Entering Business Aviation, Part V: Tips on Finding Work
I will not pretend that this is the easiest topic to write about. In fact, my knowledge of how one finds work as a private flight attendant is based chiefly on what others have shared with me. You can find some useful tips within the many threads written on the Corporate Flight Attendant Community message boards, but to save you from culling through hundreds of threads I will highlight various standout points and include others that have been shared with me over the past several years by industry insiders:
* Cold calling. Time honored and time tested this is an important method for finding work and it is also one of the hardest for the majority of people to do. If you do not have the skills to contact strangers you will find an important avenue for securing work omitted. Even the unskilled can accomplish much by attempting this step...practice, practice, practice and you will get the hang of it. You many never feel comfortable doing it, but you accomplish much by trying. Always keep this in mind: every person that you meet is a potential contact for helping you find work; conversely, you may also be able to help someone out too.
* Attend conferences/meetings. Attending NBAA related conferences and events will get your name and face out there. Preferably, you would also attend events where a lot of pilots hang out, especially pilots of cabin class jets which include the Global Express, G-V and Falcon Jet 2000. The NBAA's annual conference is a very important venue for networking as well as are their one-day regional conferences.
If you are an NBAA member you get a copy of their directory which lists many companies that fly these very same jets. In addition, membership will give you access to their message boards and other important information on events that they host.
How about attending the annual NBAA Flight Attendant Conference? Yes, it can be an important place to learn more about the industry, attend seminars, and network. Many of the newer folks find it helps them gain a better understanding of private flying, while some veterans will tell you to save your money for the big conferences. Your call: conference fees, hotel and transportation charges can add up significantly. Not many people have the luxury of attending every event.
* Local airport events. Is your airport hosting a seminar? Is an important industry leader speaking? Well, why not attend? Sure, aircraft de-icing/anti-icing may not be the most exciting topic, but it is to pilots. Guess what? Some of the same people you want to fly with will be attending. Guess what? There is usually a social time afterwards. After the recent crashes involving corporate jets you certainly do want to be knowledgeable about industry best practices involving ice. Oh, by the way, have several copies of your rйsumй with you and copies of your business card to hand out. Yes, get business cards made up and be prepared to share them liberally.
Consider joining your local airport's advisory board, helping out with special community outreach programs, organizing an airport wide event, etc. Anything that you like to do and that helps get your face and name out there is a plus. In this business your name is golden. Promote it and protect it for all that it is worth! Become an expert self marketer/promoter.
* The internet. Do Google searches and start reading and bookmarking every page that interests you pertaining to business aviation. The internet has more information then any library and it is updated frequently.
* The Corporate Flight Attendant Community. This website was created by me to be a resource center for private flight attendants, those who aspire to become one, and their supporters. I draw upon industry leaders as well as the private flight attendants themselves to communicate what is going on in the industry, particularly from the cabin crewmember's point of view. Helpful articles, relevant links, catering information, rйsumй posting, and message boards are some of the more important features of the community. This is truly a niche community one that has gained the attention and respect of many in the industry.
Of particular importance for learning/growing/networking are the message boards. Mostly everyone who participates is already working in the field as a crewmember either full time or on a contract basis. Others are working on the skills they need to enter the industry, while still others offer important help or guidance to the industry. Let me say this: your screen name is your business and I do not reveal who you are if I happen to make the connection between your screen name and true identity. Many business relationships and friendships have been made between our members because of the message boards. By participating in our Open Chat time or via p. m. [private message] contact you can "meet" our members.
* Job sites. There are many sites on the internet listing aviation related jobs. They include: Skyjobs, Plane Jobs, AviaNation, Climb to 350, AEPS, and the Aviation Employment Board. This last community, the Aviation Employment Board is run by me and is a companion to the Corporate Flight Attendant Community. Naturally, it is my preferred method but some of the other sites are helpful too. Unlike the Aviation Employment Board, most will charge you a monthly fee to register. A big hint: if you do sign up check out the jobs listed on the "pay sites" with the free sites. See if you notice any difference in jobs listed. If you are a corporate flight attendant, do not expect many jobs to be listed publicly in any case. There just aren't all that many available at any given time and most companies do not want to publicly advertise their openings.
* Agencies. AirCareCrews; Integrity Flight Crews, LLC; Jet Professionals, Inc.; J. S. Firm; Turner Services are all some of the names out there associated with providing hiring services. Expect to pay a fee in most cases; do not expect many opportunities. Your call.
As one of our message board members has advised: build your own sources. You may find that something works better for you than another person. Much depends on your own initiative; I find that those individuals who do the most exploring have an easier time finding work. If flying corporate is something that you want, be persistent. Another good trait: be flexible. This includes having a willingness to relocate and being available to work 24/7/365.