June 22, 2020

With airline furloughs potentially on the horizon, business aviation could soon see an uptick in interest from those working in commercial aviation. In a tough job market, is this your competition?

In the latest NBAA News Hour webinar, moderated by Jo Damato, CAM, NBAA vice president, educational strategy and workforce development, a panel of industry experts discussed how applicants can stand out looking for their next career opportunity.

Joining Damato on the webinar – “From Commercial to Corporate: Hiring Tips & Considerations” – were Netflix recruiter Jenny Hsu and Brock Jordan, interim head of aviation at Netflix, along with Don Mitchum, senior human resources generalist for Garmin, and James Onieal, owner of Raven Career Development.

Damato opened the session by pointing out the scope of workforce changes that are upon business aviation operators at this time.

“At NBAA’s February 2020 leadership conference in Orlando, our theme was focused on retaining top talent in response to the looming workforce shortage and the hiring boom that was happening at the major airlines,” Damato said. “Now we are talking to a lot of people who haven’t thought about working in this part of the aviation industry.”

Panelists noted that using LinkedIn to network with human resources professionals, and differentiating yourself from others vying for the same position are two factors that can improve one’s chances of landing a job.

“When pilots are applying, everybody’s going to have an ATP certificate, a couple of thousand hours of flight time, and a first-class medical,” Onieal said. “These are qualifiers, not differentiators. Applicants need to focus on their ‘soft skills’ outside the flight deck, such as a willingness to do whatever is needed to demonstrate they are flexible.”

Netflix’s Jordan added it’s important for applicants coming to business aviation from an airline job to realize there is much more that goes into a successful flight beyond simply flying the airplane. “Sometimes planning a company’s trip around the world starts months before departure as we look at all regulatory and operational aspects,” he said. “Our job is to find people who know the hurdles we might come across and be willing to accept the challenges that go far beyond the trip assignment.”

The panel emphasized the importance of using LinkedIn as the top social media tool to network with hiring professionals. Onieal, Hsu and Mitchum described how applicants need to think beyond the paper or electronically submitted resume. All were in agreement that the best advice is to have an updated, accurate LinkedIn profile, and stay engaged with hiring decision-makers on the platform.

Commenting on posts from HR pros and trying to have intelligent, non-confrontational conversations about relevant topics will help keep an applicant on a hiring manager’s radar screen, even if they do not have an opening at the time.

Onieal also recommended using tagcrowd.com to determine important words needed to demonstrate a knowledge of a company’s culture. “Copy and paste the job description into the site along with some Google news stories about the company, and tagcrowd.com will easily tell you what are the right words to focus on when communicating with their hiring managers,” he said.