Nov 21, 2023
Building a successful career in the aviation industry requires more than just building knowledge. It requires hard work, dedication and preparation to ensure you are ready for the high demands of the job. To help you get ahead in your aviation career preparation, here are 10 tips to get you started.
1. Make Yourself Known To Aviation Industry Professionals
Establishing a name for yourself within the aviation industry and connecting with aviation professionals can help you reach your career goals and provide valuable insight and guidance, especially when seeking employment. Networking allows you to stay informed, be recommended for opportunities as they arise and keep up with the latest developments.
This may include networking with fellow trainee pilots, flight training institutions, aviation professionals, pilot associations or groups, regulatory bodies, local aviation companies and others. Social media can be an excellent tool for connecting with other aviators and staying up-to-date on the latest industry news but don’t underestimate the value of face-to-face connections.
2. Continually Build Your Resume
Even if you are still completing your flight training, it’s never too soon to start putting your CV together. Employers receive piles of CVs, if yours doesn’t hold their interest, it is easy to be overlooked or discarded. This means the key to a good job application is ensuring that your resume stands out from the crowd!
If you are serious about becoming a pilot, you should constantly be actively seeking ways to boost your CV and credentials. Gaining any kind of experience in the aviation industry will set you apart, as will references from aviation professionals. As a final tip – always take the time to tailor your resume to each individual role, sending generic applications will not cut it in the aviation industry.
3. Choose The Right Aviation School
Did you know there are only four accredited airline training schools in New Zealand? Air NZ does not provide training for pilots, you must attend one of their preferred flight training organisations (PFTOs). These preferred FTOs have been specifically selected and their flight training programmes and quality systems rigorously evaluated to ensure the delivery of airline standard training.
If you are serious about a career in airline transportation, you will need to participate in education programs offered by these accredited schools or institutions.
- Southern Wings flight school with bases in Ardmore (Auckland) and Invercargill
- Massey University in Palmerston North
- The International Aviation Academy of New Zealand in Christchurch
- The Nelson Aviation College in Nelson and Motueka
4. Do Your Research
Research everything! The different opportunities available in the aviation industry, new technologies, associated regulations, different companies that do the kind of work you are intending to do, and industry job stats in your country – you get the picture.
Knowing the ins and outs of the industry will help you define your expectations and develop a more informed idea of what the industry can offer and how you will fit into it. With this information, you will be able to stay ahead of the curve and quickly take advantage of any new opportunities when they arise.
5. Learn To Fly Different Types Of Aircraft
Any pilot will tell you the importance and value of having experience in different aircraft with different engine sizes and systems. Learning how to fly as many different aircraft as you can each with variances in capabilities and size, will undoubtedly open up more opportunities within the industry making you more employable overall.
Gaining experience flying different types of aircraft also has the added benefit of staying up-to-date with the latest aircraft technology and capabilities. Helping keep your skills at the top of your game and keeping abreast of changes taking place in the industry again making you more attractive to potential employers.
6. Keep Up With The Latest Aviation News
When preparing for a career in the aviation industry or any industry, it is natural to want to invest some time in keeping up with the latest goings on. This might include reading industry-related blogs, forums, CAA updates, podcasts, online magazines and publications and keeping up to date with trends and developments within flight training organisations in your area.
Staying informed means you need to have a continuous learning and development mindset, which is perhaps even more important in the aviation industry as technology advances at a rapid rate and is constantly evolving. Don’t forget to seek out both local and international sources to broaden your understanding of the industry as a whole.
7. Work On Your Communication And Interpersonal Skills
Whether you are just starting out with your PPL, well into your flight training or a seasoned pilot, a successful career in any aviation role relies on building a strong set of communication and interpersonal skills. In an industry where safety is a primary concern good communication and interpersonal skills are necessary to convey information clearly, concisely, and accurately at all times.
Developing these skills is an ongoing process throughout your career, it is not just a one-and-done situation. Building a solid foundation when preparing for a career in aviation can help you better demonstrate your knowledge, build relationships with potential employers, instructors, and peers, and have the confidence to express yourself properly under all kinds of circumstances.
8. Join Professional Organisations
Joining professional organisations within the aviation industry is not only going to tick the networking box, it is a great way to learn new things, make valuable contacts and collaborate with other professionals in your field, gaining all-important exposure within the industry.
A few aviation organisations in NZ you might be interested in are:
- Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of New Zealand Inc. (AOPA)
- Sport Aircraft Association NZ Inc (SAANZ)
- The New Zealand Aviation Federation (Inc) (NZAF)
- The New Zealand Association of Women in Aviation (NZAWA)
- Aviation New Zealand
- The Recreational Aircraft Association of New Zealand (RAANZ)
- New Zealand Warbirds Association (NZWA)
- Flying NZ
9. Look After Your Health
As a pilot, losing your medical has serious consequences, including being grounded. Maintaining your health is paramount to a long-lasting career. As a pilot, you are often faced with long hours of work, flying across different time zones, disrupted circadian rhythms from flying at night, and interrupted sleep patterns just to name a few circumstances. These things can all have an effect on your health over the long term which, in turn can affect your performance both on the ground and in the air.
Taking care of yourself includes getting enough sleep, eating healthily and exercising regularly. Plus allowing for some downtime to relax and unwind. Making health a priority is a must for all pilots and aviation professionals.
10. Follow Your Passion
To be successful in any career, you need to have a passion for success and a strong commitment to achieving your goals. This means different things for different people, but in general having a passion for your work means being enthusiastic about your daily tasks, taking pride in your work, and striving for excellence in everything you do is a pretty good start!
Staying motivated to achieve your goals, being willing to go the extra mile to meet instructor/peer/customer expectations, ensuring safety and efficiency, and striving to positively impact the industry are also top priorities. Having an unwavering long-term passion and commitment is going to be necessary on what can be a long road ahead in achieving your pilot career aspirations.
By following these aviation career preparation tips, you are well on your way to maximising your career opportunities in the aviation industry. With dedication and hard work, success is within your reach! Learn more about flight training options in NZ here.