How to network?

embraer07

Well-Known Member
Well, I am coming up on the 1 year mark of my flight instructing career! :nana2:

Seriously, I still enjoy it despite having some less than desirable students. One of my students even got deported last week with Homeland Security coming down with 8 agents and taking him away after interviewing me! Crazy stuff....

So, I plan on contiuning to flight instruct until sometime until the summer of 09. Then I will send out my resume to whoever the best airline is that is hiring at that time...as opposed to just anybody that is hiring. I have read from Doug and others that a smart thing to do in this industry is network with people already in it.

I would love to network, but how exactly do you find pilots already in the industry? Sure, I could go hang out at DFW airport and approach everybody in a uniform...but that would be just a little weird :) Plus, most of those pilots are American Airlines guys.. I should be trying to network with Regional pilots, right? Or does that not matter?

So I would just like to know how you guys networked, and any other advice I could get on getting my foot in to a company. Thanks for all the help!
 

scramjet

Well-Known Member
Networking with the American Airlines guys would be good. Knowing people is always good, even if you're not at that level yet.
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
One technique that I used was to target some companies in the local area that would make good "next step" employers. For example, when I was first considering making the move to flying as a profession instead of just as a passion I found a couple of local 135 charter operators. I was nearing 1200 hour total time, so I called the chief pilots at those companies, told them my current situation and asked if they had a couple of minutes for me to pick their brains. If they didn't, I asked if there would be a better time and if the answer was "no" again, I dropped it. One guy was willing to gab for a few minutes so I quickly explained what my goals were, what I was thinking about how to achieve the next step, and asked his advice on a couple of specific questions that I had. He gave me some great pointers and I ended up getting hired a few months later for some part time flying for them.

If you try cold calling like this be very respectful of their time. I think that if they are willing to talk you should make sure that you have some good simple questions to ask like "what kind of background do you like to see in the pilots that you hire" rather than open-ended questions like "what should I do next?" The first question is easy for them to answer since it's something they know well, the second is not so easy because they don't know you, don't know what you want in terms of a career or anything else. The idea is just to get in a quick conversation, maybe get a pointer or two, and establish your name with the person. One other question that you might ask is if they know anyone else that you could call to get further advice - you'd be suprised how well that can open doors sometimes. It's much easier to call Person B and say "Person A said to give you a call because he thought you might be able to help me..."
 

v1valarob

Well-Known Member
Networking with the American Airlines guys would be good. Knowing people is always good, even if you're not at that level yet.
AA was the only airline not hiring during the hiring boom!

Networking means talking to EVERYONE, remembering their names, and getting numbers and not being afraid to ask them about whats up.

Its not just airline pilots, whom I dont even consider that great to network with at the regional level. Sure certain members on this board have their jobs currently because of networking, but most regionals are fairly easy to at least interview with when you have the minimums (although since times have changed, that may change.)

If you work at an FBO that has fuel, talk to owners of the planes when they come in. If corporate pilots bring in aircraft for fuel, talk to those pilots. Talk to people around the hangers.

The next thing you know the corporate pilots know of an opening at their company and are willing to walk in your resume since you pointed out where the coffee was.

Maybe one of those owners of an aircraft wants to step it up along with business growth and wants to get a larger plane and needs a pilot on staff. They remember you were pretty helpful one day, and you come to mind first for the interview process.

Best networking story I have heard was a CFI I knew at ATP (who is also on this board.) A guy walked into his location and asked about the frasca sim, he just wanted to shoot a few approaches before heading to the big boy sim. Normally reserved for ATP students only, this CFI saw that the sim wasnt being used and decided to sit down with the guy and let him have at it.

This guy then returns the favor and walks in this CFIs resume, and hooks him up with a charter gig. Thats networking at its finest.

Aviation is a small world, and thats why I always try to pay it forward. I love helping people out with getting jobs, and hopefully paying it forward will come back at me one day.
 

Nark

Macho Superpilot
My story, for what it's worth.

