rating and Base Training.
That’s already something, isn’t it? The rest will be the question of how well you manage to present yourself.
4. Work on your “election campaign”
If you find yourself in the situation where the initial training, Type Rating, MCC, IFR and everything else that an airline may wish for is done, but no job offer is on the table… Start hustling but not panicking. You know what knowledge you have and what you’re worth, so it’s time to find that very first pilot job of yours by doing some consistent, strategic actions.
Make sure you have a professional resume containing these critical components: heading, objective, certificates and ratings, flight times, work history, formal education, professional training, and availability. It is also helpful to prepare a cover letter accompanying your resume. You can use websites such as aviationjobs.me, aerojobseurope.com, etc., LinkedIn or companies’ career pages to send out your applications.
A little life hack: don’t be embarrassed to make a follow-up call after sending your resume, and it’s totally fine if you repeatedly apply to the same company once per three months.
5. Do some networking
There’re a lot of aviation-related networking events where you can meet and mingle. For example, Pilot Expo is Europe’s largest event dedicated to flight crew recruitment and training. There, experienced pilots, recent flight school graduates, aspiring future pilots, training companies, etc., meet under one roof to potentially work together and produce something of value.
This year, the exhibition is set for May 6-7 in Germany, Berlin, and BAA Training will have a booth there as well. The event’s website says: “It is a chance for flight crew and cabin crew to look for new employment opportunities and for young dreamers to explore numerous pilot training possibilities, cadet programs and financing options.“ Whether it is the training you are looking for or the actual recruitment, you may want to take a walk to meet people and discover the opportunities.
Apart from official events, talk to your flight instructor, former groupmates or anyone else who is at least somehow connected to aviation. There is always someone who knows someone you’d very much want to have a word with.
And more networking…
You can also consider joining some pilot associations, such as SEPLA in Spain, the strength of which lies in the unity of its members. It represents around 6,000 commercial pilots who work for airlines based in Spain. One of SEPLA’s main objectives is „Participate in the training and preparation of airline pilots, as well as in the development of programs and study plans that give access to the profession.“
It might be a good idea also to check some Facebook groups. For example, Pilot Job Search, Airline Pilot Interview Questions & Answers, etc. You will most surely find a lot of helpful information there and collect some good contacts!
Nobody can give you a 100% guarantee that you’re sure to get a job right after your pilot training and first airline job interview. But remember that aviation is a career where you should not be focused on the next 12 months or so but on the next 40 years. So, the investment you are making will generously pay off in the future. If you promise yourself to stay committed and concentrate on intense and continuous studying and then finding that excellent job at an airline, you’ll be the one to reap the rewards.