Aug. 20, 2021

Want to accelerate your career in business aviation? Cultivate your online brand. That was the message from several professionals involved with NBAA’s new Collegiate Connect program, in an association webinar hosted just ahead of NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) in Las Vegas.

This was the key message of a recent NBAA Collegiate Connect webinar on “Building Your Digital Presence,” moderated by Emily Tobler, NBAA professional development specialist. “LinkedIn is certainly the primary professional networking platform,” said Tobler. “And it’s important to be your authentic self online.”

Ben O’Brien, a junior at Bridgewater State University, agreed. “You are selling yourself short if you are not on LinkedIn. Get involved with some groups and find your people; you will get connected from there.”

O’Brien has been on LinkedIn since high school, and found it particularly helpful during the pandemic, when he couldn’t connect with friends and other students in person. “We still needed to keep up our connections, and it helped to adapt to the loss of the social aspect of school,” he said.

Larae Stotts, an associate recruiter at Southwest Airlines and former NBAA intern, encouraged webinar attendees to build a strong online personal brand.

“Show people who you are,” said Stotts. “This actually helps recruiters get to know you better.”

She noted it’s fine to post frequently, as long as the posts are appropriate, and use your best judgement about connecting with colleagues and your boss online. “Always keep your audience in mind, and don’t post anything off-putting. You want to make sure that what sticks with people is a positive thought.”

Internships also play an important role in getting that first job.

“I encourage everyone to get an internship,” said Stotts. “Recruiters love to see internship experiences.” Many of her fellow recruiters at Southwest had interned with the airline, she noted, adding that being part of an aviation career mentorship group is also very helpful.

Molly Hitch, senior manager of professional development at NBAA, and also a former NBAA intern, reminded webinar attendees about the value of being engaged with NBAA’s Young Professionals (YoPro) Council and the YoPro group on Facebook.

“It’s a great way to connect across the industry and to stay in touch with your peers,” she said.

Just in time for those attending NBAA-BACE, the next Collegiate Connect webinar will be “Making the Most of In-Person Networking,” to be held on Sept. 23. Register for the webinar.

Interested attendees who will be attending NBAA-BACE will be able to sign up for a resume/LinkedIn profile review after the webinar, and have the opportunity to join a student cohort that will meet daily during the show at the NBAA Booth in the Connection Zone. Learn more about NBAA-BACE.