Most people believe that once they have completed their Commercial Pilot Licence training, that they are nearing the end of their pilot journey. However, it is just the beginning!
I once got told that gaining your CPL is like holding a winning lottery ticket, as you'll never have to 'work' again. If you are passionate about flying, like 99% of professional pilots, this will also apply to you.
Once you have finished your pilot training, you'll transition into a period where you'll have to find your first position working as a professional pilot. This is definitely the hardest part of your career, and where perseverance pays dividends. Unless you have completed a cadetship program with an airline, and you have a guaranteed position waiting for you once you finish training, it will be a struggle.
Unfortunately in aviation you need experience to get experience. So how do you get experience in the beginning?
The easiest place to gain experience is by applying for a flying position in a relative simple operation. For example, a company that operate single engine piston aircraft. You'll most likely find employ at one of these operators for one simple reason, those aircraft are the cheapest and simplest to own and fly. Since you are a new pilot and you will most likely make mistakes, when you make a mistake it won't cost too much money. Consequently, insurance companies are more likely to insure you.
Climbing the pilot career ladder is like surfing a wave. You struggle, and you have to work really hard at the beginning, but once you're on the wave, you're on it!
Unfortunately entry level jobs are highly competitive because they are limited, so you must be a stand out candidate to secure a position. Luckily it is rather easy to stand out. In today's digitised, disconnected society, it is too easy to fire off 100 odd emails with CVs attached applying for these positions. This is what everyone does - because it is easy. However, doing so you will not stand out!
All you have to do to stand out, and give yourself the best chance of being hired is by printing out your CV, driving to the operator's base at the airport, knocking on the door and asking to speak to the Chief Pilot. Generally Chief Pilots are very receptive to prospective employees when you make an effort to introduce yourself in person. This will make you stand out from the 'email crowd', and you'll get put at the top of the hiring list.
Chief Pilots are usually busy people, and they don't have time to read a 10 page CV with long 'Times New Roman' paragraphs. Therefore, you want to make your CV a maximum of two pages. You also want to add some colour, and utilise modern typography.
To help with writing your Pilot CV I have attached an Adobe InDesign CV template HERE - you can also download a seven day free trial of Adobe InDesign, and there's an abundance of YouTube tutorials available to help you. I personally have used this exact template and I've been offered six different pilot positions through every stage of the industry, including three airline job offers.
Invest a day or two learning Adobe InDesign and formatting your CV, and you'll definitely stand out from the crowd!
-- Stay tuned for the next blog in this series:
How to ace the pilot interview!