What’s Your Hiring Potential?
As an A&P's career path takes many twists and turns, continued efforts in developing your professional and personal skills will increase your employability in the eyes of hiring managers.
By Craig Conroy
Editor’s note: The following is yet another dose of reality for the aviation industry. Many industries outside aviation are vying for, and often succeeding in, utilizing the multitude of technical talents that A&P’s possess.
Jeff Dimitroff was at hubs in JFK and Miami and says he wanted "to move to one place and stay there." He took another career path and was hired by the CSX railroad to perform similar skills on their stock. After several years, he made another career change. Jeff became a member of PAT – Port Authority Transit of Allegheny County near Pittsburgh, PA and today services the electronic components on the busses, subway/light rail vehicles and service vehicles of the Port Authority.
Joe Ferlik, PAT’s Assistant Manager of Electronics states, "We’re always happy to have a person with an A&P ticket or an avionics background. We have 1,100 busses and 53 light rail vehicles with radios, GPS navigation equipment, traffic signaling devices and numerous other components that must be maintained. In addition, PAT has 300 service vehicles to keep the system running."
If you think what you’re doing today is what you’ll be doing in 15 or 20 years, it’s not. The career path of A&P professionals offers a challenging road in which every step may change. As scary as that sounds, you are doing yourself and those who care about you no good if you are afraid to take another step. Take the step out, change and grow. This pathway is the course of your life and your future success.
Hire yourself everyday
From the day of your graduation to the day of your retirement, your career will change drastically. Employers, whether they are carriers, FBO’s, or corporate aviation centers, desire many of the same items you desire. At first that appears to be a contradiction, but in reality, it isn’t.
You want a dependable employer who will pay you the agreed upon wage, when they agreed. And, the employer wants an employee who accomplishes the task at a level that satisfies the employer and the end customer.
Your career should cause you to hire yourself EVERYDAY. How many times have you heard "As a professional, you have the lives of everyone potentially in your hands everyday"?
Chalk up the experience
John Dyson, Technical Recruiting Coordinator of Duncan Aviation in Lincoln, Nebraska, states, "We are always interested in hiring experienced people with A&P and Avionics tickets. We’re also interested in people with 10 to 15 years of experience."
One feature Duncan insists on is for you to be comfortable and happy in their stations — mostly in the Midwest but they have a few coastal centers. The pre-hire program requires you to experience Nebraska and the quality of life the heartland has to offer. As the largest family-owned service center in North America, Duncan wants you to feel like part of the family.
"Enthusiasm and love of the work are determining factors in hiring anyone at our facilities," says Dyson.
Carriers often require a minimum 24 months of A&P experience after you have the ticket. Three carrier hiring managers maintain that dedication and enthusiasm are the first two characteristics they desire after the experience. Yes, you may have the certification they explain, but we also want the attitude to keep our fleets fully functioning with the least amount of down time, mandatory inspections and MROs.
The president of a new, low-cost, no frills, carrier stated, "We may save on several visible items but we won’t save on maintenance or we won’t be in business. The cost is TOO great and we feel our maintenance crews are crucial to our future growth and success."
What employers look for
In our survey, the identical elements were reported by four major carriers, one low-cost carrier, a large corporate aviation facility and representative FBOs and Repair stations throughout North America.
The essential keys for new and recycled hires are ironically, nearly identical:
• Willingness to accept change
• Continuous desire to learn more
• Pride in your profession
Therefore, an enthusiastic person with a love of their work, at any age and with the proper credentials, can hire themselves everyday to their current employer or a new employer in an effort to improve their locale, their earning power, and their job satisfaction. Employers benefit by realizing their "dream" of hiring true professional employees.
10 Steps to Career Success
The career path of A&P professionals offers a unique and challenging road. Follow these 10 steps to insure your job and improve your chances for promotion and success.
1. Strive to learn more than is required. Keep EVER vigilant to processes and procedures that may save lives and your employer money.
2. Learn outside skills. Enroll in a Community college and take a course on learning how to write. Fearful of speaking in public? Go to the local night class and overcome your fear. Seventy-one percent of U.S. citizens are afraid to speak in public. People who are promoted usually have learned how to express themselves to others and their employers.
3. Start and keep a professional library with trade magazines and books that will help your career.
4. Take part in surveys. Be willing to offer positive suggestions that will save time, labor, or money.
5. Write an article for a newsletter or trade magazine See Aug. 2000 issue of AMT and learn key points to writing an article.
6. Become a Lifetime Learner –not only in your profession, but in your personal life as well.
7. Mergers mean movement. People leave or find new positions and the pathway to another position is open to those who can be proactive and go with the change.
8. Take time to recharge the batteries and make your off time more enjoyable. Ask to volunteer at a local nursing home.There are still plenty of vets and women from WWII who would like to talk about their life and their first plane flight etc. Really want to feel special and grow as a person? Read to someone who can’t see very well. You’ll both feel great and you’ll become a much better employee.
9. Adopt a pet. You and the pet will benefit whether you are single or part of a family of 12. Employees with pets have a healthier outlook.
10. Become active in industry associations and organizations. These meetings are tremendous places to network, and networking is how 23.6% of all jobs are found. You also have the opportunity to make friends with peers in the industry and learn new information.
Craig "Buzz" Conroy is an Aviation Researcher, Author, and Speaker based in Gibsonia, PA.
Contact information: Phone: 1-800 344-1492, email firstname.lastname@example.org visit his website www.craigconroy.com.