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Using Pilot Job Search Options To Maximize Your Career

Pilot Employers Are Working to Find You

As the pilot shortage deepens employers will use a variety of creative ways to staff their operations. Pilots now have more options to navigate upwards through their career or land their dream job. Get an overview of what is available to fine tune your job search and improve your career opportunities.

Pilot Job Search Options

Pilot Employer Website

Employer websites are often the most up-to-date option of available positions within a company. Pilot employers will typically have at least one page on their website dedicated to showcasing their open jobs and instructions
for beginning the application process. Employer websites will explain any unique opportunities, such as pilot pathway programs, that the employer has available.

  • Most accurate information on available pilot jobs with a single employer
  • Will show unique pilot employment opportunities or offers
  • Provides only a narrow view of pilot job market
  • Will only highlight positive aspects of an employer

Pilot Job Market

Takes traditional job board experience and updates it with advanced features. Matching systems which allow pilots to complete a profile which includes qualifications, experience, and work/location preferences. Employers search for pilots based on qualifications and pilot’s work preferences and are then able to contact and compete for those pilots. In a hot pilot job market pilots can expect to be contacted by several employers. Pilots are also able to search out employers based on their work needs and contact them.

  • Pilots can expect multiple contacts from employers to choose from
  • Provides a good overview of what the job market offers and what a pilot will be able to expect from employers
  • Centralized job search activities
  • No personalized advocate to help through employment process

Pilot Jobs Board

These began at the dawn of the internet age as an offshoot of traditional help wanted ads found in print media. Many pilot jobs boards have come and gone over the years with a few remaining dominant in the industry over that time. What was once state-of-the-art for employment listings is now aging as this model is being supplanted by newer technology and many of the existing jobs boards haven’t been updated in years.

  • Provides a better view of the pilot job market
  • Centralized job search activities
  • Some of the well known sites often have outdated or incorrect job listings
  • Usually charge money to pilots for complete access

Pilot Application Systems

Several employers use third party application systems for managing pilot applicants. The larger applicant systems have several employers using their services – allowing pilots to create just one profile to apply to several positions. Many of the largest pilot employers in the United States use these third party application systems.

  • Centralized job search activities
  • Some systems make it an option for recruiters to find your profile
  • Does not provide an overview of available jobs
  • Usually charge pilots a yearly fee to use their systems

Pilot Jobs Conferences

It was once a common site to see pilots, all dressed the same, file into event venues with hopes of finding a job. Pilot job conferences bring applicants together with employers and allow people to put faces to names. In person conferences are still available and can be found both at popular venues and aviation universities. Newer online job conferences are also becoming commonplace.

  • Make in person connections and get the opportunity to impress employers beyond your resume
  • Gives a good overview of pilot job market
  • Expensive to attend traditional job conferences
  • Pilots may not get an accurate picture as employers seek to highlight their positive aspects

Pilot Recruiters

Pilot recruiters can be found working on behalf of pilot employers and also at recruiting or staffing agencies seeking to match pilots with employers. Pilot recruiting agencies are often hired by pilot employers to help them find pilot applicants. Recruiters are available to help pilots complete the employment application process. Recruiting agencies can be a good source to find unique job opportunities.

  • Can provide in-depth insight on specific jobs
  • Can include an advocate to help pilots through application processes
  • Recruiting agencies will often steer pilots into operators needs rather than pilots needs
  • Does not provide a good overview of available options

Pilot Staffing Agencies

Some operators outsource part of their staffing needs to third parties. These third party staffing agencies hire pilots and then provide them on a contract basis to the operators. Staffing arrangements are more common with operators with short term staffing needs and with airlines seeking to supplement staffing with experienced pilots. This is a good path for pilots seeking employment in countries with newer aviation industries.

  • Can include an advocate to help pilots through application processes
  • Good option for overseas pilot employment opportunities
  • Staffing agency will often steer pilots into operators needs rather than pilots needs
  • Does not provide a good overview of available options

How to Use Pilot Job Search Options to Maximize Your Career

A well-rounded job search plan should not use only one type or source for searching. Rather, pilot applicants need to use a variety of options that give them a complete picture of what they are worth in the existing employment market. At least one of the options used should have a mechanism in place that allows pilots to receive multiple employment offers.

A good approach is to start at a broad view and work to more specific where appropriate. That is, if an applicant has an eye on specific employers it would be good to keep close tabs on that employer’s opportunities using their website or to speak with recruiters associated with that employer. But pilots should always keep a big picture using systems that provide that complete picture and be open to competing offers if they match that person’s needs or goals. Narrowing in on specific employers will limit a person’s career potential.

Pilot Job Search Options Comparison

Complete Picture Personal Advocate Preferences Matching Competing Offers Centralized Job Search
Employer Websites ❌ ❌ ❌ ❌ ❌
Pilot Job Market ✔ ❌ ✔ ✔ ✔
Pilot Jobs Boards ✔ ❌ ❌ ❌ ✔
Pilot Application Systems ❌ ❌ ❌ ❌ ✔
Pilot Jobs Conferences ✔ ❌ ✔ ✔ ✔
Pilot Recruiters ❌ ❌ ❌ ❌ ❌
Pilot Staffing ❌ ✔ ✔ ❌ ❌

Greg started his professional pilot journey in 2002 after graduating from Embry Riddle. Since that time he has accumulated over 8,000 hours working as a pilot. Greg’s professional experience includes flight instructing, animal tracking, backcountry flying, forest firefighting, passenger charter, part 135 cargo, flying for a regional airline, a national low cost airline, a legacy airline, and also working as a manager in charge of Part 135 and Part 121 training programs.

Greg Thomson