After you finish flight school, you have your licence in your pocket, it’s time to apply for jobs! For some people it’s easy: if they finish at a good time, where there are many pilot jobs available for low-experienced pilots or maybe if they know someone in a high position in an airline.
This post is meant for the pilots that are not so lucky. I am writing this from my own experience, so I know what situation you’re in. You are so ready to start working as a pilot, it has been your goal for so many years and now that you have your licence, all you want is to find a job and start flying!
When I finished flight school, there was a lack of pilot jobs and an excess of graduated pilots with no experience and I was one of them. It took me one year to be hired as a pilot and afterwards I can say that I was very lucky that it only took one year. But in that year, I worked hard to make it happen!
My advice for you is to never give up. Keep looking online for job openings, in airlines all over the world. Even if you don’t meet all the requirements. They may have a position for you where you can grow into a pilot job. If an airline doesn’t have job openings online, send them an open application. Your CV (up to date), combined a nice cover letter. A cover letter should back up your CV, it gives you the chance to write them why you’d like to work for this company and to explain the education and work experiences and what you’ve learned from your previous experiences, even if they are not aviation related.
For example: I used to work as a waitress in a restaurant. I added it to my CV, as I didn’t have any aviation related work experience. A company reading in my CV that I worked for 5 years as a waitress, will not be very eager to invite me for an interview. But if I write in my cover letter that working as a waitress has helped me to develop myself, working in a team environment under periods of high workload, it may help them to realise that I am a good team player and know how to cope with stress.
Another advice is to keep ready for an interview, even if in the past months, none of your applications got any reply. There will be a moment that you get invited for a job interview. At that moment, you need to be fully ready. You need to have your knowledge and flying skills up to date, because it will be tested during the selection process. And then you have to show that you are just as good (or better) as the pilots that just finished flight school (with ready knowledge and skills).
Go into a simulator once in a while, fly a single engine aircraft in your local aeroclub, read your ATPL books and keep your licences valid. Look for ways to make your CV better, whether that is learning new languages, aviation related work experience or more flying hours.
And finally: NETWORK! Get in touch with people in aviation, tell them your story, show them how eager you are to find a job. Many of them won’t be able to help you, but one person may know someone. In a situation where there aren’t too many pilot jobs available, companies get many new CV’s every day. The recruitment department probably won’t be able to look properly at all of the applications. If there is someone in a company that can mention your name, that can show your CV to the appropriate people, that would be a big step forward.
Nobody will be able to get you into a pilot job easily, you will have to do it all by yourself, but a push in the right direction will always be an advantage!