Six Tips for Leaving a Pilot Job, The Right Way


At, we’ve witnessed a transformation in business aviation. These days, pilots are on the move because the job market is now a pilot’s market. But the one rule we can all live by is that change is constant. As corporate pilots, we always need to remember that it’s a small world. It’s important you leave on good terms with your boss and fellow pilots, as these people will be references now, possible co-workers later. Damaging any professional relationships on your way out the door could hurt you down the road. With so many great jobs out there and pilots moving around for a more ideal position, here are 6 common mistakes to avoid when leaving your pilot job.

1. No Notice

Two weeks notice offered in a letter of resignation to your boss is customary when leaving a job. When accepting another offer, be sure to build this time into your start date. You can then give your two weeks notice to your current boss without creating scheduling problems (with you to blame).

Also, make sure your boss, the person you report to directly, is the first to know about your departure. Telling your fellow pilots or peers before resigning with your boss is disrespectful to him or her, which could undermine your ability to get a good reference.

2. No Plan (for Them)

When leaving your pilot job, you should show consideration for the person who will be hired to fill your vacated position. Providing some training for your successor, or at least documentation of the role and what’s expected, are a great start. Any administrative projects you’ve been working on should be well-documented and available for your boss and the pilot who will fill in behind you. Make sure your boss knows exactly where each of these projects stand. Some corporate pilots even provide references, or recommend a friend to take their position when they leave.

3. Staying Too Long

Although you want to make this transition as easy as possible for everyone, there’s a line. Your continued presence could be a drain on your employer if you’re no longer being useful, in which case you may be asked to leave immediately upon tendering your resignation. But if your employer asks you stay on for a while—say, an extra month because it’s busy season—you shouldn’t feel obligated to, unless there’s a legal or contractual reason. Two weeks should be sufficient.

4. Saying Too Much

Remember, the corporate aviation community is a small one and what goes around comes around. Be honest and constructive in your exit interview, but don’t say anything that could come back to haunt you. It’s entirely possible that you will be working with these same people at some point in your future aviation career.

5. Leaving Behind Personal Items

Your company may own your work computer, phone and anything else you’ve been using at work. Be sure to wipe out any documents that contain sensitive information, like your social security number, off your machine(s).

6. No Plan (for You)

You don’t want a gap on your resume, so don’t leave your current job unless you have another one lined up. Resume gaps hurt your job search, so even if you’re having trouble in your current position, try to stick it out long enough to line up the next one.

If you’re a pilot who needs help finding your next corporate pilot job, join today. As a member, you can your resume—or use our Resume Builder to create a new corporate aviation resume to send to employers. Top aviation employers are on our website every day looking to fill top pilot jobs with qualified candidates just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox so you can apply as soon as something catches your eye.