Resume writing and interview tips to help land that next job.
By Joe Escobar
You’re hired. These two words are music to a job-seeker’s ears. In today’s aviation market, there are many opportunities for those wishing to advance their careers. Whether it is moving up within the current company or looking for a new venture, a few things can be done to help land that dream job.
Many good books are available that discuss resume writing, cover letters, and interview techniques. With a little research, you can learn plenty of helpful information about these topics. The following covers some of the basics involved in seeking and securing employment.
Fine-tune that resume
It is a good idea to always have a current resume ready. Even if not actively looking for employment elsewhere, it is wise to have a basic resume on file. It can prevent the headache of struggling to get one together at the last minute when an interesting job becomes available.
A resume is a way for you to get your foot in the door. It is the first impression that your potential employer has of you. A well written resume can help obtain an interview opportunity, while a poorly written one will almost always end up in file "X."
Although not all-inclusive, there are some important things to remember when writing a resume.
First of all, keep it short. Two pages is the most that a resume should be. Any longer, and you take a chance on boring the screener to death.
Keep the format simple. Use regular fonts like Times New Roman. Fancy fonts will be distracting and will lead to an unprofessional presentation. Use plain white or ivory paper. Colored paper will distract from the resume and may lead to poor photo-copies.
Avoid using company specific job titles. Instead of using a title like Level 2 Mech, state it in a more general term like Inspection Crew Supervisor or Sheet Metal Mechanic.
Use action statements
Instead of just stating "Supervised inspection crew," try to include some relevant action statements like, "As supervisor, worked with the inspection team to increase productivity. Removed non-value added steps to cut inspection time by 15 percent," or "Helped Company achieve ISO 9001 certification by developing and implementing Work Instructions."
Performing a self-assessment to develop action statements for your job descriptions will also help you in your interview preparation.
List those certifications
Another thing to remember is to include all of your licenses and certifications. Don’t stop with A&P or IA. List any other certifications such as NDT and Refrigerant recovery/recycling. Also include any applicable training received. This can include training on aircraft systems or support equipment. Try not to get too carried away with listing the training received — keep it applicable to your career objective.
Never lie on a resume. Although you want to present yourself in the best possible light, lying can get you in trouble. Even if the employer doesn’t catch it during the interview, chances are, eventually the truth will be found out, putting you in an awkward position and possibly getting you fired. By taking the time to do some introspection, you should be able to write a powerful resume without resorting to lies.
Avoid mentioning the ’S’ word
Salary requirements. Even if the job posting requests it, avoid mentioning desired salary at all costs. Mentioning a salary requirement can be disadvantageous in two ways. First of all, if it is too high, the employer may immediately disregard it, leaving no opportunity to get your foot in the door and possibly negotiate the same salary based on a powerful interview. If it is too low, you may get the job, with the company paying a much lower salary than it was preparing to do. Wait until after the interview when a job offer is made to discuss salary.
A resume cover letter should concentrate on experience specific to the job being applied for — generic cover letters are not as effective.
Don’t treat a cover letter as an introduction to a resume. The cover letter is more important than that. Think of it as a way to get the employer to take action on the resume. An effective cover letter should be focused on persuading the employer to invite you in for an interview.
The cover letter should be addressed to a specific person rather than just a plain "Dear Sir." In the text, instead of just introducing the resume, list experience relevant to the job advertised. Finally, end it by stating a desire to follow up with a phone call for any questions. There are many books available that show proper styles as well as tips on developing a powerful cover letter.
Take the time to proofread your resume and cover letter. A resume with numerous mistakes will make a bad impression on the person screening it. Check for misspelled words. Also ensure all addresses and names are correct. Sometimes having a friend read it will help uncover mistakes.
If the resume and cover letter do their job, the employer will set up an interview. The interview is probably the most important step in the job seeking process. Good interviewing skills are essential in landing any position.
The research and self-analysis performed during the resume writing process gives a good starting point in the evaluation of job performance strengths. Before going in for an interview, more research is in order.
