Attending my First Aviation Career Fair

I want to start this week’s blog by saying Happy Veterans Day and thank you to all the men and women who have served this country. I also hope everyone went out and voted this past Tuesday in what will most probably go down as one of the craziest, nail biting election in U.S. history (If you ask me this election had more drama than any other sporting event).

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For this week’s post, I want to talk about an event our aviation program held for the first time here at the University of Oklahoma. Thanks to our incredible director Mr. Ken Carson, as well as our academic advisers, last Wednesday (November 2nd) they put on the first ever aviation career fair for us aviation majors. Just like any career fair, we had multiple airliners, groups, and companies come be a part of our career fair. Some of the biggest, and most recognizable companies that were present at the career fair included Southwest airlines, Envoy airlines, USAF Reserve, Textron Aviation, Compass Airlines, and so many more. It was incredible to have all these outstanding companies take time to come visit with us, as well as providing us career opportunities for our aviation careers. So now I want to talk about my personal experience at the career fair, and provide my personal advice to you all in case a career fair, or an aviation company is recruiting near you, and how you can stand out and impress them compared to everyone else.

Tips to success at a Career Fair

#1. Know who’s attending- It’s very important to know who is attending your career fair. While it’s great to see companies that you are familiar with, you also want to see companies that you may have never heard of and what they have to offer. Like that old saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, well this quote applies to this situation. Make sure to visit as many companies and organizations that attend the career fair.

#2. Learn a Little History- Okay so this might seem a little pointless, especially if you have multiple companies attending the career fair, but it doesn’t hurt to know a little history of the companies you are interested in. The biggest areas I usually concentrate on are things like where are they based out of, where do they fly to, how did the company get established, how many employees have they hired over the past few years. These are just little things to know so that you aren’t completely lost or confused when you are talking to recruiters and representatives of that company. Plus, you might impress them a little with knowing a little bit about their company.

#3 Dress to Impress- This should be no surprise, but when it comes to any career fair, or job opportunity, you need to dress to impress. Now you don’t need to go overboard with the way you look; but, you want to look professional for these companies, especially since they took the time to come and visit your school or area. You typically want to dress business casual for a career fair.

#4. Have a Resume- Just like any other career fair, it is in your best interest to bring a resume! By creating a resume this helps the company get to know you more in the short amount of time that get to talk to them. Also, it’s never too late get your name out there to these companies since the sooner they get to know you the more likely they will be interested in hiring you in the future. For example, I’m only a sophomore here at the University of Oklahoma and I only have my private pilot’s license. That still didn’t stop me from attending the career fair, and at least show that I was interested in these companies; even when they looked at my resume, they were still impressed with what I has so far accomplished. Also, having a resume helps recruiters get to know you on a personal level. When I visited, and talked with Envoy airlines I noticed one of the recruiters was someone I had met last year, and his name was Daniel. You see last year I got to go visit the American Airlines training center in Dallas, Texas. There I got to meet some incredible people, and one of those recruiters was Daniel, so when I saw him at the career fair he instantly remembered me from last year. I got to talk with him about what Envoy was looking for in a pilot, as well as how the company differed from everyone else, and at the end I handed him my resume and he smiled and said “you are exactly what we are looking for in a pilot, we’ll be in touch with you real soon”. Like I said before it’s never too early to get your name out there since the people who you talk to now, could be the ones hiring you in the future.

#5. Have a short presentation ready- Just like in a T.V. advertisement you should have a short presentation to sell yourself to these companies. You want to make sure that you hit the key important topics like where you from, what is your major, why you are interested in the company, your personal traits, and why you chose the field of study you are in. Make sure that your presentation is short and sweet, but as I said before hit the major points. My best advice is that you practice your presentation multiple times a few days before the career fair, that way you can make any changes that you feel is necessary. By doing this you also gain confidence which is a key factor when it comes to presenting yourself. I also suggest that you practice your speech in front of your friends and peers so they can give you some critical advice and any changes they feel is necessary in your presentation.

#6 Ask questions- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember these companies are here for you and to answer any questions or anything that you may not be familiar with the company. The biggest thing you do want to avoid though is not to ask a million questions so that you are not wasting so much time with one company as well as not wasting the companies time since they want to talk to other people. My best advice is to have a few set question when you talk to recruiters. Some of the question that I typically ask include

  • What are you looking for in a pilot?
  • Do you offer any pipeline or cadet programs for your company?
  • What type of training do you offer?
  • How can I as an individual stand out so that you may hire me in the future?

Again, these are just some of my personal questions that I ask.

#7 Thank them for their time- After meeting with the recruiters and company thank them for their time as well as coming out to the event. Always shake their hands and take any business cards, flyers, and anything that they offer.

 

Well guys that’s it for this week and again thank you to all our service men and women who have served this great nation. Also, don’t forget to also check out https://blog.globalair.com/ for other great blogs from aviation experts across the country. As always guys remember “Adventure is out there”.

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