Was working a dead-end job waiting to get a ramp position in northern Canada (fall of 2001, use your imagination on how many jobs were out there). Saw an old guy come into Radio Shack where I worked, wearing a helicopter hat (obviously a seasoned hat). Wasn't one of the normal CP's I would go a bug for a job . Got to chatting, he hired me a few months later to fly is plane picking up fish.

Job #2: Got hired in the same town as #1 by way of friends who got to know me. Job #2 goes belly up. Back to working dead-end job.

Job #3: Get a call from a CP who had my resume from months ago. Didn't call because of my fantastic resume writing skills, but because a pilot I used to fly with at job #2 saw my resume and put in a good word. I was let go because of a reason most of my co-workers didn't agree with. Sooo...

Job #4: CP calls me and says, "I know why you were let go, I think you'd make a great addition to my team here. Can you start in a week?" So getting canned, to flying a much nicer airplane and area in a week. I also knew a few of the pilots at that company too. It was a seasonal gig, so I was let go at the end of the busy summer. It was a 50/50 chance whether I'd stay on past the busy season. Got a great letter of reference from the CP. I did some soul searching and decided the guys in Fallujah could use my help (see avatar to the left).

So after a hiatis of serving overseas, and getting stationed in beautiful SoCal I saw an ad for pilots this spring. Called the guy, didn't get a good vibe from him.

Job #5: Cold called another guy across the field who does the exact same service and got hired that same day, thanks to my expirience doing job#1.



So the moral of this long winded story is that you have already started to network. The CFI's who left before you, the students who have gone on to better things, the old guy you BS with after a flight. It's all networking.
As dorky as some people seem, be friendly, be yourself. You might have already opened doors you didn't think possible.

Cheers
 

Crockrocket94

Well-Known Member
My current job allows me to network very very well, and I imagine it will pay divedends down the road.

Hang out with 135/91 guys and be nice and professional, it'll come back around to ya eventually. Sometimes you have to initiate but everyone enjoys meeting a fellow pilot.
 

mavsfan31

Well-Known Member
As a high school senior, what would be the best way to go about this? I know of a few people, one being an AA pilot and another being the local airport manager. I'm also involved in a flight club.

My plan is to have the airport manager walk in my application to the FBO. I'd like to work there over the summer (I can't until summer cause of extracurriculars, etc) and at least just try and network then.

I'd also like to go to NetworkJC now that I'm 18 to start networking as much as possible.

Any other tips you guys can think of?
 

RICHARD5

Well-Known Member
My story, for what it's worth.
I did some soul searching and decided the guys in Fallujah could use my help (see avatar to the left).

So after a hiatis of serving overseas,
Great story of how it works! Sir, thank you for your service to this country.

Semper Fi
 

RICHARD5

Well-Known Member
One other thing, be careful to not prejudge the people you meet. Here's one story of mine:

I'm standing on the ramp with some CFIs. A ratty old C-150 taxis in. The CFIs (who had been moaning about how hard it was to find a job for the next step) all turned their backs to the pilot as he walks towards us and into the FBO.

I always try to ask where a pilot came in from. This particular pilot says he's brought this bird in for his son to fly while he's in college. The plane will be going in for new paint and avionics. It turns out that dear ol dad is a CEO of a Fortune 100 company. He continues by saying his company has a large flight dept and he's always looking for pilots.

At the time I wasn't near his hiring mins but I still have his name and personal phone number.

Another story involves a CFI I knew. A smoker, he was always outside when a certain Falcon 10 would come in. That pilot was also a smoker. Gab, shoot the ####, etc. Next thing you know, Mr Falcon pilot puts this low time CFI in the right seat on Pt 91 legs. Within the year, the ex-CFI is now typed PIC in the Falcon.

Just be yourself, don't lie, don't embellish. But be there.
 

RICHARD5

Well-Known Member
As a high school senior, what would be the best way to go about this? I know of a few people, one being an AA pilot and another being the local airport manager. I'm also involved in a flight club.
I think you are in an excellent position for the beginning of your career. Here's why: perhaps by coincidence or perhaps intuitively, you have identified key persons. AA pilot and Aprt Mgr are key persons. And at 18 to have done this. Worthy of applaud I think.

