Photo credit: Elliott Aviation
When I started working on airplanes at the age of 14 as a line boy at an FBO at Marlborough Airport in Massachusetts, the words social and media had probably never been linked. As I began my maintenance career after getting my A&P at 19, we got our professional information from technical publications that were often difficult to find. We learned about job openings by word of mouth and print ads in local papers. Of course, the Internet changed everything. But even years after social media was affecting people’s private lives, I, like many of you, did not consider this type of media anything that we would need as maintenance professionals.
It’s hard to imagine even a couple of years ago, that it would have occurred to me to write an article for mechanics about social media, certainly not social media and their jobs. Web sites, like Facebook, were for workers’ off hours and not particularly useful for anything other than virtual socializing. Other than warning mechanics who wanted to get into management to watch what they posted on Facebook — yes, employers routinely check Facebook and other web sites like it before hiring and even promoting from within — social media was not a tool for a mechanic trying to do his or her job fixing aircraft or trying to stay on top of technology. Or trying to get a job.
Stay on top of technology
But the world has indeed changed. Social media is no longer just a place for maintenance people to kill time and stay connected with family and friends. It’s really become an important tool for a mechanic who wants to keep up with what’s happening in the aviation industry and a source of information for future jobs. So much information related to aviation maintenance is shared first on LinkedIn, Twitter, or even Facebook that it’s become difficult to stay on top of our industry without becoming somewhat savvy about what some of this media has to offer mechanics.
Check out job openings
I have found the groups on LinkedIn to be very informative and I particularly enjoy the give and take about a wide-range of aviation topics. There are groups for just about any interest in aviation and a number related to maintenance. In terms of jobs, although I am not looking for work, I often see jobs posted or messages broadcast about job openings before being listed anywhere else. (As I write, I see a posting from the CEO of an FBO looking for an A&P for a management position.) I know some of my students have gotten jobs through contacts they made on LinkedIn.
Learn about FAA rule changes
I am finding Twitter to be a great source of information from the FAA on rule changes and other information that affects maintenance professionals. For example, just recently the agency tweeted the availability of the new Part 135 helicopter rule applicable to air ambulances with a link to a summary of the rule. If you want to keep up with regulatory changes that are coming out, it’s a great way to do it. I’d be happy to connect with you, my readers, on LinkedIn, and would love to have you follow me on Twitter @crashdetective.
John Goglia has 40+ years experience in the aviation industry. He was the first NTSB member to hold an FAA aircraft mechanic’s certificate. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.