After nearly 20 years placing talent with some of the world’s largest and most influential aviation and aerospace companies, I am constantly asked by professionals of all levels the most basic of questions – “How do I start and succeed at finding a new job?” Although my answer (and processes) may vary slightly depending upon the candidate’s professional credentials and experience, I start with a set of ‘Career Objectives’ questions for the candidate, to ensure success at finding their next employment opportunity: “What do I want to do?” and “What kind of job am I looking for?”
As basic as it may seem, most people forget to ask themselves these questions before moving forward in their career search. They assume that their current/past positions will automatically determine their career direction, but this is not always the case. Yes, past experience will provide you with the most predictable ‘career path’; however, you may be looking to alter your career direction in some way, and therefore clearly identifying the type and title of the position(s) you are looking for and a list of potential new employers is essential. To assist yourself in building a list of potential new positions you may want to pursue ask yourself the following questions:
The answers to these questions should help you create a list of potential job types/titles on which to focus your search.
“Where am I willing to live and work”?
Many people dismiss this step as unimportant; but, it is really the foundation for the rest of the job search. Job seekers must seriously consider potential employment locations, and limit their search to opportunities in acceptable locations only. Those unwilling or unable to relocate limit the job opportunities available to them; however, by being honest with themselves, they avoid unrealistic, non-productive efforts (wasting not only the job seekers time, but the companies’ time as well – not a good thing).
Once the questions of “What” and “Where” are answered, the next step is to identify industries in which, or companies for which you would like to work and begin the process of applying for your next job.
“What companies should I target for my next career opportunity?” Next, make a list of potential Employers/Companies that employ the types of positions you are seeking and research them to determine their relevance to your career needs. Find out who they are, who they serve, what services/products they offer, and most importantly, what current jobs they have available (check out their ‘employment’ or ‘career’ section on their company website).
“How to apply for a job?”
If you’re lucky, the companies you’re interested in have current openings (with associated job descriptions) for which you are qualified. If they do, tailor your resume to the position you desire using the company’s available job description as a guide to ensure your resume clearly indicates your qualifications for the referenced employment opportunity (we will talk more about ‘tailoring your resume’ in an upcoming article). A well-crafted, tailored resume specific to a position’s requirements can open doors a more generalized resume cannot.
If the companies you are researching/pursuing do not have any current job openings that meet you career needs posted on their website, create a more generalized template of your resume detailing your professional experience, credentials, and background in a broader sense, highlighting your professional capabilities to the employer for future consideration.
Next, if you’re not lucky enough to utilize the services of a well-established and successful staffing firm (like Aviation Recruiting!) and are managing your own career search, always apply online using the company’s online employment application process if available – as most companies will not consider your candidacy without receiving your employment application and resume submission online first. As well, follow up your online application submission with a call to the company’s Human Resource (HR) department, to begin a dialogue with a company recruiting specialist. This step is invaluable if you are not working with a staffing agency that is able to directly represent your candidacy to their client and receive next steps/feedback much quicker than candidates managing their own career search.
Timely, persistent ‘follow up’ calls are key (as is a well-written ‘thank you’ note if the HR specialist has been particularly helpful). This step is so important that I want to say it again, follow up. If you do nothing after submitting your application and resume, chances are that’s what you’ll get back afterwards…nothing. If you secure an interview, a short note thanking the interviewer for their time and consideration afterwards is highly recommended and will set you apart from the rest of the candidate pool. Build a relationship with the HR department so that they know you and want to help you. Even if there is not an opening currently available within their company, they may think of you the next time they find themselves needing to fill a position.
Written by Sharon Ballgae, CEO of Aviation Recruiting