If applying for a job outside your current employer, find out some information on that company. Chances are, you are already somewhat familiar with them or you wouldn’t have sent in a resume. Try to find out information on specific work performed. This preparation will be helpful during your interview. Finding out what type of aircraft or systems are worked on will help to determine how your work experience will be able to benefit the company. Even if you have no experience with that particular aircraft or system, you can show how past work and troubleshooting skills would enable you to quickly learn the new work requirements.
Learn about the specific job
Another important part of preparing for an interview is knowing the specifics of the job. What kind of work will be done? Is outside work required? Is any travel involved? If possible, it is helpful to talk to the person who was doing the job before to get some specific information. He or she will provide some valuable information that can help come interview time.
Dress for success
When it comes time for your interview, your attire is important. It is one of the first impressions that you will make. Always ask when you are scheduled for an interview about proper attire. At the minimum, slacks and a button shirt are a good idea. If applying for an upper management job, a suit and tie may be in order. It is always better to err on the side of conservatism.
Give yourself plenty of time to arrive early. No matter what the excuse, a sure way to make a bad impression during an interview is to show up late. Be sure you know the directions and give yourself plenty of time to allow for unexpected traffic jams or car troubles.
If you planned for enough time to arrive early, you’ll have some time to relax. Freshen up if necessary, making sure your appearance is neat. Although an interview can be a stressful experience, try to relax. If you did your homework on the company and read some books on interview techniques, you can relax knowing that you are prepared.
During the interview, pay close attention to the questions being asked. Answer them as directly as possible while emphasizing your strengths and positive attributes. Provide all of the information the interviewer is looking for without rambling on too much. Whatever you do, don’t lie.
Besides work experience and qualifications, employers look for the following traits when considering an applicant for employment:
• Positive attitude
• Good communication skills
• Ability to work well as part of a team
• Ability to analyze and solve problems effectively
• Ability to manage multiple priorities and meet deadlines
• Eagerness to learn new things
By emphasizing these traits in a resume and demonstrating them during an interview, the chances of getting hired increase significantly.
Keep the tone positive
Being honest and straightforward are essential in providing a positive image. An important thing to remember is to never be negative during an interview. The interview is the time to highlight strengths, not to speak ill of a former employer or co-worker. Employers are looking for positive attitudes. Putting down others leaves a bad impression.
Be as positive as possible during the interview — even on questions that are meant to draw out some bad information. For example, if you are asked, "Give an example of one of the worst supervisors you have had," you can still provide a positive answer. Do this by saying something like, "I have worked for several supervisors — some of them were more effective than others. Although each may have had his or her weaknesses, I have learned from each of them on how to be an effective supervisor."
The interview is your time to shine. Remember that whatever the question is, you should try to emphasize your strengths when giving an answer. Although being positive and emphasizing your strengths is important, be truthful and don’t exaggerate. In the end, you want to show how you can be an important asset to the company through your teamwork skills, product knowledge, and positive attitude.
At the end of the interview, make sure to thank the interviewer for his time. When you get home, go over the interview again. What questions were asked? Did you answer them effectively? Could you improve on your interviewing techniques? Jot down some notes and use them for reference for future interviews.
A simple "Thank You"
Follow up the interview with a Thank You letter. This is helpful in the following ways:
Allows you to reinforce the good impression you made during the interview.
Allows you to clear up any misunderstandings that may have come up during the interview.
Reaffirms your unique qualifications for the job.
Gives you an opportunity to include any additional data discussed in the interview that you may not have had on hand at the time.
Serves as a reminder that you want the job and are eager to become part of the company.
In the end, if all went well and you were the ideal candidate for the job, you will get a job offer. If you don’t get the job, don’t panic. The time spent preparing your resume and learning interviewing pointers will be valuable for the next job opportunity.
This article has covered some of the basics of resume writing and interviewing techniques. With a little bit of research and work, it won’t be long before you land that job you’ve dreamed of; hearing those words — You’re hired!