Airline Pilot Job Search Tips

An Airline pilot job search is both a job and a career by nature. This is a unique job, and the job search is also subject to unique issues. Airline pilots, particularly passenger airline pilots, are senior pilots with more than finding a job to consider.

Job Search Issues

The airline pilot's range of professional issues is very relevant to job searching:

  • Pilots are at the peak of the flying part of their careers. Some move on to management. Many have prior experience in airline work. Those who know the history of recent US airline industry upheavals will also know that this is a particularly shaky employment market. The "career hiatus" effect isn't much appreciated by anyone in the airline industry, and particularly not pilots.
  • Pilots are also experts in flying planes and the systems involved. There are a range of industry issues, particularly safety, schedules, employment conditions and maintenance. The Pilots Association and US Pilots Association are among the major critics of industry standards, and these are major professional considerations.
  • The type of flying, the aircraft, the range and the "slots" for flights are basic work considerations. Some types of flying can involve long hauls, congested airports, and particularly tough schedules. Regional airlines can have as many issues as major international carriers.

Job Search Online 

The online pilot job market is a sometimes thankless search, among a very disparate range of jobs and employers. Search categories can help, however, to narrow down the range. These are useful parameters for pilot job searches: 

  • Regional
  • International
  • Passenger
  • Carrier
  • Type of aircraft
  • Location
  • Pay scale
  • License requirements 

These are quick definitions, and can eliminate unacceptable search results effectively. The advantage for pilots is that the industry is a known quantity, and decisions are simpler when seeing which jobs are offered by which airlines. 

This very fluid employment market needs watching. Vacancies need to be checked regularly. It's necessary to identify and bookmark preferred employers as a basic search method. Major employer websites are generally better organized, and allow efficient regular searching without the aggravation of job board searches.

Two good websites for information on pilot jobs are Professional Pilot Rumors Network and Airline Pilot Central.

Other Types of Job Search

  • Recruitment: As professionals, there are other, reliable ways of job hunting for pilots. Industry specialist recruiters are good options, as are some airline HR professionals. They operate like a large industry network, and can usually find something quickly.
  • Reliable recruiters with proven track records in employment are absolutely essential. People who know the industry also speak the pilot language, and will understand what you're looking for. Check with colleagues for good contacts.
  • Networking: Not necessarily effective as a job hunting mechanism, because industry conditions tend to overshadow the market, but networks can be good sources of information.
  • Cold canvassing: Not at all effective with major airlines, who are often snowed under when they have vacancies. Cold canvassing can work with some regional airlines, however. Turnover's a bit higher in this sector, and many prefer local pilots.