Being perceived as “overqualified” for a pilot job can be as much of a barrier to employment as being “under qualified,” and many pilots are told high numbers in both flight time and age can work against them in the corporate pilot job search process. It’s counterintuitive, but sometimes true: your impressive resume can be an impediment to even getting the interview with your prospective employer.
At BizJetJobs.com, we recommend you don’t tiptoe around it! In this blog post, we’re offering clear advice on how to position yourself for a job that might be perceived as a step down, but actually improves your quality of life as a corporate pilot.
The reality is, you’re not just a piece of paper when you apply. Hiring managers do read between the lines, and try to understand your motives. They might conclude you’re using this job opportunity as a temporary gig until a more senior position opens up elsewhere, or that you’re expecting a starting salary they’re not prepared to negotiate. You can pre-empt this type of thinking through these simple steps:
1. Come right out and say it.
Write a cover letter that addresses your experience mismatch. You should come right out and say that your skills and/or tenure may appear to go beyond what the position calls for, but go on to describe the challenge or opportunity you’re now willing to undertake. If you don’t make your reasons clear as to why the job is actually a good fit at this point in your life, you leave room for all sorts of erroneous assumptions.
The best tactic is to focus on your interest in the job (for most pilots, this has to do with your love of and passion for flying) or the company itself. Loving the work is what will catch an employer’s attention, even if one of your top reasons is a more relaxed schedule, a shorter commute, better benefits or different working conditions.
2. Commitment is an asset.
Overqualified candidates are notorious for taking a less-than-ideal job while they continue to search for their exact fit opportunity. If you have any longevity on your resume, mention that in your cover letter as well. Explain why you want this particular job, and that your intention is to be in it for the long haul. If the company is willing to invest in you by hiring you, you’re more than willing to invest your time with them.
3. Be flexible on salary
You’ve got your reasons for wanting this job, and it’s probably not about the money. So be prepared to take a pay cut if you want a job you could have taken several years ago.
If the requested salary is less than what you made previously, mention that you are flexible. You want this job, so never make it seem that the position is beneath you. Remember, they can easily hire someone less qualified and pay them less. So if you really want the job, give them reasons to hire you that are not about the money.
4. Sometimes, it’s who you know
Knowing someone on the inside can be key to getting any pilot job, and private aviation is a small industry. So think back: do you know someone who works for the company? They don’t have to be your best friend; just knowing that you’re a real person with connections in aviation can be a big help to overcome the uncertainty of being overqualified for the position. Check the BizJetJobs Flight Department Directory for possible connections and use them to your advantage.
5. Sell the advantages
What do your years of experience bring to the position? Instead of “overqualified,” pitch yourself as highly qualified with something extra to offer the company. This pairs nicely with #2, commitment. If you’re truly in it for the long haul, you’ll be the perfect person to take on extra responsibilities should the need arise, for promotion from within and/or to train lower level pilots. Training is expensive! Your qualifications mean you could potentially take on additional responsibilities in less time than it would take to train someone else.
6. Tailor your resume to the position
This holds true for all jobs and all positions, but make sure your resume speaks to the get-your-hands-dirty tasks you did earlier in your career, especially if you want to move from an administrative or supervisory/management position back to flying. HR will see that you aren’t so far removed from those responsibilities as your current title might suggest.
You may also enjoy our previous post about Retiring Pilots Transitioning into Corporate/Charter Pilot Jobs: Expert Advice
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Are you a a full time or contract pilot working for a new client, company, or at a charter company? We can help you get the lay of the land. Call us anytime, we’re here to help!