My plan is to have the airport manager walk in my application to the FBO. I'd like to work there over the summer (I can't until summer cause of extracurriculars, etc) and at least just try and network then.
The best laid plans of mice and men.... Just be flexible when Plan A doesn't gel.

Now to the bones of what you shared here; perhaps you don't realize it but those "extracurriculars" are not disadvantages. Rather, they can be used to your advantage...they show determination, initiative, and focus. I mean, you said they are the cause for why you "can't until summer". To me, that says a lot about your determination and focus.



I'd also like to go to NetworkJC now that I'm 18 to start networking as much as possible.

Any other tips you guys can think of?
You're off to an early start. (I hate guys like you. :p)

As an employer, when hiring I was looking for character more than proficiency. I could teach you the business but don't require of me to teach you what you should had learned from your parents. Honesty, integrity, and adherence to a moral standard will take you further than claimed work experience. That is my tip.

BTW: A+ on correct spelling. How refreshing to see.... Perhaps this isn't the end of the world as we knew it.
 

SteveC

Really?
Staff member
As an employer, when hiring I was looking for character more than proficiency. I could teach you the business but don't require of me to teach you what you should had learned from your parents. Honesty, integrity, and adherence to a moral standard will take you further than claimed work experience. That is my tip.

BTW: A+ on correct spelling. How refreshing to see.... Perhaps this isn't the end of the world as we knew it.
:yeahthat: and :yeahthat:

"Hire for attitude, train for skill" is one of those human resource mantras. Especially with an entry level job.
 

N826AW

Snooki's Baby Daddy
You don't even need a jet course when you have JetCareers. I suggest clicking on the Meet and Greet section. There are a ton of JCers in the Dallas area. Try setting up or attending a meet and greet. You'll get to meet up with people from your local area who might have connections. Plus everyone is aviation minded so they can offer suggestions on how to get started.
 

fsiflyer

Well-Known Member
Well, I am coming up on the 1 year mark of my flight instructing career! :nana2:

Seriously, I still enjoy it despite having some less than desirable students. One of my students even got deported last week with Homeland Security coming down with 8 agents and taking him away after interviewing me! Crazy stuff....

So, I plan on contiuning to flight instruct until sometime until the summer of 09. Then I will send out my resume to whoever the best airline is that is hiring at that time...as opposed to just anybody that is hiring. I have read from Doug and others that a smart thing to do in this industry is network with people already in it.

I would love to network, but how exactly do you find pilots already in the industry? Sure, I could go hang out at DFW airport and approach everybody in a uniform...but that would be just a little weird :) Plus, most of those pilots are American Airlines guys.. I should be trying to network with Regional pilots, right? Or does that not matter?

So I would just like to know how you guys networked, and any other advice I could get on getting my foot in to a company. Thanks for all the help!

Ask "STONECOLD" how to network. He seems to have that down pretty well.
 

frog_flyer

FredFlyer
I did some good networking the other day. I went to El Fenix in Dallas and saw a Careflite crew at a table. I knew I wanted to talk to the pilot, but did not want to interrupt their dinner. I sat down with my party and waited for them to get up to leave. I walked up and asked one of the medics if they were FW or RW. They said fixed, so I then moved on to the pilot, asking what they fly. Turns out it's a Cheyenne, so it's TPIC for him.

Long story short, he did some flight training where I used to. We chatted for a few minutes and exchanged numbers. That reminds me - I need to follow up shortly.

#### man, just ask questions. You know pilots love to talk about numero uno.

"Where did you fly before xxx?"

One note - don't head up to the cockpit to chat again at the end of a DFW-LAS flight during which you slammed 7 drinks.
 

aviatorrbt

New Member
My answer. . . become a line guy. It's working for me right now... even though I wish I could fly for a living. Not the direction you want to go, but for those who can't fly right now look into it!!
 
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