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Job-Hunting Pilots

How to Attend a FAPA Pilot Job Fair

by Tim Genc

November 2021

Cross-country flight planning is a reciprocal relationship, in that you get out of it exactly what you’ve put into it. If you just assume it will go fine - your autopilot and iPad will do all the work for you - then it is nothing more than a perfunctory lesson or a menial task which must be accomplished as a part of your training. That’s it. But, if you spend the time to really plan it out, picking waypoints, marking up your charts and preparing a detailed flight log, then you will become a better pilot for doing it.

Attending a FAPA Pilot Job Fair is a lot like cross-country flight planning; the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. If you just show up with little to no preparation, casually walk around, only talk to the companies your friends told you were good, and leave after 10-15 minutes, it isn’t going to be as helpful to you. But, if you prepare yourself and your résumé, and treat this like the educational and career-enriching experience that it is intended to be, you might be pleasantly surprised with the result. It could mean a successful interview and a job offer!

To best equip you to get the most out of these events, here as some pointers to keep in mind:

  • Plan to speak with all exhibitors. Even if you are 150% sure that you know where you are going, it doesn’t hurt - it will actually help - to speak with all exhibiting companies. Everyone has information to provide and something about the industry to share. Always remember, you don’t know what you don’t know.

  • You’re not just here to speak with companies. You’re here to speak with people! Networking is a major part of job-hunting in aviation, and a recruiter for one employer today might be hiring for another company next month. Plus, the majority of those recruiting are actually pilots, and it wasn’t that long ago that they were in your shoes. Tap their brain for the valuable lessons and experiences they have acquired; commit to asking every recruiter/line pilot one piece of advice for your career.

  • Bring professional, paper résumés to distribute. Even in the age of electronics, a physical résumé is an impression you will leave with a company. It shows preparedness and is a much better, immediate response to your conversation than, “my résumé is online, so I guess I can email it to you, if you would like …” Bring plenty to go around, and don’t forget one for FAPA at admission. If you need help with this important career step, click here for our guide to a proper, pilot résumé, or speak to us about our résumé review services.

  • Dress the part. You might be offered an interview on the spot! But, even if you are just here to collect information, you are meeting people who might be interviewing you at a later date. Dress to impress. FAPA members can reference our “Dressing for the Interview” article for guidance by clicking here.

  • Prepare to engage with employers. Give 100% of your attention to the Pilot Job Fair and the exhibitors. You cannot do this with a cup of coffee in your hand, while wearing sunglasses or ear buds, or amidst taking phone calls. Plan to be solely focused on gathering information and making a good first impression for the time you are here.

FAPA’s Pilot Job Fairs are held monthly at venues across the country. Sometimes, many of the same companies are recruiting from show to show and, other times, it’s an entirely new crew. Regardless of the composition, there is valuable career information and lucrative opportunities to be gained from each and every event. If attending more than one of our Pilot Job Fairs is an option, definitely consider it! If you have friends at the same point in their career, tell them to register and bring them on by; pilots are a social bunch and the more, the merrier!

If there is any other assistance FAPA can provide you in this - or any - stage in your pilot career, please contact us at support@fapa.aero or via phone at (800) JET-JOBS.

Bio: FAPA.aero